Technical Writing Tip:
technical writing, it is essential that we use terminology and labeling consistently
throughout the documentation and the product. Consistency makes the documentation and
product easier for users to understand and makes the documentation and interface easier to
Some of the ways you can make the documentation and product more consistent include the
- Develop a standard glossary of terms for your product. You can use this as the basis for
your glossary for translation. You should also work with the engineers to make sure the
terminology they use in the product is consistent as well.
- If more than one term can be used for an item, choose and stick with one. You mention
the alternate terms when you first describe the item, as in this example: "You can
use shortcut keys (which are also called accelerator keys) to start commonly used
commands." From that point, however, you should only use the term "shortcut
keys." You might also want to list the synonyms in the index.
- Use terms that match what is in the product. If a menu option is abbreviated in the
program, use the same abbreviation in your manual. You can spell out the name in your
description of the option in the manual.
- Work with engineers to make sure they use terms consistently. Show engineers that
consistency makes their products easy for them to use and to update and maintain later.
Creative Writing Tips
Society of Technical Communication (STC)
Orange County STC