Clear and to the Point

10 September, 2010

Beware long interpolations

Filed under: technical communication — monado @ 15:42
Tags:

Sometimes, writers insert useful but parenthetical information into an otherwise straightforward flow of thought.

[Our company] requires the services of a skilled systems professional, with strong technical writing experience with user manuals and online help in a ZippyWrite* environment, to assist one of our clients on a contract basis.

The problem with that is that the reader must hold in mind the first part of the sentence, process and store the middle, and then splice the first part to the final part. It’s like holding your breath: the longer it takes, the worse it feels. So let’s do the work for the reader and give them two complete thoughts:

[Our company] requires the services of a skilled systems professional on a contract basis to assist one of our clients. We are looking for someone who has strong technical-writing experience with user manuals and online help in a ZippyWrite* environment.

We can even remove some of the vaguer terms and replace them with specifics:

[Our company] requires a skilled technical writer on contract, to assist one of our clients. The writer must have strong experience writing both user manuals and online help in a ZippyWrite* environment.

*Name obfuscated to avoid mentioning a real product

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