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Thread: Really Need to Expand Acronyms?

  1. #1
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    Default Really Need to Expand Acronyms?

    Hi,

    I am sure everyone here will come across acronym-expansion when you read consumer/newbie/end-user/layperson-oriented reviews. But I always wonder how useful it is to expand the acronyms?

    e.g.
    "The Canon EOS 10D digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) has a 6 megapixel CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) sensor which gives very low noise levels even at high ISO (International Standards Organisation). The camera also supports E-TTL (Evaluative Through-the Lens) flash exposure for the perfect exposure when shooting with flash. "

    or

    "Macromedia DreamWeaver MX has a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) interface which allows you to create HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) pages for your web sites without having to write a single line of code."

    You get the drift.

    I wonder, is this expansion any useful for the layperson? I mean, sure, he doesn't know CMOS, but he definitely doesn't understand "Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor" or "Evaluative Through the Lens" either. And I am sure he doesn't really need to know what HTML means to create the pages.

    Your comments?

    Regards
    CK

  2. #2

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    My personal rule-of-thumb writing articles with jargons:-

    Create a glossary for the acronyms.
    The long-form the acronyms really do break up the flow of the reading.

    An alternative would be to avoid using the acronyms altogether. If the person doesn't know what the acronyms mean then he doesn't really need to know the long-form, right? Just treat the acronym as another word lor...

    Worse come to worst, expand only once and use only the acronym for the rest of the article as it appears.

  3. #3

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    the acronymns you have quoted are so commonly used that it's not really necessary to expand them. my ROT (rule of thumb) would be to expand acronymns that are less commonly used.
    you can buy better gear but you can't buy a better eye

  4. #4
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    "wah, this product has so many shortforms! must be very advanced! although i dont know what they all mean after they're expanded..."


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ah Pao
    My personal rule-of-thumb writing articles with jargons:-

    Create a glossary for the acronyms.
    The long-form the acronyms really do break up the flow of the reading.

    An alternative would be to avoid using the acronyms altogether. If the person doesn't know what the acronyms mean then he doesn't really need to know the long-form, right? Just treat the acronym as another word lor...

    Worse come to worst, expand only once and use only the acronym for the rest of the article as it appears.
    Yeah. Those jargon-type acronyms dun need to expand one. The full form is just as meaningless to layman anyway, unlike acronyms for organisations, etc. And yes, I find an article full of expansions to be hard to read, why not just treat the technical acronyms as a new word or something right?

    Regards
    CK

  6. #6
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    Two things you guys forget:

    1) International audience if something is posted on the net.

    2) Not everyone is au-feit with acronyms.

    When writing serious works it's always best to add in a full glossary listing each acronym or abbreviation as used in a work. That way there's no ambiguity about what means what.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian
    Two things you guys forget:

    1) International audience if something is posted on the net.

    2) Not everyone is au-feit with acronyms.

    When writing serious works it's always best to add in a full glossary listing each acronym or abbreviation as used in a work. That way there's no ambiguity about what means what.
    Agree with you on the glossary. Probably better to append a glossary after the article rather than to expand all the first instances of the acronyms. The reviews on the net which I've come across does not seem to have this kind of problem which "plague" the local IT publications and articles.

    Seriously, for a lay person, does "DSLR" and "Digital SLR" and "Digital Single Lens Reflex" make a difference? Or "CCD" vs "Charged Coupled Device" for that matter. I would think not. Case in point : Sony's ads for their digital cameras says something like "Super HAD (Hole Accumulated Diode) CCD". Now, to any non-EE types, both doesn't make any sense right?

    Regards
    CK

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckiang
    Agree with you on the glossary. Probably better to append a glossary after the article rather than to expand all the first instances of the acronyms. The reviews on the net which I've come across does not seem to have this kind of problem which "plague" the local IT publications and articles.

    Regards
    CK
    I actually like the old scientific method of putting the glossary at the start of a document using the 'terms and conventions used in this paper' type heading.

    An other workable alternative is to preface each chapter with a terms and conventions used in this section type idea.

    Dev ID-11 +3 20m, stop 15s, fix 3.5m
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

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