Top 5 Style Mistakes in Documentation
Tom Smith, Product Marketing Executive writes: Previously, I wrote about how to avoid GIGO translations with global authoring. Now, I want to share with you some of the common style and grammar mistakes we see that occur in technical documentation. Here’s the run down:
- British vs. American Spelling
This is a common occurrence for global organizations with technical writers located around the world. Remember, it’s not all about the ‘Z’ replacing the ‘S’ and vice versa.
Why say ‘have an effect on’ when you can just say ‘affect’? Why say ‘you will need to’ when ‘you must’ is perfectly suitable?
- Excessive abbreviations
We all love to abbreviate to save time, words and space etc. etc. but aren’t we just overcomplicating, i.e. making things a little less clear for customers, e.g. those who are not native speakers of the content they are reading.
- Long sentences
I am trying to fit this blog post into about three hundred and fifty words but I am not sure whether I will be able to do that and whether I will be able to retain the attention of the reader when I finally get to the end of writing this long sentence. Sometimes it’s best to stick to a maximum sentence length to avoid complicated sentences and to give clear instructions.
- Compound words
Is it web site or website, e-mail or email, clock-wise or clockwise? Remember, if they stay as compound words they count as two words when being translated.
These are just a selection of the many mistakes that can occur when creating content, especially in technical documentation.
Watch the flash demo on this page to see you can avoid these mistakes.
Tune in to next week’s blog for the top 5 linguistic errors we find in source content.