Writing isn’t important

Like most professionals I’m a member of various mailing lists, all of which deal with very similar issues, usually with overlapping people and discussions as well. The field of Technical Communications is wide and varied but there is always one type of query which is guaranteed to get a response… or 50 responses… sometimes more. They are typically asked innocently enough, and at face value you’d think that most of them can be answered fairly simply and without too much back and forth. But, of course you are discounting one major factor, that holds true in many industries but does seem to be more prevalent in mine. Pedantry. The vagaries of the English language are well-documented and far-reaching, yet time …

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And so, it begins

Please excuse the dust, and mind your feet, I’m still tidying up. I was always told you should finish a website before launching it but, in the days of instant gratification that advice seems somewhat stilted and old-fashioned. So here it is, yes, it’s another blog. I’ve been blogging for many years now but this is my first attempt at writing a professional blog. To make it a little bit easier on myself I’ve chosen an area in which I’m fairly well-versed – Technical Communications. I have been a Technical Writer/Author/Communicator (I’ll cover that issue another day) for over 10 years and have worked in a variety of different environments, for a variety of different companies, with different cultures and …

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On being professional

Since starting my new job I’ve been getting re-acquainted with a lot of the different facets of my profession (that’s Technical Communications for those who haven’t been playing attention). I’m working on the basis that if you don’t ask, you don’t get and, to that end, I’ve put myself forward to be part of the Usability team. One step forward. Expanding the empire I registered a new domain name the other day, it’s in keeping with my “brand” and will form part of a triumvirate of sites which I’ll pull under the same umbrella at some point in the future. I love that word “triumvirate”. TRIumvirate. TriUMMMMvirate. The new site will host my musings about my “profession” and it will, …

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Day in, day outI work in the field of Technical Communications (which is full of poppies and grazing sheep… sorry…). Essentially, whilst I am a ‘team lead/manager’, I am mainly a technical author by trade. So what is a technical author? Basically it is someone who writes manuals. But, as with every other job, there is a lot more to it than that. Our job loosely includes information design, graphic design, indexing and editing skills, the ability to write accurate, unambiguous and technically valid information (usually from a description of how something will function rather than from a completed component), the ability to understand our audience, what information they want, how they want it presented, and how we can best …

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Naked Dancer

They Have a Word for It (link via Caterina). Through my profession (Technical Communications) I have a passing interest in all things wordy/language-ey etc (despite my frequent bastardisations), and this kind of thing always piques my interest. It also reveals a lot about other customs and cultures, and shows the Western world up for what it can be, staid, conservative, and ‘safe’. I think we should encourage mbuki-mvuki more often.

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Professional

No I ain’t a professional designer (no stop, I’m not…!) and I don’t work entirely in the web domain, but I’m gonna stand up for my profession – Technical Communications. We are the people who write the documentation. We are the people who write the online help. We are the people who long to be software developers or web designers. Actually strike that last bit… Usability, design, writing skills (grammar, consistency etc) and the ability to analysis information from widely differing sources and present all this to users of software and services. Easy huh. Makes this web coding business look like a walk in the park.

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