Careful with Technical Terms

By Mary

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your writing must be appropriate for your audience. You have to use terminology that makes sense to your readers.

When you become a professional in a particular field, you learn the language of that field. As a professional, people hire you to work on their behalf because you have knowledge and skills that they don’t possess. Therefore, you will often find yourself communicating in writing with people who don’t know the language of your field. Your writing has to make sense to the people who read it.

  • If you are a medical billing professional, you know what ICD9, HCFA, and CPT mean.
  • If you are an accountant, you know the difference between a 1099, W-2, W-4, W-9, and K-2 form.
  • If you are an IT professional, you speak in terms of servers, routers, and hubs.
  • If you are a web developer, your language includes terms like .net, PHP, PPC, monetizing, and URL.
  • If you work in a hospital setting, your vocabulary includes terms like DNR, PRN, and QID.
  • If you are a statistician, such terms as chi-square, mutually exclusive, regression analysis, and standard deviation are parts of your every day vocabulary.

Chances are that several of the terms you just read don’t make any sense at all to you. When you write, you need to look closely at your messages, to make sure that you aren’t using terms that your readers aren’t likely to understand.

You know what you mean. Make sure your writing stands on its own, so that your readers will also know what you mean. That’s what good writing is all about.

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5 Responses to “Careful with Technical Terms”

  • Stephen Ward

    Naturally, I recognized all the terms on the web developer list. However, I was surprised to also understand most of what was on the statistician list. Maybe I’m getting too deep into my marketing analytics… 😐

  • nagasudha

    I would like to introduce myself, I am working in a electronics organization as a technical expert. I my routine activity, I have to interact some of our related organizations to discuss the technical points. I have lack of knowledge in grammer and fluency in english. I should have to improve myself. Hence I need your help.

    Can you pleas correct my sentences and your comments.

  • cmdweb

    Dealing with technical terms can be very readership-specific. There are cases, particularly in technical and business writing where it’s entirely appropriate to write with a certain audience and knowledge level in mind. It depends on where you’re being published. In a trade magazine or internal company report, you could get away with using unexplained jargon, whereas in a mainstream newspaper or magazine article on a technical subject, you may not.
    Horses for courses I suppose.

  • Harsh Agrawal

    Hey useful tip…. I will now try to explain any technical term I write.. TFS

  • Iqbal

    Dear All,

    My problem is in writing. I able to write anything such as eassy,letter,or mail. But after writing anything i always confushed myself whether it correct or not even sometimes i think about the relevence.

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