A pat on the back for plain English technical writing
One of the things that really got me into plain English was studying technical writing – the type of writing that’s used in instruction manuals and the like. I still have a real soft spot for it. As my brilliant technical writing professor pointed out, no-one reads technical documents for pleasure – they just want to get the information they need to carry out a task and then get on with their day. Good technical writing is fast and easy to read, understand and use. It does its job quietly and then gets out of the way, without calling attention to itself. If different communications disciplines were people, social media would be selfie-taking Millennial and technical writing would be the quiet achiever in the corner!
That’s why I like it, and also why I’m really happy to be judging in the Best Plain English Technical Communicator category for the 2017 Plain English Awards. These awards are a public pat on the back for plain English champions in NZ. And I think good technical writing deserves a bit of applause!