Technical Writing (or, the sad result of mis-translations)

In my time away from fiber, I am a technical writer. I translate between the geeks who develop the application and the people who sit at the computer and actually USE it… As such, and since many of my friends are in tech support, I hear horror stories about things the people in front of the computers do, including using the CD drive as a cupholder, mailing photocopies of floppy disks through the mail to tech support to get help, and so on.

Now the Yarn Harlot is not a “stupid user” as some of my technical support friends call the cupholder crowd. She is a very smart lady who is also very funny and writes books that I devour whenever they come out.

But there was a disconnect between what her computer geeks were telling her in computer geekese, and what she was hearing in plain English… I see how this happened, and I know that it’s just like talking to a Brit about “being knocked up.” The words are the same, but the meanings are completely different…

See the story here, and then let this be a lesson to all: hire a technical writer to translate between the two of you! Or, at the very least, remind your geeky friends that words have different meanings in real English and in computerese!

(My consulting rates are quite reasonable…)

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