Technical writing newsletter 40: March 2011

Document status: archived

Engineers' documentation preferences

TechScribe asked 16 engineers about their preferences for software documentation. Most engineers had no preference about the delivery format. For most engineers, a table of contents and an index are important. All the engineers want background information. For 15 engineers, user guides and reference manuals are equally useful. For explanations, all the engineers want a mix of graphics and text.

Industry profile

Mike Unwalla was invited to the Research Group in Computational Linguistics at Wolverhampton University. Mike talked to computer scientists and to language experts about clear language for international audiences (http://rgcl.wlv.ac.uk/seminars/show-seminar.php?ID=191).

English to Russian machine translation

English text was translated to Russian with Google Translate. Professional translators evaluated the translation for fluency and for accuracy. The evaluations are on TechScribe's International English website.

Guidelines for plain language

'Federal Plain Language Guidelines, March 2011' gives excellent guidelines that explain how to write clearly (www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/guidelines/bigdoc/TOC.cfm).

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