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How to become a technical writer – Confessions of a former translator

A former translator, I worked the first seven years of my professional life in the translation industry, in various positions. While I learned a lot from this experience, it also left me, as a writer, frustrated. Translators are chained to their source text and writing the words of others in another language, usually focusing on what their clients want. more ...

tekom impressions part 2: API documentation and the VUKA world

Daniela Herbold and Ulrike Parson write about better API documentation and solutions for innovative human resources management. more ...

Impressions from tcworld 2017

Part 1: Improvisation, fluff hunt, and videos for technical documentation. more ...

My first time at tekom

I got back from Stuttgart last night and it is safe to say that after three days of action-packed presentations, writing an article is not in the realm of possibilities right now as I try to connect one synapse with another. more ...

The parson mug prize draw #4. Congratulations to the winners

In which city was the parson mug photographed, we asked at the beginning of September. more ...

Doctor Strange – Insights into Technical Documentation

What is the connection between a movie based on a comic and technical documentation? You might think there is none. But on Saturday I was delightfully surprised to find that Dr. Strange is an advocator of good documentation. Last Saturday was marvel-lous.

Spoilergefahr

WARNING: DANGER OF SPOILERS!
This blog article may contain spoilers.
Spoilers may ruin your movie experience and potentially result in physical retaliation against the author of this article.

Just a joke. This article will of course not contain any major spoilers, that is, we will not disclose any details that are relevant to the story or ending of the movie. The good guy wins, the bad guy loses, that much is for sure anyway.

I digress. Back to technical documentation. In the movie, there is a secret book in the library that describes some rituals with the potential to shatter the world, including some tempering with time and other dimensions. You know, stuff that sorcerers do on an average day. The hero starts reading and immediately goes into action – without reading the instructions until the end, of course. Just before something really bad is about to happen, he is stopped by his tutors. They warn him about the dangers ahead and ask if he hasn’t read the warnings. Doctor Strange answers that he didn’t get so far and why are the warnings placed at the end anyway? In other words, had the author consulted with a technical writer, the warnings would have been placed where they belong: before the steps that potentially wreak havoc.

Thank you Doctor Strange for the entertaining introduction into well-structured procedures.

On a side note: The villain tempered with the rituals as well and did not read the warnings either. However, who knows how the story would have ended if he had ...

Image source:
Gefahrzeichen © Reeel. Fotolia.com

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