Reading whatever you can find on word processing is the best way to get a working knowledge of the marketplace and to start comprehending the jargon. The major office periodicals are particularly useful:

The Office, Office Publications Inc., 1200 Summer St., Stamford, CT 06904; (203) 327-9670.

Modern Office Procedures, Penton/IPC Inc., 1111 Chester Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114; (216) 696-7000.

Words, bimonthly publication of International Information/Word Processing Associates, 1015 North York Rd., Willow Grove, PA 19090; (215) 657-6300.

Word Processing & Information Systems, Geyer-McAllister Publications Inc., 51 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010; (212) 689-4411.

The Seybold Report on Office Systems, Box 644, Media, PA 19063; (215) 565-2480, is a useful newsletter.

The closest thing to a Consumer Reports on word processing is Datapro's annual service. If the $540 annual fee for the service turns you off, you can try the series of five feature reports (for example, "All About 150 Word Processors") for $15 to $19 each. Datapro Research Corp., 1805 Underwood Blvd., Delran, NJ 08075; (609) 764-0100.

A good place to find experienced users who will give you advice on systems you are considering is the local chapter of the International Information/Word Processing Associates, known as IWP, which has chapters in most major cities. Headquarters for IWP is at 1015 North York Rd., Willow Grove, PA 19090; (215) 657-6300.