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Technical Writing

Technical writing Q&A with workshop expert Julia Bluff.

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Are you saying leave out the jargon?

If you leave out the jargon, then the targets do not take you seriously.

Answer this question I have this problem too

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Personally, jargon is one of my pet peeves. I think it's often overused, and that buzzword-type jargon loses its meaning quickly. Still, jargon certainly has a place in writing—specifically, it signals to other experts that the writer is already a member of the same technical community. And yes, you get a token of respect for knowing words and concepts that other experts freely use.

That said, writers very quickly forget that the words they are using are, in fact, jargon. We forget that jargon has no meaning to an outside audience. So if you're writing training material or documentation meant for the public, then jargon very quickly gets in the way of meaning. And it very quickly becomes a frustrating reading experience for the reader.

If you're writing to experts, sure—feel free to use jargon. If you're writing to anyone else, I'd urge you to examine the assumptions you make every day about word choice—and who those words are meant for.

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Author avatar Juergen Pintaske will be eternally grateful.