A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

TechScribe

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1.
#36357

Accuracy in Website Terms and Conditions

For legal documents, accurate information is important. When you use a template, make sure that you customise the content carefully.

TechScribe (2010). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Policies and Procedures

2.
#33335

Alternatives to Software Documentation

Software documentation such as Help systems and user guides may be the best method of helping your customers to use your software effectively. However, one or more of these alternatives may be a better solution.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2007). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

3.
#21298

Automating Your Word Indexes   (PDF)

Have you ever tried to create an index in Word? Were you dissatisfied with the options available in the dialogs? There are other features available that can provide you with a higher level of control over the structure of the index. This article gives you an overview of advanced indexing techniques; see Word’s online help for details. The menu sequences are for Word 2000; there are slight differences in Word 2002.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2003). Articles>Indexing>Software>Microsoft Word

4.
#33333

Beyond Plain English

Plain English is good for increasing the quality of written documents. Unfortunately, it has limits in many technical situations. We need a special form of language, known as a controlled language, to overcome those limits. One particular controlled language is ASD Simplified Technical English.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2007). Articles>Writing>Minimalism>Controlled Vocabulary

5.
#36764

Bindings for Printed Manuals

For practical purposes, a printed document needs to stay flat on a desk. This limits the binding that you can use. The basic options are explained here.

TechScribe (2007). Articles>Documentation>Finishing>Printing

6.
#31028

Case Study: Reaching New Markets Through Clear Documentation

Triangle is a systems integrator in the UK with about 150 employees. It extended the functionality of the InfoGenesis point of sale software onto hand-held terminals. To turn this into a commercial off-the-shelf product, Triangle needed clear documentation for resellers and for staff managers at customer sites. Triangle lacked the expertise needed to produce effective documentation, so it outsourced the documentation development. The new documentation enables Triangle to roll out the software internationally using resellers, and keeps Triangle's support costs to a minimum.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2008). Articles>Documentation>Case Studies

7.
#21385

Comparison of Online Help Formats

This article lists the basic differences between WinHelp version 4, Microsoft compiled HTML help, WebHelp and pure HTML help. Samples are available.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2003). Articles>Documentation>Standards>Help

8.
#36768

Context-Sensitive Help

This article is for software developers who have never implemented context-sensitive help. It explains the concepts and the basic types of context-sensitive help. A demonstration application with context-sensitive help is available.

TechScribe (2008). Articles>Documentation>Help>Online

9.
#33332

Copywriting and Technical Writing Compared

Technical writers (technical authors) produce technical literature such as standard operating procedures (SOP), user guides, reference manuals and white papers. Copywriters produce advertising copy and publicity copy (also known as marketing communications or marcomms). Typically, that means product brochures, poster advertisements, advertorials, leaflets, and mailshots.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2007). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Marketing

10.
#30786

Creating Coloured Hyperlinks in an Index in a PDF File

This article explains how to create coloured hyperlinks in an index in a PDF file, using Microsoft Word as the source document for the PDF file. Many authors create PDF files using Word as the source document. Most Word-to-PDF converters create a hyperlink in the PDF file if a hyperlink exists in the Word document. Unfortunately, Word does not create hyperlinked cross-references in an index, so no PDF creation tool can directly generate a hyperlinked index. The Sonar Bookends Activate plug-in for Acrobat creates hyperlinks for page numbers in indexes in PDF files. The plug-in does not change the colour of new hyperlinks, and it does not create visible rectangles for the hyperlinks. This article explains how to colour the hyperlinks in the Word source document using macro.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2006). Articles>Indexing>User Interface>Adobe Acrobat

11.
#36765

Digital Printing for Software Manuals

Digital printing technology ('print on demand') is excellent for producing printed software documentation.

TechScribe (2010). Articles>Documentation>Prepress>Printing

12.
#36767

Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS)

The term Electronic Performance Support System first appeared in 1991. Although technology has changed, the original definition is useful.

