The September issue of Intercom, with a theme of technical editing, is now online. Below is a copy of the note from editor Liz Pohland for this issue. Remember, Intercom Online now has commenting available, so please ask questions, start a discussion, and give your thoughts.
I’m very enthusiastic about this issue of Intercom focused on editing, as it delivers a wide range of topics from the number articles we received—many from members of STC’s active Technical Editing SIG. These articles show how rapidly the field of editing has changed in recent years with advancements in technology and software, and with changing reader expectations for content delivery. The articles in this issue also provide advice to help editors adapt to their evolving roles and new technologies (such as globalization and embedded user assistance) and new delivery methods (such as multimedia, mobile, and translations).
In “The Evolving Role of the Technical Editor” Patricia Moell, Michelle Corbin, Mary Jo David, Carol LaMarche, and Jenifer Servais discuss how, because organizations no longer deliver traditional print media alone, the role of the technical editor has evolved. Regardless of the media through which a communication is delivered, however, they argue that technical editors must continue to step into a quality assurance role. Because of new user expectations in content delivery, Julian Cantella and Michelle Corbin explain, in “Embedding the Editor: Tips and Techniques for Editing Embedded Assistance,” that technical communicators have begun to embed information in the user interface using a set of mechanisms collectively known as embedded assistance.
In “Talking About an Evolution: Improving the User Interface,” Ronnie Seagren and Laura Gardash look at ways editors and writers have become more involved in developing mobile and desktop interfaces. They find that, rather than contributing documentation that clarifies how to do a task after the user has tried and possibly failed, editors help determine how to disclose helpful information progressively right in the interface.
Globalization has influenced technical editors as well. As experts on the English language, English-speaking editors can follow some simple strategies for editing non-native English, described in Amanda M. White’s article, “Editing Non-Native English.”
In a case study, Myles Cryer closely examines how a group of editors converse and collaborate with writers. In “Hedging Our Bets: Using Politeness in Editorial Comments to Get Results,” he shows how online editorial comments function rhetorically.
In addition to advice from other technical editors and researchers, Steve Lemanski has written an article on how technical editors can borrow procedures from journalists. In “Where Technical Editing and Journalism Intersect: Stepping into Unknown Subject Matter,” he defines journalists as similar to technical editors—a group of professionals whose livelihood depends on how fast they can assimilate new information.
This special editing issue of Intercom also offers a column by Nicky Bleiel on “Handy Editing Resources,” an interview by Scott Abel with Kyle Wiens, and a My Job from editor Paula Robertson.
If you want to learn more about technical editing, STC is planning an upcoming virtual conference on editing in mid-October! Stay tuned for more details at www.stc.org.