Monday, August 09, 2010

A friend sent me the URL for this interesting story on how some folks have taken their urge for correct English on the road.

While I was driving around the other day, I found the following:

(They are having "mangement" problems.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

How to Cook the Books! Run 'Em through a Food Processor!

This just in! Why we MUST have editors (or at least another set of eyes) to critically read our work!

And the publishers of this cookbook are probably wishing they had hired decent editors! You'll have to read about it here:

Friday, April 09, 2010

Dumb Online Form

The first concern when hiring writers should be whether or not they have a proven ability to WRITE WELL. If they can WRITE WELL and have proven their skills, does it matter WHICH industry they work in? In the online form pictured above, the bozos who created it do NOT give an option to list all the areas of expertise--they limit you to ONLY ONE. I've got experience as a writer-editor in aerospace/military, biotech, computers, education, energy and utilities, environmental, general interest fiction, government, hardware, IT, marketing, networking, scientific, software, and some others. This stupid type of form forces me to put my resume in ONE channel, thus eliminating me from possibilities of work in other channels (for which I'm also qualified). This stupid type of form does not allow me to select more than one industry field.

Those who design online forms should NOT be just the programmers and should NOT be just HR "professionals"--but they should get input from those who work in the professions they are trying to hire. You can't quantify many of our skills and backgrounds into a stupid box.

THIS is why I don't like "online job applications" or other "online identification forms"... most of the time, it's a total waste of time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A few weeks ago, I attended the SDL Innovate 2010 Conference held in Santa Clara, California. The conference's main topic was on localization, internationalization, translation, and the use of DITA/XML to enhance this process.

For those of you who are confused and lost already, this conference was about documentation. How to create it, how to reuse the contents, how to make the contents acceptable to a target (local/international) audience, and how to use technology (DITA/XML) to make all this happen.

DITA? (Darwin Information Typing Architecture)
XML? (eXtensible Markup Language - Similar to HTML and a component in XHTML, which are subsets of SGML. Document markup languages that are used for print (SGML) and web (HTML)... XML with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and DITA are replacing HTML for most applications because they have more flexibility.

Anyway... back to the point of the conference and what I'm finding applies directly to me. Much of the conference was centered on DITA. The reuse of document components. Storing the document components in a component content management system (CCMS) or (CCM) or (CMS). A big point was that to avoid redundancy and costs in translation and documentation in general was to ensure that each word used has a specific value in communication, if it doesn't have any value, then delete it. Wow. The value of a word. Let's look at that!


Words have value. For someone writing to communicate, the VALUE of the word in making that communication happen is something to consider.

Is the word "dead-wood"? Is it redundant? Is it unnecessarily complicated or vague? Does it contribute more to wordiness rather than meaning? If it's any or all of these, the word should be deleted or replaced with a word of VALUE.

This is perhaps the ESSENCE of technical/scientific writing/editing (in the best form). Unfortunately, more and more coming out of academia with high-falutin' degrees churn out bafflegab and gobbledegook... writing that is totally unreadable and indecipherable.

As an EDITOR and WRITER, I can help scientists, engineers, technical folks, and yes, even academics fix their prose such that it is readable, while retaining the meaning and content intended.

The point? If your writing is filled with *static*--words that are not contributing to the meaning of the document, then you are losing your audience.

If you don't care about your audience or whether they understand your thoughts and meaning, then fine. Go ahead and write the gobbledegook and academic bafflegab you were trained (maybe) to produce.

But if you want your writing to shine, either learn how to write well... or hire an editor who can not only polish your work to make it shine, but also act as a mentor for your writing such that eventually you'll be able to write well on your own.

Yes... this was a blatant "sales pitch" for my editing services! :-) If you feel you'd like help with your writing, drop a note so we can discuss what I can offer to you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Reason Why an "Editorial Check" is Important!

It seems that the head of the Chilean government's treasury let a major typo get away from him. The NAME of the country was misspelled on their 50-peso coin. No-one noticed for a year after the coins were issued. More information Here.

See? There IS a reason why another pair of eyes (and preferably EDITORIAL eyes) are good for any type of writing or documentation!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Must Have Used the Same Sign Provider?

When you realize you are having problems with words like "clutches", maybe it would have been wise to consult a dictionary? Or, at least ask someone else to proofread this? Or perhaps look at the paperwork or boxes from the companies that send you "clutches"?

But hey, these folks fix clutches, they don't fix words. I'll promise to not fix any clutches if they promise to not take my job of being an editor/proofreader!