Menu
Home
Log in / Register
 
Home arrow Business & Finance arrow Handbook of Business Communication
Source

Can the automation-comprehensibility dilemma be solved technologically?

The typewriter and, before it, the stylus of a Sumerian scribe were up-to-date technological solutions in their time. The success of a solution using present-day technology depends on three necessary conditions.

CONDITION A: The text-module system must be replaced by a procedure able to generate whole texts and variants derived from such texts.

The problem of adapting texts to individual addressees is solved in such a procedure by adding variants to the relevant positions in well-structured documents. The following two examples may suffice to give an idea of how this “whole-text paradigm” works:

Text1 = introduction + body + conclusion

Introduction = (acknowledgement of receipt) + topici

Body = case 1 + case 2 + ... + information or instruction or ...

Case 1 = exposition of the facts + problem + consequences Case 2 = . . .

Conclusion = conventional close + salutation

Text2 = introduction + body + conclusion

Introduction = (acknowledgement of receipt) + topicj

Body = case 1 + case 2 + . . . + information or instruction or . . .

Case 1 = exposition of the facts + problem + consequences Case 2 = . . .

Conclusion = conventional close + salutation

Each part of the text has been conceived as part of a whole. For similar topics and situations, text parts can be adapted as apporpriate This guarantees the text’s logical coherence, and thus solves the “reference problem” and the “super-summativity problem” intrinsic to text-module systems. Here is a real example, with two variants:

[Introductioni:] Many thanks for your letter of ... You state that in our response to your inquiry we agreed only to reimburse your costs up to a sum not exceeding 2.3 times the standard rate. Please accept our apologies for this mistake.

[Body1:] The limit of 2.3 times the standard rate applies to reimbursement of treatment costs in the absence of special justification. In other words, this is the maximum payment we can guarantee you immediately. However, for particularly demanding interventions, reimbursement can rise to 3.5 times the standard rate provided that your dentist supplies us with a detailed justification. Only when we receive this can we guarantee you a reimbursement at more than 2.3 times the standard rate. Your dentist is aware of this and will therefore only charge you such a sum if it is justified.

[Conclusion1:] We hope that this information has eased any concerns you may have had.

Yours sincerely [Introduction^] Many thanks for your letter of ... You state that in our response to your inquiry we did not agree to reimburse the full costs of your treatment. Unfortunately, this is not possible in advance, for the following reason.

[Body2:] In the absence of special justification, we can only guarantee in advance to reimburse your costs at up to 2.3 times the standard rate. Higher reimbursements for particularly demanding interventions at up to 3.5 times the standard rate cannot be guaranteed until your dentist has provided a detailed justification. Only costs that exceed this level cannot be reimbursed.

[Conclusion^] If you have further questions, we will be glad to answer them. You can reach us on the following phone number: . . .

Yours sincerely

CONDITION B: Media neutrality must be achieved by using a markup language like XML. This solves the problem of “hard-coding”.

More than a decade after the introduction of XML, media neutrality in the organization of technical communication should be standard procedure. Yet in many places this is still not the case. Provided the writing process is carried out in XML, a set of variants like the ones in the example above can be continually adapted to new circumstances without interfering in the technological processes, because in a markup language content and format are strictly separated.

CONDITION C: The process of text generation must be embedded in a systematic company library ordered according to areas of specialization.

This third requirement poses no problems either, since the technological prerequisites, again in the form of XML, are universally available. Embedding the process of text generation in a company library solves the “documentation problem”, and conditions B and C together solve the “technology-dependency problem” of the text-module paradigm.

To sum up, the “management problem” can be solved. But, as we know, all is well and good in theory. The all-important thing is practice.

 
Source
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >
 
Subjects
Accounting
Business & Finance
Communication
Computer Science
Economics
Education
Engineering
Environment
Geography
Health
History
Language & Literature
Law
Management
Marketing
Mathematics
Political science
Philosophy
Psychology
Religion
Sociology
Travel