We are participants (not just observers) in international technical communication

At Karnak Stores in downtown Amman, Jordan. I had just purchased four hand-embroidered Palestinian pillow covers for gifts. I used the age-old method of bargaining him down in price, leaving the store to check on prices elsewhere, then returning after 30 minutes to see if I could bargain him down more. I was successful, but I am still not sure if I got a good price!

At Karnak Stores in downtown Amman, Jordan with Firas, the store clerk. I had just purchased four hand-embroidered Palestinian pillow covers for gifts. I used the age-old method of bargaining him down in price, leaving the store to check on prices elsewhere, then returning after 30 minutes to see if I could bargain him down more. I was successful, but I am still not sure if I got a good price! Our conversation was all in Arabic.

In our course English 674, as we tackle the readings in Starke-Meyerring & Wilson (Designing Globally Networked Learning Environments, 2008) and St. Amant & Sapienza (Culture, Communication, and Cyberspace, 2011), we should think in terms of being participants rather than outside observers. St. Amant and Sapienza write that they want their readers to be “…participants in this process…” who  “…will further explore the ideas in this text, and will carry the overall conversation on to new levels, topics, and cultures.” (9)

In fact, as technical communicators, we serve as translators of technical information, keen observers of cultural information, writers and managers of technical information, testers of document usability, designers of data displays, and negotiators of meaning. These are our jobs. Our deliverables are inherently cross-cultural, international, and user friendly.

Starke-Meyerring and Wilson write that the chapters they have collected in their text will inspire us “…to work together to deliberate, shape, and realize inspiring visions for globally networked learning.” (15) Since we continue to learn throughout our lives as students in universities but also as employees and managers, let us take up the editors’ challenge as our life’s work in our field of technical communication.

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Categories: Appropriate technologies and cross-cultural work, Jordan, technical communication, Travel | Leave a comment

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