CH 2 Assignment: Revising/Translating

Part of a technical writer’s job is to translate highly technical writing and complex concepts for laypeople (non-experts). Technical writing is often a form of communication between a specialist and a non-specialist (layperson), though sometimes it is between a specialist in one field and an expert in a different discipline.

For this assignment, you (or your group) will practice translating complex information for a non-technical audience by rewriting the excerpt down below. The excerpt comes from a scholarly article written for a highly-technical audience. Your job is to make it understandable to most readers.

*Before you begin this assignment, make sure you have read the previous sections on Audience and Purpose.

For this assignment, you (or your group) should:

  • Think about what you’ve learned so far about Audience and Purpose.
  • Your audience is a general adult audience, and your purpose is to summarize the main point(s) of the article.

Scholarly Excerpt about Oceanic White Tip Sharks

“All female specimens less than 180 cm TL with thin ovaries, threadlike uteri and oviduct were considered immature. The onset of sexual maturity in females appears to occur at a TL of 185 cm TL. The smallest mature female specimen was found in April 2005, and was 190 cm TL and 43 kg in weight. The specimens greater than > 200 cm TL had well-developed uteri and were considered mature. The logistic curve describing the relationship between P and TL was estimated to be P = 1/e−0.3213(TL−193.4) (n = 89, P < 0.05) (Figure 5b). The size at 50% maturity with 95% CI was estimated to be 193.4 ± 0.97 cm TL for females. Only two pregnant females were examined in detail in this study. A pregnant female collected in September 2005 (222 cm TL, 86 kg) had 10 embryos (five for each uterus, 56–64 cm TL, 1600–2600 g) and 10 unfertilized ova (0.4–0.8 mm (n = 6), and 10–11 mm (n = 4)) in the ovary. Another pregnant female (217 cm TL, 70 kg) collected in December 2005 had 11 embryos (five and six for left and right uterus, respectively, 19.5–22.3 cm TL, 88–148 g) and six unfertilized ova in the ovary. One mature but non-pregnant female (198 cm TL, 47 kg) also collected in December 2005 had 14 ova ranging from 0.8 to 24 mm in diameter with the majority being 8–14 mm (n = 10). The largest embryo (64 cm TL) with teeth and similar morphology to the freeswimming individual was considered to be a nearterm embryo. The umbilical scar on the smallest freeswimming individual (93 cm TL) was healed, suggesting it was not a newly born individual. Hence, the size at birth of the oceanic whitetip shark was suggested to be at least 64 cm TL based on our observations.”

The entire article is available here: White Tip Sharks (PDF)

*This assignment was created by Sonney Wolfe, LBCC Instructor.


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Technical Writing at LBCC by Will Fleming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.