I work for a software development company and the teams with which I am associated are some of the most talented folks with whom I have ever worked. Their expertise includes coding, business analysis (for application development), quality assurance, and the ultimate brilliant-bad writer, engineers. I say that so that what I write here is in no way construed as a criticism. The facts are the folks, while wonderful and talented, can cause this documentation manager to find himself working to understand the details of projects. The most interesting experience is spending hours researching something that has been described as though its complexity rivaled that of a rocket launch and when all is said and done, find out it is fairly simple.
I have been studying the situation because I appear to be the weak link. All of the other folks are working together quite effectively and I am struggling. Then it dawned on me; these folks are all talking in technical double talk. It’s the same thing lawyers do except these folks are harmless (yeah I said it). As writers, especially technical writers, we are constantly looking for the opportunity to streamline communication and make it more effective, regardless of the publication medium. (Now look at that, we have our own buzz words. I mean, who says publishing medium?)
Every profession seems to need to create their own lingo, as though speaking in a manner that others will not understand if they aren’t in the club, enhances the value and prestige of the profession. I have often said that lawyers are really translators of an obscure language (legalese). As far as I can tell, from every transaction in which I have participated that required a lawyer, the actual task could be quite easily performed by a literate person who can follow instructions and engage in a little deductive reasoning. It’s the obscure, confusing language they use that creates their value, the “why” they are needed.
My colleagues aren’t doing anything wrong. They are simply communicating their way. If they could communicate the way technical writers do, we wouldn’t be needed.