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What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a special style of writing used to communicate information such as description of a computer operation or steps to use a microwave oven to the end user. Technical writing is more than "What to do?” ”How to do" write ups. It is a vital link between the product features and the usability of those features by the end user.

Technical writers are otherwise called as technical communicators. They communicate; they facilitate; they sensitize the user to the features of the system and enable the user to use the system with ease.

For example: When a product is introduced in the market, the product succeeds only if it is used as intended. A user manual or a user guide will help the user to use the product to its maximum potential with minimum efforts.

Technical writer writes for wide variety of audiences such as end users, IT professionals, developers, knowledge workers etc. Therefore, the writing style, language and the tone may differ according to the audience.

End user documents are generally written using simple English called Global English. Using short sentences and using active voice are some of the techniques of simple English. Using simple English eliminates jargons which confuses the user. Simple English is for every one: from the lay man to the business managers.

The tone may differ according to the audience and purpose. For example: if a writer wants to give a general overview of the application, he may use the descriptive tone. If he wants to guide the user with set of steps to accomplish a task, he may give instructions.

User manual, user guide, getting started guide, administrator manual, online help system etc are examples of end user documents. These documents will have precise style and format to enhance the readability of the document. And these documents are published as printed documents or published in the Intranet or Internet Web sites.

Who is a Technical Writer?

Technical writing is nothing but writing to the end user. Technical writer translates complicated technical things into simple language so that the user understands how to use it. Technical writing is more than "What to do?” ”How to do" write ups. It is a vital link between the product features and the usability of those features by the end user.

So what does a technical writer writes? A book? An Article? A manual? Or all of them? Technical writer writes all the above based on the requirement of the end user. Apart from writing end user documents technical writers also writes white papers, case studies, marketing collaterals and proposals.

Who are the potential audiences? “User” this is the broad classification of the audience. The user can be an end user, IT professional, developer or a knowledge worker. Based on the audience and the nature of the application the writing style, language and the tone may differ.

Technical Writer is the communication link between the reader and the subject matter expert. It is common that each person being proficient in their own fields find it difficult to perceive the other person’s context and gain an understanding from another angle. This results invariably in a gap both in platforms of expertise and in communication.

The primary requirement of a Technical Writer is the skill at perception. Even though this sounds abstract and difficult to define as a quality, it is important that a Technical Writer has the ability to put themselves in others’ shoes to understand the subject.

Goals and Objectives of a Technical Writer • Effective written communication in precise expression with the intention of conveying appropriate meaning to the reader. • Flexible and intelligent adoption \ application of standard style and writing guidelines such that the goals and objectives of the document are achieved. • Organizational value addition through delivery of high quality documents seeking to increase efficiency while decreasing turnaround time.

 
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