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iiRDS – How a Novice Sees the Information Delivery Standard

Lately, the newly developed tekom standard iiRDS has gained quite some attention. The next exciting step will be the release of version 1.0, which will be released soon. Requesting and delivering intelligent information as a standardized approach between individual enterprises is a pioneering step in the Internet of Things – but let’s rewind a little. more ...

Pets at the office. Part I: Molly

The atmosphere at our office is always good, but when Molly is there, it gets even better. Molly is good for us. more ...

Soft Skills of a Technical Writer

What soft skills should technical writers have when they start their career? Linguistic and technical understanding is important in our profession. So are the soft skills - just like in any other job. more ...

The parson mug prize draw #5. Congratulations to the winners

In which country was the parson mug photographed, we asked at the beginning of December. more ...

RDF is not XML – RDF serialization and iiRDS metadata

The world of technical writing loves XML. Its document type definitions are the foundation of structured authoring. XML and the underlying schemas structure the content of our information products. The benefits are twofold. Content is consistently structured and easy to read. Authors have an easier time writing the content. The structure provides guidelines for authoring. more ...

What do you do? An attempt to explain a profession

Sunday afternoon. Coffee and a black-forest cherry cake. Great aunt Else pats the back of my hand. “And you, child? What do you do?”

I, the child, 51, have got three options now:

(1) Tell the truth.
(2) Stuff a huge piece of cherry cake into my mouth and hope that auntie Else forgets her question.
(3) Say I am a translator.

Schwarzwaelder KirschtorteSchwarzwälder Kirschtorte. © VRD | Fotolia.com

I look at the cake and decide to go for option 2. But aunt Else’s 87-year-old memory is as crisp as the chocolate flakes on top of the cake. She waits until I have swallowed. Then she asks, impatiently: “And?”

Aunt Else must have put a lot of cherry liquor in the cake. Boldly, I announce: “I am a technical writer.”

„Oh. Do you work for a newspaper?“

I shake my head. „I write operating instructions”, I reply and let the small silver fork slide back into the cake.

„Operating instructions?“ Aunt Else’s eyebrows begin to tremble. „You mean like for my new washing machine? That one was in Spanish. I didn’t know you knew Spanish.”

“The instructions were translated into German, aunt Else. They were at the end of the book.”

„What a waste of paper!“ Aunt Else looks at me skeptical. “So you are a translator then.”

„Exactly“, I mumble with my mouth full.

„Why didn’t you say so in the first place, child?“

The story isn't true, of course. But sometimes, we find it difficult to explain what we do. Read our knowledge article What does a technical writer do? The article is currently only available in German. We are working on the translation.

 

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