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Inconsistent use of terminology makes it more difficult to communicate in an organization. It also leads to misunderstandings. A terminology management system can solve this problem. The software manages all your company-specific terms and improves communication. Employees have access to an always up-to-date corporate terminology and can even participate in defining new terms.

by Anne Hoffmann and Ann-Cathrin Mackenthun

In agile software development we no longer create lengthy functional specifications or product requirements. We write our requirements as short user stories that could easily fit on a note card or a beer mat. Software requirements on a beer mat? How can they possibly make sense to the developer or the technical writer?

When MS Word is no longer enough ...

Many companies start producing their documentation in Word, and this works well for small manuals. But over time, as products change and grow, small manuals suddenly have hundreds of pages and become increasingly difficult to manage. At this point, companies look for other solutions such as migrating from Word to XML-based documentation.

Structured FrameMaker is a popular choice for an XML editor. But making this transition requires knowledge, discipline, and attention to detail.

Oder: Wie man Geld verbrennt

Technische Dokumentation bedeutet, Informationen zu recherchieren und aufzubereiten. Zielgruppengerechte Informationsvermittlung soll es ermöglichen, ein Produkt zu nutzen oder einem Prozess zu folgen. Dabei steht die unmittelbare Verfügbarkeit der benötigten Information im Vordergrund. Oft soll eine Handlungsanweisung schnell zum Ziel führen. Es ist nicht zwangsläufig notwendig, dass der Anwender sein Handeln versteht und die zugrunde liegenden Mechanismen nachvollziehen kann. Wird eine komplexe Information jedoch regelmäßig nachgeschlagen, kann es sich auszahlen, ein vertieftes Verständnis der Materie anzustreben. Einmalig einen Tag für eine Schulung zu investieren, kostet Geld, kann sich aber auszahlen.

Writing technical documentation for software engineers is more than authoring code comments. In order to use an application programming interface (API) or existing source code effectively, software engineers require different types of information. For this reason, technical writers who author API documentation need to analyze the requirements of their target group.

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