December 21, 2012

Redundancy- An Overview


This guest post is from Raksha Pradeep,Director of ApraDocs Information Developers, New Delhi ,holds a Masters Degree in Business management in Human Resource from IBS, Mumbai University .Apart from her services in corporate sector she is also involved with various reputed institutes as visiting/ guest faculty for Business Communication.


Redundancy has different meaning in different arena but narrowing the definition to linguistics we can say that it is the superfluity of words in a sentence or the use of words or data that could be omitted without loss of meaning or function. Being verbose in your expression doesn't mean that a person is an efficient writer but, to express everything in a concise form without letting the facts ignored makes the listener or the reader alert and glued to the topic. We often come across the situations where we see people lacking interest in the subject though it may be interesting just because of repetition of the ideas or opinions. Sometimes to emphasize one’s point of view people use unnecessary adjectives or adverbs but while writing as a professional we should avoid redundancy.
Though the list never ends, some common redundancy errors and the techniques to avoid them are cited here:-
Eliminate unnecessary adverbs:
“I truly believe you.” Instead we can say “I believe you” It doesn't change the fact what we want to convey.  For example- really, truly, extremely, very, quite, severely, these words often lead to redundancy errors if not used properly.
Replace or eliminate meaningless adjectives:-
“He is a good runner who runs fast” instead we can say “He is a fast runner”. Adjectives such as good, nice, bad, okay, important, significant may add to redundancy mistakes.
Writing concise sentences:
Writing short and simple sentences is an effective way to reduce redundancy errors. It also helps the reader to understand clearly what the writing is exactly about.
Avoid expletive constructions:-
“There is/are”, “It is” these are some of the phrases which usually are unnecessarily used by the writers making the sentence superfluous. For example:  “There are over five thousand people listening to him” instead it can be said “Over five thousand people are listening to him.”
Avoid repeating yourself in the following sentences:-
“Ram is an intelligent boy. Ram scored highest in the final examination. Teachers often praise Ram.” We can replace Ram by he/him in the following sentences without snatching the meaning of the paragraph.
Trimming the fat:-
Using set of words instead of one: These are the most common redundancy errors we make while communicating with others. We should know how to trim the fat and make the sentence more concise. Few examples are listed below:-
At the present time-                       Now
Due to the fact that-                       Because
12 midnight-                                     Midnight
In my opinion, I believe-                 I believe
In the event that-                             If
In spite of the fact that-                 Although
In the vicinity of-                              Near
Until such time as-                           Until

Redundancy is mostly overlooked while writing but, when it comes to professional writing it should be taken care of because, it’s not the literature or language the reader is looking out for but the content and the facts embedded in it.

If you are interested in learning complete Robohelp,Framemaker,Madcap Flair,MS VISIO,Captivate,SnagIT,Business writing,Technical writing at Noida,NCR,Gurgaon,Gaziabad visit www.informationdevelopers.in. For latest update you can also like our LinkedIn page.



December 12, 2012

Document Development Life Cycle

In an initiative to  encourage ADID Alumni and other technical writers to share technical writing knowledge,ADID invited Neha Srivastava to share her understanding on the documentation development life cycle and she come up with well knit and researched post .

You can write to her or post comment to ask anything dropping from your mind on DDLC.

Introduction to Document Development Life Cycle

The Document Development Life Cycle (DDLC) is the process of developing documents. It is necessary to follow DDLC to enhance the quality and optimize timely delivery of document. 
The Document Development Life Cycle is mainly comprised of steps which are given below,it can varies company or project-wise also:

           Requirement Analysis
           Designing
           Developing the Content
           Editing/ Proofreading
           Publishing
           Maintenance 

Requirement Analysis

During the Requirement Analysis process  we gather the information of product from SMEs,available documents,online search etc. We analyze the criteria of producing the product according to the audience. In Audience analysis, we analyze who will use this product, what is the need of creating the product, and measures of skill and expertise of the audience etc. We also figure out what tools we are going to use like Robohelp,Framemaker etc.  By understanding the product requirement, we can easily estimate the time, resources and cost of the product.

Designing

In Designing phase, we design the document we crate templates,master page etc.We take approval of design like fonts size and style,list,table, numbing and look and feel approval is taken from concern person.

 Developing the Content

We develop the content according to the product features and requirement. We analyze the product, run the product and write the draft according to the product. We create user manual, user guide, reports, and online help etc. We add title, copyright, content, index, glossary, and appendix etc in the manual.This is actual content development phase.

 Editing/ Proofreading

Editing is the process in which we test the creating project according to the requirement, and product features. We check the first draft through Technical Writer editor, peer review or the technical review etc. In this phase, we check the technical part, grammar mistakes, figures, and format etc.
Proofreading is the final testing of the project by checking proper layout, style and grammar mistakes etc. In this phase, we check the draft entirely. Our main purpose is to remove bug from the draft, so that document is clear and understandable.To read more on proofreading click here.

