Archive for 'technical writer'

Services

Do you need the services of a technical documentation professional that will endeavour to lower your technical writing costs, and increase your productivity?

Do you need a technical communications expert to create the technical documentation for your products or services, audience specific user-friendly manuals, online help, or the content, design and upkeep of your website or intranet?

Do your technical publications need to be structured correctly to allow them to provide effective communication?

Is your documentation problem distracting you from other areas of your business?

Are you desperate to create high quality documentation for your software and associated products, but you don’t have either the staff or time to create the documentation you need for your business?

Does your technical documentation convey the right marketing image your company needs?

Does your existing documentation need a complete re-write or just a brief review and edit?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then I can help you.

technical writingI invite you to take advantage of my 25 years experience in technical communications and I believe we can work together to complete any project you have, not only on time, but within budget. I can offer you high value for your money and in return you will receive documentation of the highest quality and reliability.

I treat every job with the same amount of determination and dedication irrespective of how small. By giving me the opportunity to take charge of your documentation issues will help you to free-up your staff for more critical issues.

I fully appreciate that in the present financial climate it is not cost effective for a lot of companies to employer an in house technical writer. However, I am available to help you overcome this problem. Throughout my technical communication career I have single-handedly project managed large documentation assignments. This experience will allow me to develop your documentation to a standard that will enhance your company’s profile within your specific field.

The technical writer must be brought into a project early enough so that they can analyze the user needs in order to determine the type of deliverable required. Technical writers can contribute significantly due to their user-oriented perspective.

My experience as technical writer for some years has made me understand and appreciate the requirement for tight deadlines, tighter budgets, and heavy workloads. I have continually updated my technical writing skills to ensure that every project I am involved in gets done in the correct manner and on time.

If you let me take care of your technical documentation needs, then you can concentrate on what you do best, running your business.

Here are some of the services I can offer:

Document Standardisation, Design and Development

If your company needs help creating your technical documentation that can help your users to begin using your products or services right away, then I can help you create comprehensive documentation that will allow the intended audience to easily understand your products or services.

Comprehensive user documentation will effectively supplement the company’s marketing brochures and in turn enhance your company’s products or services presence in your field.

I can help you create user-friendly and reliable technical documentation that can set a professional benchmark and promote your organisations image. Also, I can help you with designing a better approach to structuring the writing standards for your company that will ensure that the technical content is consistent and appropriate for your products or services. Here are some of the types of documentation I have produced:

  • User Guides
  • Maintenance Manuals
  • Operating Manuals
  • Training Manuals
  • Troubleshooting Manuals
  • IT Internet Security Procedures
  • Financial Audit Procedures
  • Validation Procedures
  • Style Guides and Templates
  • Administration Guides
  • Installation Instructions
  • Procedural Documentation
  • Release Notes, and much more…

Operating Systems, Platforms and Software

I have written documentation for the following operating systems, platforms and software:

  • Windows NT, UNIX, SunOS, AIX and Windows 2000/2003,
  • XML source documents, Oracle databases and MS .Net infrastructure,
  • Compaq AlphaServer across a Unix Tru64, Oracle and SAP infrastructure
  • Storage Area Network (SAN) configurations.

Web Site Layout and Content

The written word is a powerful source of marketing. Good content about any product or service that is written on the Internet on the Internet is by far the best marketing tool a company can have. These days the Internet is fast becoming the major place that customers will get their first impressions of a company’s products or services.

The content on a company’s web site needs to be highest quality to draw the visitor’s attention to your products or services and in turn that content needs to impel the customer to take action.

I can provide you with clear and concise content that will help turn your company’s web site visitors into customers. I have an in-depth knowledge and experience of managing and maintaining corporate web sites and intranets.

  • Web site Design and Content Development
  • Intranet Design and Content Development
  • Content Strategy Plans

Document Management

Depending on the amount of technical documentation you have there is every possibility that you will need some form of content management system to be able to keep control of the documentation updates and storage.

I’ll work with you to get every detail related to your documentation and categorise and file each piece of documentation into a structured file system within a content management system.

Online Help

Online help plays a major part in how a customer rates not only your company’s web site but your products or services as well. There is nothing more frustrating to a user when they cannot find the information they are looking for. It is a major turn off for a lot of web users.

