Flying over the jungle – reloaded

or: Between the meta level and the lowlands of trivia.

© Viacheslav Iakobchuk / Fotolia

© Viacheslav Iakobchuk / Fotolia

It all started with a call. I don’t like doing sales.

But this call was worth it. They asked me to come in and do some test work as a freelancer – and suddenly I was a member of the kothes team.

Many operating manuals and some risk assessments have been created since that time, but that is not all. Once I became more self-assured in the core business of technical documentation, I was given other interesting tasks. We have, for example, created highly specific documents for individual customers that go beyond the Machinery Directive and other regulations. These projects call for different perspectives that we would usually assume when creating user information.

Simone Scholz has already described the illuminating view from the meta level: things become much clearer when viewed from a distance. She contrasts that fact with our scientifically precise terminology, which is full of detail, and sometimes even trivial and pedantic. I lovingly refer to them as the “lowlands of trivia”.

Among all the projects I have completed so far, my favourites in particular are those that are unusual, that call for an individual mixture of linguistically precise trivia and a clear overview. They include process descriptions for process-related systems, chemistry manuals and a configuration manual. The latter is intended as a process and documentation template for a multi-function analytic device. This template makes it possible to include, from design to operation, all eventualities caused by customer-specific adjustments. For such compositions, every single detail level is essential, from the lowlands to the floating perspective. In each project, the level of detail depends on the specific problem.

It reminds me of my earlier work as a freelancer, when I created reports in the fields of the environment, medicine and natural sciences for a variety of target audiences – which I mostly had to do without support. Working with the kothes team full of differently specialised colleagues is quite different. Our many specialisations mean we can answer a wide range of questions. And they allow for a welcome division of labour – especially when others handle the sales tasks for me ...