TechScribe (2008). Articles>Project Management>EPSS

13.
#33821

Evaluation of International English and Machine Translation

Machine translation often gives humorous translations or incorrect translations. Usually, a bad translation is because the source text is not clear in a way that a machine can 'understand'. If text is optimised for machine translation, machine translation gives excellent results. There are two sets of texts. The first set is written in standard English. The second set is equivalent to the standard English text, but it is optimised for machine translation. Google Translate was used to translate the texts into Bulgarian and into Spanish.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2009). Articles>Language>Localization>Machine Translation

14.
#33336

FAQs: Do Better Solutions Exist?

Documentation sometimes contains a section titled, 'Frequently asked questions' or 'FAQs'. The TechScribe website used to have a page of FAQs, but better options exist, and therefore, we removed the FAQs.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2007). Articles>Documentation>Online>FAQ

15.
#37380

Review: Global English for Global Business: A Review

International readers have problems with standard English. Global English for global business helps people to write and to speak English that their international customers can understand.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2010). Articles>Reviews>Writing>International

16.
#33526

Review: The Global English Style Guide: A Review

Many good style guides exist. Why do technical writers need another style guide? Unlike other style guides, this book covers grammatical structures, not only particular terms. The book has more than 200 pages of text (plus 4 appendices) that give detailed explanations of both good practice and bad practice.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2008). Articles>Reviews>Style Guides>Globalization

17.
#37743

Review: Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language

McCrum does not explain what he means by the term 'neutral' in the context of language. Near the end of the book, McCrum apparently contradicts the statement that language is neutral. McCrum writes, "Those who want to characterize Globish as a kind of benign virus that has worked its way into every corner of daily life must also acknowledge its imperial and colonial past." If language is neutral, why must I "acknowledge its imperial and colonial past"?

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2010). Articles>Reviews>International>Language

18.
#33331

Glossaries Aid Clarity

A glossary is an alphabetically arranged list of terms, with a definition or an explanation of each term. A term can be a single word or many words. Typically, in a printed document, the glossary is at the end of the document. Usually, in online help, each term in a topic, or the first instance of a term, has a popup that explains the term.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2007). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Glossary

19.
#21308

Going Solo   (Word)

These workshop notes list many of the things that you will need to consider if you intend to become a freelance technical communicator in the UK. The main topics are: your motivation; getting help with your business; legal and administrative issues; business infrastructure; working practices; advertising and publicity; office environment. The workshop was presented at the ISTC Conference, Bosworth, 2002.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2002). Careers>Freelance>Regional>United Kingdom

20.
#21301

How to Write an Email

How do you write an effective email that your recipient finds clear and easy to understand? There's more to it than just typing a few words and clicking the Send button. These notes give you some guidelines on the following: technical issues, document structure, the importance of knowing your audience, language issues and layout and visual design.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2002). Articles>Business Communication>Correspondence>Email

21.
#21299

How to Write Instructions

These guidelines are written primarily for people who are not technical writers. If you are new to technical writing, you will probably find these instructions useful.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2003). Articles>Documentation>Writing>Technical Writing

22.
#21380

Indexing Technical Documents

If a document contains the information that a reader needs, but if the reader cannot find that information, then the document is useless. Worse than useless, it’s a hindrance. If I know that some information is not available, I won’t waste my time looking for it. However, if I think the information is available, and if I can’t find it after a period of fruitless searching, all I will have achieved is frustration.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2004). Articles>Indexing>Technical Editing

23.
#33338

Information Mapping

Information Mapping is a proprietary method for the analysis, organisation, and presentation of information. It is based on the needs of the users and their purpose in using the documentation. Information Mapping has three parts: analysis, organisation, presentation.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2007). Articles>Documentation>Information Design>Standards

24.
#37640

Review: International English for Call Centres: A Review

Many international companies have call centres that are not in a customer's country. Many personnel in call centres have a good technical knowledge, but their language is not clear to many customers. Therefore, customers can become irritated. International English for call centres helps Indian personnel who are in Indian call centres to communicate with UK customers.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2010). Articles>Reviews>International>Language

25.
#35581

International English Gives Satisfactory Machine Translation into Spanish

An article about machine translation was translated into Spanish by Google Translate (www.google.co.uk/language_tools?hl=en). In September 2009, professional translators evaluated the translation for fluency and for accuracy of meaning.

TechScribe (2009). Articles>Language>Translation>Machine Translation

 
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