I can help you create accurate and useful online help for your product by determining how the end user will use your product, include information to answer their questions at an appropriate level of detail, and make the information easily accessible. Help systems like:

  • Online Help and Training Tutorials
  • HTML Help
  • WebHelp (cross browser web-based help)
  • WinHelp

Proofreading and Editing

Technical proofreading and editing is not just a question of checking for misspelled words and proper comma use. It is much more than that. It is a quality control of the complete document.

Throughout my technical communications career it has been my responsibility to ensure that I perform a meticulously thorough proofreading and editorial check on the documentation. This makes sure that the document is not only correct, but also functional for the intended readers.

Marketing

Great sales and marketing materials don’t just sell your product or services but they also establish a trust and credibility in the way that people value your company. A best way to portray this is to ensure that the marketing artwork and content complement each other in the promotion of your company’s products or services. The marketing services include:

  • Brochures and E-mail Campaigns
  • Marketing Presentations
  • Proposals and Newsletters
  • Product Description

Publishing and Content Management Software

Proficient with the following publishing tools: MS Software Suite, Adobe FrameMaker SGML, RoboHelp, Adobe Photoshop, Visio, Dreamweaver, SnagIt and Adobe Acrobat.

Proficient with using the following content and document management systems: Livelink, Peoplesoft, Sharepoint and ViewPoint.

I am ready to provide you with all my technical communications experience and knowledge and prove that the multiple skills that I have acquired will benefit you and your business. I look forward to working with you in the future.

An Insight Into Using Simplified English

I think that Simplified English does something that is logical with a complex language. It uses nouns as nouns and limits the meaning of a word so that the reader knows exactly what that word means all the time. A good word to describe what Simplified English does is Efficiency. An article in the Times in 1987 stated: With Simplified English we may at last be on the threshold of making English logical and tidy. Will Simplified English work within all areas of English usage? Think what would happen to politics if all politicians said what they meant without any ambiguity.

Most technical authors I know who use Simplified English say they find that it works when writing maintenance procedures but are not as complementary about it when they have to write descriptions or operations. Having to spend a lot of time looking up approved or unapproved words in the dictionary was their main objection. They also did not like having to translate, into Simplified English, existing and sometimes poorly written publications. A significant decrease in their productivity was noticed when they first started to use Simplified English.

simplified englishSome technical authors felt it was “hard to learn a new trick” and the new concept should be introduced in phases. They obviously felt that it was going to take some time to get used to the “new system”. With Simplified English grammar skills need attention so that the technical author knows how to identify the nouns, verbs and function words. It might be easy knowing the word to use, but selecting a replacement for an unapproved word is the difficult part, even with extensive examples. It is not always possible to use the selected alternative, if there is one. In some instances, the dictionary will say that a word is unapproved, but the only alternative is to use a different construction.

My first attempts with Simplified English took a few rewrites until I had mastered it. I have found that once you have used Simplified English on a few occasions you get used to the limited vocabulary and tend to use the same words all the time. When I have used Simplified English I have looked more critically at the text written and this has forced me to be clear and precise. A good example of before and after Simplified English is:

Before: It is equally important that there should be no seasonal changes in the procedures, as, although aircraft fuel system icing due to water contamination is more often met with in winter, it can be equally dangerous during the summer months.

After: Use the same procedures all the time, because water in the fuel system can freeze during winter or summer.

As the aerospace industry uses a lot of maintenance procedures it was quite apparent that the Simplified English language was needed to overcome all the language problems. Therefore with this approved vocabulary and set of rules, technical authors writing in English, worldwide, will be able to write in the same, clear consistent style to present information that is easy to understand by the international aerospace industry.

Simplied English – Vocabulary and Parts of Speech

Simplified English can be described as a controlled language that is a subset of “normal” English. It consists of a simplified vocabulary of about 1,000 words. These words have clearly defined meanings and they contain a set of rules (about 55) for using the vocabulary.

The approved words and rules are not set in stone because the vocabulary does not contain all the words in the English language. If when using Simplified English in their writing a technical writer / technical author comes across words that are missing, then these would have to be added to the vocabulary. The words in the vocabulary are made up from three sources.

