Book review: The Global English Style Guide

October 19, 2009

The subtitle of John R. Kohl’s The Global English Style Guide is Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market — and that says it all, really.

This book is a fabulous resource for any technical writer, whether your writing is likely to be translated into another language or not. There are plenty of readers of our documentation whose first language is not English, and others who have difficulties with the nuances of the English language. Just like good design for accessibility is good design for all, technical communicators who follow the writing recommendations in this book should end up with technical documentation that’s clearer for everyone.

In addition, clear writing should save money in translation costs by reducing the ‘to-ing and fro-ing’ of the “What do you mean here?” questions by the translation agency.

Kohl provides hundreds of practical examples in his 300 page book. These examples are aimed directly at technical writers — particularly those who write software documentation.

Everything is set out clearly, with a comprehensive table of contents, a glossary, a bibliography of further resources, and an index. And it’s peppered with notes and hints and tips.

I read this book over a few nights (yes, that’s sad — reading a style guide for pleasure!), and highly recommend it for any technical writer’s arsenal of style guides.

You can purchase this book via the CyberText bookstore (affiliated with Amazon.com): http://astore.amazon.com/cybertconsul-20/detail/1599946572

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