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.
Subject:RE: Breaking into the tech writing job market From:John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:Mike Schmidt <mschmidt -at- weathercentral -dot- tv>, Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Wed, 9 Aug 2006 09:41:55 -0700 (PDT)
> saying to talk down to them. I'm saying to keep it
> simple so anyone can understand it. I don't think my
Believe it or not...not everyone has a constitutional right to
understand everything they read. They might not be identified as the
targeted audience. I'll give you an example.
Whenever someone joins the company, the person's manager sends out an
email to the group welcoming the person. A couple of weeks ago, we
hired a software developer and the manager sent out an email to the
other developers welcoming the person. I was included because of a
list I was added to. Following is the manager's description of the
new person's background, as explained to his peers:
"His thesis was on "Achromatic Number of Kneser Graphs" in which he
found a lower bound for the achromatic number of Kneser Graphs, which
are graphs K(n,k) whose vertices are k-subsets of [n] and edges are
between disjoint vertices. Achromatic number is the reverse of
chromatic number - maximum number of colors such that for any pair of
colors there is a pair of vertices which are adjacent, with the 2
For an informal internal email, I think it's written well enough,
even though I don't have an idea of what it means, and I don't think
a sixth grader would or could understand either. However, the
targeted audience isn't a sixth grader...it's for people with
advanced degrees in computer science.
Would you want a novice writer assigned to that subject? Would the
novice writer make it clearer?
Senior Technical Writer
"I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is."
WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today! http://www.webworks.com/techwr-l