  1. Approved Words.
  2. Technical Names.
  3. Manufacturing Processes.

Using these vocabulary words as parts of speech is the major part of Simplified English.

Parts of Speech : Nouns

Within the Simplified English dictionary Nouns are categorised as Approved Nouns or Technical Names. Wherever possible they must be preceded by a definite article (The), a demonstrative adjective (This) or an indefinite article (a). As the Simplified English vocabulary is limited, the same word may have to be used many times. Synonyms must not be used once a word is chosen it must be continued with. Noun clusters must be avoided at all times. In Simplified English noun clusters of more than three words must be broken up by either:

  • hyphenating;
  • rewriting;
  • a combination of both.

Technical names must be hyphenated to show relationship if the noun cluster is four or more words.

Verbs

Within Simplified English you must only use the Verbs stated in the dictionary. The …ing form of the verb must not be used. Here are a few examples of the verb Drain:

  • Infinitive: To drain
  • Simple future: To drain
  • Simple present: He/She drains
  • Simple past: He/She drained
  • Past participle: He/She drained.

The past participle must only be used as an adjective either with:

  • a noun (The adjusted link is behind the pillar);
  • or after the verbs To Be or To Become (The wires become disconnected from the switch).

The remaining parts of speech (Pronouns, Adjectives, Adverbs, Conjunctions and Prepositions) are used as in conventional English. That is, provided the words in the dictionary are only used as the part of speech indicated.

Having summarised the type of words that make up the Simplified English vocabulary how are these words together to form sentences and paragraphs? There are four types of sentences used in Simplified English:

  1. Statements;
  2. Procedural instructions;
  3. Questions;
  4. Combinations with linking clauses.

The construction of sentences with Simplified English are governed by eight basic rules:

  1. Make instructions as specific as possible.
  2. Do not use abstracts.
  3. Keep to one task per sentence.
  4. Keep sentences short (maximum 20 words).
  5. For descriptive text, one sentence in 10 may be 25 words long.
  6. Do not omit verbs or nouns to make a sentence shorter.
  7. When counting sentence length. A colon (:) or dash (-) count as a full stop.
  8. If a dependant clause is included then it must start the sentence and be separated from the instruction by a comma.

The construction of paragraphs with Simplified English are governed by ten basic rules.

  1. Always start a paragraph with a topic subject.
  2. Each paragraph must cover only one subject.
  3. The maximum length of a paragraph is six sentences.
  4. Use a variety of sentence lengths and constructions to keep the text interesting.
  5. Vary the length of paragraphs.
  6. Do not use one sentence paragraphs more than once in every ten paragraphs (descriptive text only).
  7. Do not overload the text, present new information slowly.
  8. Use a tabular layout of text to help show relationships between complex actions and results.
  9. Try to use the active voice.
  10. Try to end a paragraph with a statement that will form a link with the next paragraph.

The writing of procedures in Simplified English must be in the Active tense. For descriptive text one sentence in ten may be in the passive tense. To change passive to active you can either:

  • change the subject of the sentence;
  • change an infinitive verb for an active verb;
  • change the verb to a commanding form;
  • use the personal pronouns We and You.

Here is an example of the passive and active tenses of the same sentence.

The main landing gear is supported by the side stay. This is Passive because the subject suffers the action of the verb.

The side stay supports the main landing gear. This is Active because the subject does the action of the verb.

A Full stop (.), Comma (,), Colon (:) or Dash (—) are used in Simplified English as in normal English. The other two methods of punctuation, the Bracket (()) and Hyphen (-) have specific rules governing their use in Simplified English.

There are four circumstances when Brackets are used.

  1. To make condensed figure/text references.
  2. To set off text that is not part of the main statement.
  3. To mark text where the separation by Commas is insufficient.
  4. For letters of numbers that indicate items of a list or steps of procedure.

Hyphens are used as a joining signal. There are seven circumstances when Hyphens are used.

  1. Two-word terms used together.
  2. Two-word fractions or numbers.
  3. Adjectives that consist of three or more words.
  4. Terms that consist of a capital letter or a number and a noun.
  5. Compound verbs consisting of a verb and a noun.
  6. Terms in which a prefix ends, with and the root word begins with a vowel.
  7. Terms in which two one syllable words are written together.

