RE: technical Writing in a Nutshell

Subject: RE: technical Writing in a Nutshell
From: "Lippincott, Rick" <Rick -dot- Lippincott -at- flir -dot- com>
To: "Con & Yu" <dorun -at- m3 -dot- dion -dot- ne -dot- jp>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 14:41:10 -0400

>1. I have heard that technical editing differs from regular editing. I
>believed that "editing was editing". What is the main difference and
>qualifications between a "regular" editor and a "technical" editor?

Several people have given very good answers to this question already.

I'd contrast a technical editor from a "regular" editor by providing
this exaggerated distinction: In the extreme, the "regular" editor is
concerned with spelling, grammar, and layout...but not at all concerned
if the procedures actually work. In the most extreme sense, the
technical editor would be concerned with whether the procedures
work...but not at all concerned with the spelling, grammar, punctuation,
or layout.

The truth is that both the "regular" and technical editor are bound to
see a little bit of both realms. I've only exaggerated in the hopes that
it makes the difference more clear.

>2. I am reading a book on editing and it seems to portray management on
>side of the editor. Is this true in technical editing as well?


>3. As a designer I would like to know how technical editors prefer to
>display discontinuous phenomena such as AM radio broadcasting reception

I don't think there is any "one method" to present information. The key
is to make sure the method you use works and is clear to the reader.

I'm not sure that I understand your example, but I think I do. And I can
think of three ways to present it.

One would be a simple map, showing the location of the transmitters and
the signal coverage zones. This is particularly good if you need to show
areas of signal overlap. An illustration is probably the clearest
method, but it may also be the most difficult to produce (depending on
your skills at illustrating).

A second would work if the coverage area terrain is such that the signal
coverage is essentially circular. You could present a table that list
the transmitter locations, effective radiated power, and signal range.
This would be easier to do than an illustration, but it would be harder
to convey some factors (For example, can a transmission from Chicago be
heard in Cleveland? Unless you know the distance between the two cities,
it may not be clear from the table).

>4. Again as a designer how do technical writers and editors handle
>that is deemed offensive by management?

The first question to ask management is why the artwork seems offensive.
I think my impulse would be to find out what management wants, and
change the illustration to match.

>5. In design Illustrator and Quark are the main programs for prepress.
>technical writing/editing is there one system, method or product more
>relevant in the process of preparing reproduction ready copy?

There is no one system, method, or product. Different products meet
different needs. If the company where you are working has already
settled on a system, that's the one you use. If you're trying to chose a
system, then which one you pick depends on your needs.

6. As a writer/editor, which is the most important part in language to
avoid: Hyperbole, Rhetoric, or Jargon?

It depends on your audience.

--Rick Lippincott
FLIR Systems
Billerica, MA

Previous by Author: RE: interviews and ethics
Next by Author: RE: Please explain this phrase
Previous by Thread: Re: technical Writing in a Nutshell
Next by Thread: Compiled CHM file contains older versions of documents

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads