M2 CDMM 2017/2018 – Université Paris 7 Paris Diderot
Technical writing has undergone drastic changes from its early beginnings to the advent of the Internet, adapting to all the technological innovations that punctuated the century since its conception. One of the most important changes being that technical writers do not spend as much time writing as was formerly expected of their profession. Instead, companies ask them to broaden their working scope from writing to taking care of whole documentation systems. Technical writers have gradually become technical communicators, mastering various skills – including but not limited to writing. However, the job title has not evolved as quickly as the profession: there seems to be a discrepancy between label and reality, which could be the explanation to a lack of recognition for technical communicators in Europe. In light of this observation, we conducted a survey on 40 French technical communication experts and analyzed the existing literature on the topic. Our objective: find out why “technical writer” has become a catch-all term of technical communication. Our journey starts at the origins of technical writing, continues with an overview of the profession’s representation in Europe and provides an analysis of the gaps between technical writers and technical communicators.
International migration has existed throughout human history, but has
taken a new weight in today’s world with the impact of globalisation and
what is often referred to as the “refugee crisis”. The aim of this paper is
not to discuss the motives or the impact of migration but to observe how
language and literacy barriers compound the difficulties met by vulnerable
populations in modern information-oriented societies, and how these
issues are addressed by the many organizations that fight to improve the
situation of migrants.
Here, we address how barriers to information access worsen refugees’
situations and identify technical-communication-related issues in how
information is delivered as of today. Is there a case for technical
communication in ensuring the respect of human rights?
Salomé FOEHN, Sulaxana RAMACHCHANDRAN, William MOHAMMED
Paris Diderot University, July 2018
Machine-learning is gaining momentum as an artificial intelligence (AI) technology. There has been a recent upsurge in text-based conversational interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, IBM’s Watson and SAP’s Recast.AI. This type of computer programme is called a chatbot, which is the focus of this study. In this paper, the non-customer-oriented applications of chatbots and the evolution of professional practices of technical writers were investigated. The main research question is “will chatbots impact the technical communication industry in the middle term, and in what ways?”. We mainly used a SNCF case and a comprehensive comparison of job offers to illustrate our claim. As the authors expected, chatbots will not replace technical writers but will, instead, oversee the birth of a broad range of thought-after, more specialized jobs at the interface between computer science and technical communication.
ANDRIAMANANTSOA Ornella, BENZAAMA Loubna, LEONARD Lucie, RESPLENDINO Emmanuelle
Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7, July 2018
Digitalization and technological innovations are exerting considerable impact today on technical documentation. In addition, we are seeing more and more collaboration between technical writers and software developers, which naturally is leading to a synchronous code and documentation production evolution.
The research offered herein is based on literature, key articles, survey reports, interviews with documentation and product managers from medium to large French software companies, and analysis of various documentation production process. The results highlight the importance given to documentation and its scope towards users.
To meet the needs of the industry, historical formats such as wikis and PDFs are changing to web-based and embedded formats, which are more accessible, visual, and user-centric. This change not only affects outputs, but also production processes through the merging the product code and documentation delivery. Nonetheless, such innovation is costly and bears limits. Are such technological exploits as smart assistants and virtual reality going to perform well enough to meet users’ demands and needs in terms of documentation?