Care must be taken when using a Warning or Caution in Simplified English. You must be certain that the right one is being used. A warning or caution must not be a general statement. They must start with a clear and simple command. A brief explanation may be added, if necessary, to give a clear idea of the possible risk involved. A Warning is a danger of injury to people. A Caution is the danger of damage to equipment.

What Is Simplified English?

Information within technical manuals must be: accurate, complete, relevant, concise, convincing, meaningful and unambiguous before it can be of any use. These seven characteristics all make significant contributions to a technical publication but they are of little use unless there is a precise and clear understanding of the contents by the widest range of users anticipated.

simplified englishSimplified English is a subset of “normal” English that technical writers (technical authors in the UK) can use to improve the readability of aircraft maintenance procedures. Simplified English is not “Simple English” as it demands a very sound working knowledge of conventional English and much greater concentration and awareness by the technical writer / technical author. Simplified English does not cover up for a lack of writing skills. It was designed to be easy for the reader to learn and understand so that the text need not have to be translated. However, if translation is required then Simplified English will make the task easier because of its one word – one meaning philosophy.

Simplified English is a controlled language that has a simplified vocabulary (about 1,000 words), with clearly defined meanings, that has a set of rules (about 55) for using the vocabulary. The approved words and rules are not frozen because not all the words in the English language are included. Technical writers / technical authors might come across words that are missing and consequently these words would have to be added to the vocabulary. The vocabulary words are from three sources.

Approved Words

These are words that are in the Simplified English dictionary. Approved words are indicated in the dictionary as upper case. Only the parts of speech and definitions assigned to the approved word can be used.

If a word is shown as a noun it cannot be used as a verb. An example is the word Test, it is used as a noun and not a verb. Do the leak test for the system  not test the system for leaks.

Technical Names

These are words that fit into one of the categories listed in Simplified English (adjectives and nouns). Technical names can be regarded as un-restricted and are names specified and approved by the company or companies involved.

There are four basic rules covering the use of technical names:

  1. Use only as a noun or an adjective.
  2. Use only the official technical name.
  3. Do not use different technical names for the same thing.
  4. If there is a choice, use the simplest, most easily understood alternative.

There are 20 different categories of technical names:

  • Names in official parts information.
  • Names of locations on the aircraft.
  • Names of tools or equipment.
  • Names of materials and consumables.
  • Names of aircraft support facilities.
  • Names of circuits or systems, their parts or locations in them.
  • Names of persons,groups or bodies.
  • Names of technical records.
  • Mathematical, scientific or engineering terms.
  • Navigational terms.
  • Medical terms.
  • Damage terms.
  • Headings and topics used in specifications.
  • Documents, manuals or parts of a manual.
  • Parts of the body.
  • Units of measurement or dial markings.
  • Numbers.
  • Common personal effects.
  • Environmental conditions.
  • Colours.

Manufacturing Processes

These are words that fit into one of six categories listed in Simplified English (always verbs).

  1. One that removes material.
  2. One that adds material.
  3. One that attaches material.
  4. One that changes the mechanical strength, structure and or physical properties of a material.
  5. One that changes the surface finish of a material.
  6. One that changes the shape of a material.

There are two basic rules covering the use of manufacturing processes:

  1. You must use only the official manufacturing process term.
  2. You can only use a manufacturing process as a verb.

Can a Person Who Has No Technical Writing Experience Become a Technical Writer?

People who do not have hardly any technical writing experience should not be discarded out of hand. There is every possibility that they could become proficient technical writers if they are given the opportunity. They should not be discouraged from taking up technical writing if they have a strong interest in writing and produce examples of their previous work.

For instance, if the person has got high grades for their dissertations/essays at college or they have had letters published in magazines or newspapers then they clearly understand how to organize their ideas and put them into words. This type of person should not be discouraged from a technical writing career just because they have no experience.

technical writingIt is not a question of whether the person can write that is usually the problem but if they know how to use the publishing software that the company uses to produce their technical documentation. You tend to find that companies like to have their newly employed technical writer to “hit the ground running” from day one. They don’t what to spend too much time letting the new employee play around with the software for any length of time before they start to produce the documentation.

To alleviate this problem the prospective technical writer must do their research on the company first to find out what publishing software the company use. Then they need to read up on the software and get to understand how it works because you can guarantee that questions will be asked about the software at the interview stage.

