Technical Communication in the Global Community

Article excerpt

ANDREWS TACKLES GLOBAL TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION Technical Communication in the Global Community Deborah C. Andrews. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice- Hall, Inc., 1998. xvii+588 pp., appendices, references, index. ISBN 0-13-103060-4.

Global technical communication, in spite of its changing multinational environment, consists of many conventional strategies that are steadfast. One's familiarity with audience, ability to articulate in a specialized format, and propensity t resent oral-written- nonverbal information meeting audience expectations for a given subject are basic strategies discussed in Deborah C Andrews' Technical Communication in The Global Community. It is imperative to understand and develop the ability to communicate even in complex technical information effectively to all audiences in a professional and easily understood context. "Thinking like writers" is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for students and professionals in scientific and technical disciplines. Andrews has her finger on the pulse of today's undergraduate students in her post as coordinator of technical and business-writing program at the University of Delaware. The primary focus of her book is to demonstrate that successfully bridging the gap between what is knows and what is communicated requires thinking on four levels (1) internationally, (2) collaboratively, (3) ethically, and electronically.

Andrews divides her book into five parts and an appendix. Throughout there are highlighted boxes with various cases and exercises. In part One, "Performing Your Role as a Communicator," Andrews lays out some fundamental groundwork for written communication in the global context. Developing a consistent writing routine, writing in various teams, and writing ethically are some basic attributes of a writer's professional persona discussed here. In addition, Andrews reminds us of an old truism: "You will live by your words."

Part Two "Managing Information for Readers" gives guidelines for communicating with global audiences who have various levels of literacy. Andrews offers two broad approaches for gathering empirical information: "On the ground" information (includes interviews, surveys, and site visits) and "book research" information (includes memos, books CD-ROMs, and internet resources). Finally, Andrews ties together these functions and demonstrates hot to organize a plan that will result in more effective presentations, whether oral or written.

Part Three addresses "Creating the Appropriate Expression" through the use if sentence composition, choice of visuals, and documented or screen design to persuade an audience or t prove some findings are true. Also, editing and usability testing are critical steps in conveying an intended message.

Instructions for preparing abstracts, proposals, progress reports, final reports, and procedural reports appear in Part Four "Developing Technical and Scientific Documents". The author use in-depth illustrations throughout this section to exemplify the described formats for these specialized documents.

In Part Five, Andrews focuse^ on "communicating a s a Professional" through the process of effective letter writing, searching for a job, creating effective memos and electronic mail, writing articles and revise of literature, and oral presentations.

Finally, in the Appendix, the author presents a list of some mechanical for documenting sources. These lists are drawn from the modern Language Association, the American Psychological Association, and the council of Biology Editors.

The greatest strength of the book lies in the overall approach to subject by including these supplements boxed highlights to help bring the message home, electronic edge, closer look, and crossing cultures. …