Do you want the long or quick version?

Working in automotive public relations often involves liaising with engineers and designers to translate their technical talk.

On the one hand, you need to produce materials with all the detail for specialist media and “” – those who will process your information centrally, checking it against their existing knowledge, working out the advantages, getting excited over widgets and wotsits, enhancing their personal standing as an opinion former on the latest motor-related news.

At the same time, you are trying to simplify the message, so that the advantages and benefits are clear to non-technical (peripheral processing) audiences comprising media and public.  Matthew Stibbe praises for this in its 330i advert:

Do you feel confused by Variable Valve Timing and Valvetronic engines? Do you wish someone would just tell you that regardless of how they work, they reduce fuel consumption and still improve performance? There you go, then.

If you prefer the detail of the double- VVT, check out

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

2 thoughts on “Do you want the long or quick version?”

  1. Does the motor industry employ specialist journalists or do the in-house PR, or other, teams learn to decipher the jargon and present it within the Plain English guidelines as they go along?

  2. Some people will employ journalists to write their press packs, but I never favoured that route as they don’t necessarily understand the company and it is important to build relationships internally with engineers/designers.

    So there are PRs with technical backgrounds (possibly in engineering before switching to PR) and others like me who learn the technology and can provide the communications and real world understanding.

    That is what is really needed when trying to translate for the general public rather than talk techy to techy when you often broker direct conversations.

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