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Users’ Advocate: Use Your Words Carefully | TechWhirl

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imageUsers’ Advocate: Use Your Words Carefully | TechWhirl

Users' Advocate Neal Kaplan cautions technical communicators to choose and use words carefully... the words actual customers use and understand.

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  • MikeUnwallaMikeUnwalla United KingdomPosts: 1
    You wrote: On the other hand, there’s a danger in oversimplifying our language. Try to explain any piece of business software using one-syllable words, and you’ll end up with documentation that’s vague and confusing... I couldn’t call myself a “technical communicator.”

    Language simplification is about more than only using 'simple' words or only using the most common words. You can simplify the language AND use the correct technical terms.

    Many types of language simplification are possible. Examples:
    * Simplify the grammar.
    * Standardise the grammar.
    * Simplify the non-technical words and phrases.
    * Do not use unnecessary technical terms.
    * Define the technical terms that readers must know, but which they possibly do not know.
    * Use only the approved technical terms, not their synonyms.
    * Use syntactic cues (www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/35862).
    * Use a word with its literal meaning (do not use idioms).

    Two good sources of information about text simplification are as follows:
    * ASD Simplified Technical English (ASD-STE100): www.asd-ste100.org
    * Global English Style Guide: http://support.sas.com/publishing/authors/kohl.html.
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