TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
The key [to effective technical communication]is STANDARDIZATION of
terminology, not good grammer. I used to be a air traffic controller (tower
and radar approach control). Grammer wise, many controller-to-pilot
communications (both oral and written) are poor. [Yet] Clear and concise air
traffic controller-to-pilot (technical) communication does consistently
occur. Believe me, if it did not, you would soon here about it on the news!
The key is standardization. Controller-to-pilot communications are very
Sandra Charker responds:
Usability guru Bruce Tognazzini has another take on the conventions of
Bruce believes that standard pilot-to-controller comunications are some some
sort of "secret mens-only club lingo" that is hard to understand and,
therefore, restricts many (especially women) from becoming pilots.
Bruce is wrong. It's not that hard. I received my FAA air traffic control
certification when I was nineteen years old (in the U.S. Air Force). The
year before, I graduated high school with a 2.0 GPA.
I was a pretty good controller. I worked many-a-day with very heavy air
traffic (for example, departing planes having to wait 30 minutes or more on
the taxiway for take-off clearance).
Sandra Charker said:
Tony's post is an extreme example of the difficulty of changing established
usage, however inappropriate or unnecessary it's become.
Tony Markatos responds:
Again, pilot-to-controller communications are NOT that criptic; there is no
"male-only" conspiracy going on. These communications are very effective.
When was the last time you hard about a mid-air collision within the U.S.
These oral and written communications clearly demonstrate that the key to
effective technical communications is standardization -- not proper grammer.