 Publishing

In this phase, we publish the document as online help, and print document etc. Print documents are the hard copy in which all the content may be in long sentences or paragraph, and screen shots. In online help, we add hyperlinks, and content is in short sentences. These documents are useful to end users to determine the exact use of the product.

 Maintenance

Maintenance is the process in which we add updates, create versions after modification in the project. When new product comes in the market, then user manual is updated according to the added new feature. Companies also spend cost in creating Support Centers for enhancing user satisfaction.

December 1, 2012

2012 Salary Survey of Indian Technical Communicators

2012 Salary Survey of Indian Technical Communicators

Last month of this year is started with the good news, salary of tech communicators increased by 16%.The report prepared and presented by Paresh Naik.Kudos to you Paresh!!! 

Although not very good growth but far to be bad looking at some polices of Mr.Obama.

Bangalore have many reasons to cheers as it still continues to be the highest paying city in India, and NCR remain at number five but Pune is even worse,surprise to know that.

I am still trying to figure out why Technical writing condition is not improving in capital region?Any answer please share. STC must take some extra effort to create awareness about technical writing in NCR.


The detail report can be found at: http://www.stc-india.org/wp-content/uploads/STC_India_2012_Salary_Survey_Results.pdf

Salary survey of 2014 is also available.

Looking for training on Adobe RoboHelp,Framemaker or Technical writing? Information Developers offers live, online Adobe Tools classes each month . We can also bring the same great training onsite to your facility. Interested? Contact us for details.

If you are interested in learning Robohelp, Framemaker, Madcap Flair,MS VISIO,Captivate,SnagIT,Business writing,Technical writing training at Noida,NCR,Gurgaon,Gaziabad visit www.informationdevelopers.in. For latest update you can also like our LinkedIn page.





October 16, 2012

Technical Writing Course/Training, New Delhi (NCR)


Technical Communication is a fast growing sector in INDIA and abroad. It creates need of professionals delivering quality information. 

If you have desire to make big in industries like IT, Pharmaceutical, Telecom, Aerospace  etc. this course is designed for you. 

Career growth, job opening is similar to software developers and engineers.For salary survey of technical writer 2012 click here

ADID is a premier institute of technical writing in New Delhi area (NCR), offering Diploma in Technical Communication and along with many other customized course. 

ApraDocs Information Developers (ADID) is pleased to announce its Diploma in Technical Communication program at New Delhi commencing from
21st of December 2012.

Who Can Apply:
·         Graduates/BE/MBA/Diploma
·         Professional with good English and computer knowledge.
To know more about course content,admission procedure contact us at-
+91 -742844 1737/011 -6519 7093
or visit https://www.facebook.com/InformationDevelopers?ref=hl

September 24, 2012

Time Estimation Method For Technical Writing Projects



How To Estimate  Time For Technical Writing Projects?


Estimating  time for technical writing project is an art or craft that I do not know but surely it is one of the significant and core skill, yet most of the technical communicator find it one of the most daunting task because it relies on many conflicting, delicate and external factors.

Why to estimate time

Either you are a freelance or permanent employee if you can effectively estimate the time commitment required to complete a project, you can safely meet your clients’ needs while maintaining balance in your schedule. If you can’t do this you won’t know how much to charge for your work or how to best schedule your time and wind up costing you time and money.
Unfortunately, it is difficult but essential.

With the spirit of sharing, I thought to post few tips on what to consider while estimating time for the technical writing project. Nothing revolutionary. There are many sites and resources available, but it is difficult to say what is the exact method, probably that’s why it is an estimation. End of the day, it will be your experience which will make you the guru of this gyan.


Pre Kick off meeting preparation time is important for freelancers to take into consideration. You can also consider the time required in preparing of the quote, MOU, negotiation time, preparation of the agreement. 

Know what you have to estimate before estimating you should be familiar for what you are giving estimation because sometimes documenting one menu may take one hour and sometimes it may run in many hours. Knowing the scope is most vital part of the estimation.So do not forget to allot time for meetings to evaluation of project details.

To conduct information-gathering meeting is essential for estimating, raise questions until you are sure you understand the application. It should be a red flag if a client or developer is not willing to define the project for you.

Try to understand the difficulty of the project during your research. Have you worked in this domain earlier? Is it a simple topic or complicated? Do you know and have the knowledge of the tools which are required to complete the project. Give yourself permission to have a greater learning curve than for projects similar to your past work.

Check the availability of the finished project, specification requirement docs and other information availability? 

Also find any existing document you have to update or you have to do it from scratch, Are templates ready or you have to create?

These are the small things you should consider before estimating actual writing time.

