Howard’s Technical Writing Blog

A technical writer’s miscellany

Archive for the ‘Editing’ Category

An intriguing job title

Posted by Howard Silcock on 12 April 2010

I recently received an email from an agent interested to hear from people with skills in technical writing and other areas. What intrigued me most about it was the job title under the author’s signature. It seems she was a ‘Competency Lead’. (I daresay the author didn’t expect me to give her signature block such critical attention. But when you work with words all day, as I do, sometimes you notice these things.)

I remember being similarly intrigued when I first saw the term ‘team lead’. My dictionary seemed to confirm my gut feeling that the noun ‘lead’ doesn’t usually apply to a person, except in the theatre. But I don’t suppose that would deter whoever once came up with that term in my workplace. It was used for a position slightly below ‘team leader’ (I worried that if my performance fell below par, I might be demoted from a ‘technical writer’ to a mere ‘technical write’).

However, the word ‘Competency’ in the agency’s email was even more puzzling. Does the agency have a section devoted specifically to competency? Isn’t that something that’s everyone’s concern—in every business?

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The Technical Editor’s Blacklist

Posted by Howard Silcock on 12 February 2010

My original idea for this blog was to include some material that I’d already published elsewhere on the web, so it would be collected in one place. However, I now realise that that’s not always going to work, simply because of the limitations of the blogging software. Some of my web-based material makes use of JavaScript, which is simply not allowed by WordPress.

One example is the Technical Editor’s Blacklist, which I developed a few years ago from joint work carried out with Barbara Jones and Diana Muzrimas. Both Barbara and I still refer to this for our own work and I’ve also mentioned it to others and got useful feedback and suggestions. I haven’t done much to maintain it recently, but I still stand by its recommendations and hope it may be useful to others. It uses a tabbed interface that relies heavily on JavaScript.

Have a look—and let me know if you have any suggestions for improving it.

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