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I have had four jobs in two industries. In all cases, I've had a variety
of readers; recording engineers, disc jockeys, radio/tv people, etc.
Some are highly trained, some aren't. In fact, particularly in the audio
and disk jockey area, many seem to get into those fields indirectly,
without formal training.* That said, they may not have the advantage of
electronics schooling and the like. Still, they may find themselves
tweaking a piece of equipment.
I myself have no electronics training other than the hands-on stuff I've
learned by being around the stuff we build. Therefore, I write it as
though I'm writing it for myself. Sixth grade level is your choice of
wording, not saying, "See the mixer, see the pretty lights. Blink,
But is MAY involve very simple language regarding what color probe to
put into what color jack and which knob to turn, including very plain
and simple illustrations.
Regardless of my wording in this forum, I have yet to be told by a
customer that I insulted his or her intelligence. At least, not in my
* even the weather people have formal training in weather (not all of
them) but the use of computers is only now coming to be part of their
education. I deal with lots of guys that used printed maps and grease
pencils on tv long before there were computers, so their experience is
waaaay down the ladder. The younger ones, right out of college, are much
more computer literate - can't help it these days - so it's not as much
as a problem, but there are plenty of people in this industry that need
very simple instructions.
I'm not writing to doctors or rocket scientists.
From: techwr-l-bounces+mschmidt=weathercentral -dot- tv -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mschmidt=weathercentral -dot- tv -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
On Behalf Of Dan Goldstein
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 9:18 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Breaking into the tech writing job market
I'm looking at my draft of a device specification for a medical device
that aids doctors in detecting early-stage lung cancer. The text is
clear and concise. The layout is easy on the eyes. There are no
grammatical errors. And I don't think your 12-year-old can comprehend
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Schmidt
> Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 10:07 AM
> To: Al Geist; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Breaking into the tech writing job market
> There are methods of rating the grade or age level of your writing.
> I'm saying to talk down to them. I'm saying to keep it simple so
> anyone can understand it. I don't think my writing insults my readers,
> but I DO think my 12-year-old can comprehend it.
> Then it's probably condescending, too, to test some of my stuff out on
> the secretaries here because they're mostly unfamiliar with our stuff.
> Well, too bad. It works. If they get through it, I figure anyone
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