International Documentation Project Reflections: Week 3

*See last week’s post for details on the last group meeting.

Two awesome things happened. First, I didn’t have to deal with jury duty. It was canceled. And second, we finished our document early! Our completed documents were scheduled to be sent over to the French team today (Feb. 20), but our group worked so diligently, we managed to turn in our drafts last Thursday and by Saturday, the drafts were completed and submitted to the French team. They started working on the document immediately.

I had trouble with my draft due to the fact that it was way over the 250-word limit (not by much it was at like 338 or something). I have a tendency to be long-winded when I write due to the fact that I like details and I hate leaving things out, all without trying to sound too wordy and ambiguous (I noticed that I have been using this word a lot since I started technical writing. Some words just tend to grow on you. I hardly used this word previously). Being long winded is something as a technical writer that I still have difficulty with, even though I do like taking complicated instructions and making them easy for people to comprehend.

Peter our editor managed to get my section close to 250. He chopped about 70 words and took out a quote that I had used. It was a great decision on his part and worked for the sake of the document. I think the reason why I struggled with length was because I had trouble trying to find exact topics on usernames and user privacy so I had to just find username tips and suggestions. Later on realized that I was over thinking the assignment. This is something I tend to do a lot. Having anxiety doesn’t make things any better. I find it ironic that I like taking difficult things and making them simple, but on the other hand, I can make things more complicated than it should be. This is something I need to work on. This assignment opened my eyes to this more so than ever.

I’ve been fortunate to have been placed with a group that is very hardworking, but also very easy going. No added stress. This week the French team will be working on translations. Our final document was a little over 1,800 words and they are instructed to use “Simplified Technical English”. One of the members reported that it’s taking them longer to do because of this specification. This is one process that I am looking forward to seeing play out. Having to translate something in English is difficult in itself, but having to do it from a technical standpoint is another…

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