Today we’re talking to Peter Schofield from LibreOffice’s documentation community…
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I am Yorkshire bred and born, which was a very long time ago. Left home at 16 to join the Royal Air Force. Served for almost 19 years as an Aircraft Technician, which is where my engineering knowledge started.
Became interested in Technical Writing in the early 80s and became qualified as a Technical Writer in 1985. This has enabled me to work in aviation, defence, mining, plant machinery, construction, electronics, telecommunications, computer peripherals and software. This did involve working in several countries, which has given me a very broad outlook on life.
Now official retired from paid work and have settled down in Poland with my lovely Polish wife.
How did you get involved in LibreOffice?
First came across an early version of LibreOffice in the 90s when I started using Star Office, which then became OpenOffice. I have always been interested in open software being freely available to users to help them save money, not having having to pay the big corporations.
I took to LibreOffice when I retired and realised how good it is, so I decided to help the project. This gave me the chance to create user guides that LibreOffice users could easily understand (I hope). I am now in charge of the Impress and Draw user guides and starting to upgrade both of them to LibreOffice 7.4.
What else are you planning to work on?
My plans for the future is continue being a willing volunteer on the LibreOffice Documentation Team with the hope that I can improve usability of the user guides for the majority of users. I do believe that some parts of the LibreOffice user guides do need improvement because of the poor language used. With this in mind, I am now updating the template to help improve the quality of the user guides. This means that there are hints and ideas in the template on how to improve ones writing.
Eventually I would like to see all the user guides using an easy to understand English. This means it would make the text easier to translate into the languages LibreOffice is available in, and make the English easier to understand for users where English is not their first language. This idea is already in practice with several companies throughout the world. These companies use one of the versions of Simplified English that are available.
Many thanks to Peter for all his help! Everyone is welcome to join the Documentation Team and build up skills for a potential career in technical writing…