Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2013 14:26:23 +0000
From: Stephen O'Brien <sobr...@innovmetric.com>
To: "Frame Users (framers@lists.frameusers.com)"
Subject: Engineers as authors
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"


 few mechanical engineers have been asked, as part of their varied 
workload, to author certain documents in English (How To, Webinars, 
software essentials) in the near future.

Working with authors who
 are not formally trained is a new experience for me. I am wondering how
 to best define their tasks and the tasks of my technical writing group 
who will work together to ensure quality documents. For example:

        I could provide the engineers with templates in FrameMaker and 
an introduction to the basics of technical writing and English grammar 
and bring them to write good documents over time. Some formal training 
in technical writing could be offered. The technical writers would then 
review the final documents (container and content) to ensure the overall
 quality of the documents.

?         Or, maybe the role 
of the engineers should be to write rough content within guidelines (get
 the ideas and workflows on paper), and my team of technical writers 
could be responsible for formatting the content and expressing their 
ideas/workflows correctly in English. This would take much less time for
 the engineer (less of a learning curve).

Do you have some experience in this matter? Any hints for what may work best?

Many thanks.

Here in Quebec City, Canada autumn is in full color. Mother Nature at her very 

Stephen O'BRIEN
Coordonnateur ? la documentation et r?dacteur technique senior | Documentation 
Coordinator and Senior Technical Writer
InnovMetric Logiciels | Software
T (1) 418.688.2061
F (1) 418.688.3001

Stephen, engineers as authors, bad idea. I worked for about 20 years as a 
technical documentation consultant for the companies mostly doing business with 
the U.S. military. We would take the engineers notebooks, and any other write 
ups we could get, then do the circuit analysis and write the mil-spec technical 
manuals. On the other hand, we didn't need language translators, only did 
translation from engineeringize to standard English. Ha. It simply wasn't 
feasible to teach the engineers tech writing to specs. They had to design the 
stuff, we had to translate it into theory of operation, and maintenance. That 
was why we got the big bucks.

Keith Smyth
Smyth Consulting
"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people
will forget what you did, but people will never forget how
you made them feel."  Maya Angelou
Technical Documentation Consultant


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