We used to take the mickey out of Japanese user manuals for not being written very well. My favourite example was “engine not turning very round”, although sadly I suspect that may have been apocryphal.

Now, I think there’s a danger they are swinging the opposite way. Yesterday, in the manual for my new Canon 7D, I found a word I never expected to find in a camera user manual: “hereinafter”. Correctly used as well, but is this quite the language we expect of a user manual for the masses?

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