Guestimate time for actual work-After understanding the complexity of project and knowing the real number of windows and menu option make a high-level view of topics now you can guesstimate the actual time you will take to write.

Keep in the mind apart of the actual flow you have to write an index, appendices and many definition and introduction. Also keep time for graphics, formatting, editing and self-proofreading and generating output.

Revision-Make it clear in advance with the client about number of revisions client keeps changing his or her mind or code allot time for each round. This avoids the endless cycle of minute detail changes that end up adding hours and hours to your total time commitment

Buffer-This time cushion you when unknown problem suddenly emerges like delay in getting feedback, hardware or software problem or your guesstimate deviate from the path,

Extraneous Hours-This time is important when you have very demanding client who needs you to revolve around them answering call writing emails remember all these takes time


To learn more concepts of Freelancing visit www.informationdevelopers.in

September 13, 2012

Proofreading Tips for Technical Writers

Who are the proofreader's?


The proofreader combs through the work looking for any inappropriateness. These include punctuation, spelling, spaces, alignment, type font and style, and other minutiae. This can involve comparing the final copy with the final trail print.


Technical writers and Self proofreading

Proofreading is one of the important skill technical writers must possess to excel in their profession. A good writer with self-proofreading ability are able to churn out accurate, clear, concise, flawless and logically structured document, it’s imperative that you review each word to check for typos, mistakes, context, and tone. Those little details really do matter!



In several projects I had worked as a single writer or freelancer with no peer or editor around, in fact in my current project also i am the sole contributor and in that scenario, I have to proofread my own work, this is when I felt the need of good self-proofreading skill .So did some homework on proofreading and here is the weblog of it.




I asked my friends on LinkedIn Information Developers group and I got some great tips thanks to Altaf Ahmed, San Xu, Carlos and Kranthi Kumar Kandagatla for their insight. 

To find out errors, you must know the type of errors that you do commonly.In this post my main focus is on some common mistakes and methods to reduce them by self-proofing.

Please also keep in the mind there is a difference between editing and proofreading.It is said that we should not do together, but I believe if you have ability to do it together please go ahead.

First step I think is you should have a checklist of commonly made mistakes by you and make sure you don not repeat it again :-) Go ahead make a checklist. Few entries for checklist currently spilling out from my mind are:

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Incorrect data
  • Incorrect or inconsistent capitalization
  • Incorrect Numbering and Heading
  • Incorrectly spelled names
  • Non-agreement of subject and verb
  • Use of passive voice
  • Incorrect punctuation
  • Incorrect Referencing of illustrations
  • Incorrect header and footer
  • Reversed numbers like 459 to 495
  • Sound similar but have different meanings words (e.g., except/accept, palette / palate, intense/intensive).
  • Wrong use of apostrophes
  • Check Cross-references
  • Style Guide compliance mistakes.(Mistakes in Fonts, Images, Tables etc)
  • Incorrect Index

Now you have a checklist available, but how to find your own writing  errors which often occurs just when stress levels are highest and time shortest, writers minds resist identifying them as errors. Under these conditions, you will see only what they want to see because we are often blind to our own  mistakes?

Few popular and easy steps which work wonder to many will surely work for you as well.

Allow some time to pass. This is one of the tip which is common to all who responded on Linkedin. Put the work aside for a few days or weeks before beginning the proofreading process.

Read out loud to yourself. This is one of the wonderful tools, try it, you can find your many grammatical mistakes. Reading out loud will help catch missing words. It’s also helpful for determining whether a piece lacks clarity or if phrasing doesn’t sound quite right.

Spell checks this. Spell check your document, spell checker can do some wonder like:

Identify misspelled words
Find double occurrences of words
Identify double capital letters at the beginning of a word
Identify when a small letter precedes a capital letter
Accommodate additions to the dictionary of unusual words you commonly use

Beware spell check  also cannot do many things, Like

Find typographical errors that appear to be correct
(
horrible instead of honorable, be long instead of belong )
Point out grammatical errors
(
their instead of they're, its instead of it's )
Identify poor sentence sense and syntax

Check all the links and cross references-Click on all the links and cross references manually, see if they navigate to the proper location and not broken.

Backward to forward-Start with the last paragraph first. Because you’re reading it out of order, you’re more likely to spot the typos and spelling mistakes

Pause before you press Send- Take a long pause before sending the final draft, pause can vary from hours to days. 

Avoid distraction- I personally like to proofread my work without any distraction, you can use a quite location or earphones, choice is yours.

Proofread print-This is not eco-friendly and little expensive method as well but one of my close to heart method. Print version is also handy for making notes with pen, crossing out excess verbiage, and changing vocabulary prior to implementing the corrections in a final version.

Illustration/Screen check-Make sure you have used correct images and screen shots.

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Response from LinkedIn Information Developers Group