Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Addressing Audience Needs

Right now you all are at work on your "Document in Field" assignment, which requires that you "translate" the technical language of an article from your field into language accessible to a reader who does not possess the field's specialized vocabulary. I want you to answer in your comments here one of the following questions: a) Why do we think that it is such a special skill to be able to do such "translation"? Shouldn't all technical specialists be able to make their work relevant to a member of the lay public? b) Your book covers some of the pieces of information you need to know about your audience before you can effectively present technical information to them. In this project (this is a trick question), what relevant information do you know about your audience? c) I want you to think about the topic covered in the article you chose. Is it, in fact, important for the "average person" to understand the subject-matter? How is it relevant? d) In what sort of work-place situation is it vital that you be able to perform just the kinds of "translations" of technical information that you're working on right now? Can you think of some sample instances?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ethics in Product Images

Chapter two of your textbook discusses several legal issues associated with technical communication. One interesting topic is "implied warranty." Often, images associated with products imply certain parameters of safe usage (as in the book's example, that a certain product is safe for a child to use). Find an image of a product online and comment upon the implications of that officially produced image. Post a link to the image and your comments below. Do you find any problems with the "implied warranty" of the product you have chosen? Is the image ethical, based on your understanding of "implied warranty"?