In this paper, I intend to discuss the features of technical communication. In particular, I am going to analyze one specific document in terms of its major purpose, audience, accuracy, expertise and so forth. Moreover, it is necessary for us to focus on its stylistic peculiarities, which are typical of technical languages such as the use of special terms, expressions and abbreviations. In order to do it, I have chosen guidelines for DVD video player; this manual is provided by Sharp Corporation.
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It is rather difficult to summarize this text because it details several issues:
- first, it provides clear and concise instructions for setting up.
- Secondly, this document gives overview of the basic operations, which can be performed with this player.
- Thirdly, it describes the special functions of this device such as angle selection, subtitle selection, programmed playback etc.
Additionally, such section as Miscellaneous or Others contains performance specifications of the DVD player. This manual includes safeguards for users in order to avoid misuse and possible injuries. This document can be accessed at User Manual Guide.com under the section Sharp; the serial number is DV -560 H. In this respect, I should point out that the Internet website does not tell the date, when this manual was created or updated. Moreover, this information cannot be found in the text itself.
At this moment, it is necessary to analyze it according to such criteria as accessibility, usability, and relevance. In this case, the term accessibility means accuracy of information, the language, and comprehensiveness or completeness of data. As for the precision or accuracy of information, unfortunately, I access users feedbacks or their suggestions. Yet, judging from the text, I may say that each item has clear and exact step-by-step instructions. Naturally, one cannot state with certainty whether all data, presented in this manual, are correct or not as these details are not always disclosed.
Secondly, potential users can easily find the information, which they may need. First, there is a table of content. But, it should be noted that the guidelines do not have alphabetical index and this is a significant drawback, because a customer may be searching for one particular word in text, and very often, an index can be very helpful. This text is written in technical style and there are some terms, which may not be fully understandable for users, but these instructions have glossary or explanation for the most important terms.
This document is adapted for the needs of average user, who may not be professional; I cannot find specific technical expressions. Still, I should admit that some words may not be fully clear especially for an international learner of English, for instance numerous abbreviations such as “UM, SUM, AC-power” and so forth, the major problem is that they are explained only in the appendixes, and this creates some inconveniences for the user, as he or she has turned from page to another and this is quite distracting.
On the whole, I can say that this material is relevant and appropriate for the audience. As it has been said previously, the basic objective of this manual is to explain the functions of this device and help people to use it more effectively. Certainly, this manual may be helpful for customers but there are some aspects, which need improvement. First, I would like to mention the overuse of technical terms that should be explained as soon as they are mentioned. For example, the authors of this text name such term as “coaxial cables”, “amplifier with Dolby Digital Processing” and they do not give any interpretation (14). This is only the first aspect of our analysis, now it is prudent to discuss the audience of this text and its characteristics.
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The manual is mostly designed for those people who have recently purchased DVD video play and do not know how to use it. Their main goal is to obtain tips, which may help them to set up this device or to solve some functional problems. Furthermore, I can say that they are not very familiar with electronic devices; in fact, they can be just amateurs, who do not anything about DVD players. Of course, in modern technological age it is very unlikely, but the developers of instructions and manuals must not rule out such possibility. This is the primary audience, but there is the so-called secondary audience, and these people may also find this manual very interesting.
One should not forget about potential buyers who try to select the best product. They can browse through such websites as Manual Guide.com in order to examine the capabilities of each video player and make the most optimal choice. They can be either amateurs or professionals. The potential clients can be of various ethnic or cultural origins, and not all of them may be proficient in English, so the writers have to make the instructions as clear as possible.
Thus, it is possible to argue that the primary use of this information is to get help or assistance, while the secondary use is to learn about the technical characteristics of the device. As far as the setting is concerned, we may say that the document may be needed either during purchasing similar products or during the usage of this particular DVD video player.
Again, I would like to place emphasis on the fact that the authors did not take into consideration such factors cultural and linguistic origins of the audience. The manual is meant for native speakers while people with limited English proficiency may not understand it. Secondly, the instructions can be useful for professionals but not for those users who are not versed in electronic technology, and there are some places, which require clarification such as the use of terms and abbreviations.
The designers have to put themselves into the position of other people and then they will realize that not everyone specializes in information technologies. The thing is that the lack of clarity can make the manual utterly inappropriate for the customer or buyers needs because in the majority of cases; they are very concerned with time-efficiency and the overuse of specific terms only slows down the process of reading. Fortunately, almost every important point in the text is graphically illustrated and the pictures are extremely useful.
To conclude, this manual of DVD video player is written for users of this product and potential customers. The information, given in the text can be used either during selection of the product or during the usage. The instructions, offered by the authors are relevant and appropriate for potential readers. But, I can mention two shortcomings
- the overuse of technical terms and
- the presence of many abbreviations that may not be clear for the reader.
As any manual these guidelines contain many graphic illustrations, which help to adjust this text for the needs of non-native speakers.