Review Your Peers
Don’t forget to review your peers! Your comments are important as they are individualized feedback.
Overall, the drafts are pretty good. You are all in the ballpark of what I am looking for from this module. Consider the following as you revise for your final draft.
Your Executive Summary Needs Explain What Your Paper Is About, Not Your Thought Process in Creating It
None of you have probably written an actual executive summary before, which is a very specific sub-genre of report writing. The purpose of an executive summary is to give your audience a concise overview of your report. See the following for a good example:
The purpose of this case study is to identify the skill sets/credentials needed to be a technical writer within the field of translation and localization (language and linguistics). Often time, technical documentation needs to be translated into another language to be truly useful for its intended purpose. Without a skilled translator, highly trained in localization, either disaster or hilarity ensues. As was the case with the Hubble telescope (failure to consider imperial measurement versus metric) and The Mexican Market release of the Chevy Nova (a popular US car that, when translated to Spanish means “No Go”).See how you have a clear, specific understanding of the information contained in this author’s report? Make your executive summaries more like this.
From practical education through linguistic theory, the prevailing trend in translation/localization technical writing is job placement. Organizations such as The International Symposium on Language for Specific Purposes (ISLSP) and The Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) place a high value on preparing students of translation/localization for real-world experiences. According to Hobgood (2020), the most challenging part of training translation/localization students is making sure the abstract processes of linguistics are understood. That translation is not merely this = that, but a dynamic concoction of cultural and regional dynamics (np).
Your Executive Summary Needs to Be Concise, As Does Your Overall Style of Language
Many of you are getting too wordy in your executive summaries and in your overall style. We’ll work on this throughout the class, but: technical communicators are masters of concision, of using the minimum amount of words required.
Unfortunately, the dominant form of writing we are taught in school is essayistic writing, which is a relatively verbose, personal style by comparison. See the following example I have edited down to make it more concise:
I personally know a handful of technical writers; all from different career paths. I thought this would be an interesting opportunity to interview them about their work. However, the pre-written research questions did not fit what I wanted to learn. The respondents I interviewed have careers in fictional writing, being a court judge, and hosting a radio show. How does technical writing very across different industries? This is an important question for technical writer to know about because having knowledge of a topic outside of one specialty is beneficial in collaborating and provides another perspective to see any situation from. Knowing how other technical writers operate could help you solve a problem that, otherwise, you would need help with.
In my interviews, I noticed that each respondent had a specific writing process they follow for each piece of writing they do. Each person works with at least one other person at some stage in the writing and publishing process. Each of them faces obstacles that they work to overcome. Each industry has a different purpose and target audience for their work. Citations are different for each industry and the publication/distribution formats also differ. Each explained to me what they think are the qualities of their writing and even what they think could be better.
Technical writing is a career field focused on [x], [y], and [z]. The following report describes how technical writing varies across different industries. In order to investigate this topic, three different technical writers were interviewed: a fiction writer, a court judge, and a radio show host. The interviews revealed that each respondent has a specific writing process they follow for each piece of writing. Each respondent also works with at least one other person at some stage in the writing and publishing process. Finally, each faces obstacles that they work to overcome and has a different purpose and target audience for their work. Citations are also different for each industry and the publication/distribution formats also differ. The main takeaway of this report is that technical writing, as a field, is [x], [y], and [z].
Work to make your papers more concise throughout by removing any words that aren’t completely necessary for meaning. Again: we will be working on this throughout the class. I don’t expect you to get their in this module, but I’d like to see improvement from first draft to final draft.
Be Sure Your Findings Include Specific Information
The findings section of a technical report is like the evidence in an essay: it’s meant to detail the specific information you’ve collected. You need to include sufficient details about the information to give your audience a thorough understanding of your topic.
Here’s a good example from the drafts:
The role of the technical writer in the video game industry has changed considerably over the past few decades. One way this is seen is in the types of documentation that are included with the product. Up until about ten years ago, if you purchased a video game, it came with several inserts, including a “Getting Started” game manual and some form of “help” document. These game manuals included information such as button configuration; explanations of a game’s features, such as toolbars, status bars, menus, or other user-displays; game content introductions, such as character or story backgrounds; and trouble-shooting and frequently asked questions. Gamers, particularly fans of specific game lines, such as Final Fantasy or Fallout, treasure these manuals and keep them tucked safely in the video game case, understanding the value that this small booklet adds to the game. The current generation of young gamers will never know the joy of having a manual.
See how the above author gives specific information about their topic so that the audience gets a thorough understanding of it? Be sure your findings section is similarly detailed.
Use APA for Formatting
Technical documents are always prepared with a specific style guide in mind, even if you have to build that style guide from scratch. To practice this, be sure you are following all APA guidelines for your final draft. If you need help go here: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html. Many of you aren’t following APA guidelines in your drafts.
What’s Left to Do
6) 8/31/20 by midnight ET >>
Revise all documents you’ve created. The point of these reviews is to help you improve your writing. Revise, revise, revise.
Be sure you review what your reviewers said about your draft as you work on your final draft, as well as my class-wide response. Listen to your reviewers and make critical choices to improve your documents based on what they say.
Post your Cover Letter and a final draft of your Case Study Report to Canvas.