How Many Languages Does Your Marketing Writer Know?

This post was written by John White on Sat, 12 Feb 2011 06:01:31 +0000
Posted Under: Hiring writers,vetting writers

Looking for flexibility and verbal dexterity in a marketing communications writer? Find a polyglot.

Multilingual writing and thinking“By the way,” the creative director asked, “do you speak any foreign languages?”

“Yes, I do. Why?”

“Well, it’s not likely I’ll need you to write technology marketing content in anything but English, but I saw the name of your company and thought you might have some foreign experience.”

“Do you consider that an advantage?”

“Oh, absolutely,” she replied. “I find that the most flexible writers are those who speak another language. If they can’t figure out how to express something one way, their brain is wired to figure out alternates. I suspect it’s because they need to do that, especially if they’re not completely fluent in the other language.”

Stop. Go back. Try again.

Isn’t this what technology writing is about?

Marketing communication writers spend most of their day going down one mental avenue, realizing that it won’t lead where they want the reader to go, then backing out and trying a different avenue. This is an important part of the equation in creating useful content.

Engineers say:

Our tool can currently read a DRC result as long as it’s written out in bare ASCII format, but the LVS and PEX results are written out in proprietary binary format, not ASCII. So, without EVI, you couldn’t do schematic and layout cross-probing, which makes LVS much harder. Also, you couldn’t easily view the PEX information; for example, you couldn’t click on an object from the other tool’s results and get PEX information about it.

and marketing communications writers capture that, look beyond it and extend it for the reader:

The tool is an enabling technology for our users who, in the past, have had to resort to competitors’ tools for DRC. Now they can read these results and model in our tool.

The writers don’t replace the technical copy. They turn it into a guidewire.

Peter Longini cites strategic marketing pro Adam Boone on the old saw about turning “deep-fried dead chicken parts” into “finger-lickin’ good.” Any marketing writer knows that the former will get you nowhere with customers, but it takes mental dexterity to run down and up several rabbit holes quickly until you’ve come up with the latter.

Add “Knows multiple languages?” to the list of questions you ask your prospective marketing writers. It’s icing on the gateau/pastel/Torte.

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer.”

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