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Have you noticed how medical staff have two conversations going on? One’s with you and the other is with their colleagues.

Dentists are a good example. They chat (in their one-sided conversation) with you in normal, everyday speak. Then they turn to the nurse and change their tone so you know this is not directed at you. “28mg of diheptide hysteria suppressant and 47KJ of vetiver tincture of omnipotency”. Or something similar: I didn’t write it down.

Because we neither need nor want to know the details. We just want this issue fixed as quickly and as painlessly as possible. When your dentist blocks the inferior alveolar nerve, he just tells you he’s going to make you “nice and numb”.

When someone uses technical language, they are doing so for one of two reasons. The first is clarity, typically to their colleagues. Those colleagues, such as the dental nurse, need clear and unambiguous detail that they understand.

The second reason for using technical language is to show off. You see that in comedy sketches sometimes, or maybe when someone’s trying to convince you the problem is worse (ie, more expensive) than it really is.

I think that technical language should be reserved for colleagues and those specifically asking for technical detail. In all other cases, the technician should be able to explain things in plain English to the customer, like your dentist making you “nice and numb”.

The IT has an appalling reputation for technobabble. Here at Tiger Computing, if you want the full technical detail, we have it. But if “Yes, we can do that for you” is all you need to hear then that’s all we’ll say.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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