However, these days the majority of companies use well-designed templates and they usually have a senior technical writer who can oversee and supervise the new technical writer for the first couple of several weeks. This type of scenario makes the argument of not employing an inexperienced technical writer pointless.

There are a multitude of technical writing courses available on the internet that will help anybody gain the knowledge they need to help them get that first job as a technical writer.

Unskilled technical writers tend to find interviews intimidating and nerve racking because they don’t know what to expect. That is why they must do their research on the company. What the company is about, what it produces, and more specifically how they produce their technical documentation. Armed with as much information as possible about the company will go a long way in helping the inexperienced technical gain employment.

Advantages of Being a Technical Writer

Have you ever been one of these who end up sitting around wondering if there is any type of career that just suits you “right down to the ground” Would you love to be able to write but simply cannot see yourself writing a magazine, journal or for the media?

Well, if you have a love for writing and also the liking for a number of industries, think about this: technical writing. Working within this area has several benefits.

First, you have to understand that technical writing is a very popular profession and if you are a good technical writer then you could be guaranteed a good career throughout your working years.

You would also get to select your approach to working whether it is like a full-time technical writer (technical author in the UK) for a specific industry, a writer or perhaps a freelance technical writer.

technical writerOn top off all that a good technical writer can earn a pretty decent salary. You tend to find that a technical writer who works in a permanent position start off with a low salary but it increases with experience.

Whereas if you are a freelance technical writer you tend to be paid a lot more but you have to take into consideration the lack of benefits that a permanent writer has. Also a freelance technical writer has to understand that they are only hired for the life of the project.

A technical writer gets great satisfaction from knowing that their work is helping people to easily understand the product or service they have been writing about. There is no greater feeling for a technical writer to know that their efforts are appreciated by not only their bosses but their intended audience as well.

Being a technical writer gives you variety. They are exposed to the most recent devices, breakthroughs, technologies etc, and find out about them before they are released. It is often the case that through their research of a product or service a technical writer will fully understand how they work long before it is released.

Technical writing can be tough sometimes, and also you will have to put your flow of thought so as and also the little pieces will have to fit correctly. The process it produces keeps your work exciting as long as you have to keep up your desire to write. This provides the energy and pumps you as much as anticipate your work instead of detesting it.

I hope by reading this article you will appreciate the benefits that a career as technical writer can offer you. If you like to write, then do not dismiss the opportunity to become a technical writer if it ever presents itself to you.

Getting Technical Documentation Reviewed on Time

Having technical reviews completed for technical documentation has become considerably difficult. Throughout my years as a technical writer and, being mainly based at various organizations and using different methods of reviewing  technical documentation, the problem of having technical reviews performed by SMEs is just the same wherever it was.

Theoretically the best way to get your documents examined is always to distribute it to a list of suitable people for review. It is always a good idea to ask for the comments back by a specific date.

Using this method it is more than likely that you are sure to get nothing or next to nothing back, even if you have been chasing after them with email after email and phone call after phone call. So when you do get a response they are usually full of questions or question marks, or they have been editing the grammar and not even bothering with the technical content.

technical documentationAnother choice is always to call a meeting of all the interested parties. People love meetings and some can spend all day long every single day moving from one meeting to another because it adds the atmosphere of self importance. You will probably notice that the people who have not supplied any written feedback for the review demands are the first ones to accept the invitation to a meeting.

You have to realise that just because you have all the major players involved in the project actually sitting together around a table doesn’t mean that you are going to achieve instant results.

The majority of SMEs hardly ever prepare for a review meeting, you are lucky if they ever read the technical documentation, let alone be prepared for the meeting. They have a tendency to read through the document whilst in the meeting and throw out their comments as and when they have any. This cuts down their time reviewing the document to the amount time the meeting lasts instead of spending a lot longer and giving the technical documentation a thorough review. By doing this type of review the SME is not doing justice to the amount of work you will have put in to create the documentation.

Even if the SME does read through the documentation before the meeting you will find it very difficult to review a large document if the meeting is only scheduled for an hour. You tend to find that if the technical documentation is on the large size and will need several meetings to review then the SME’s enthusiasm will start to wane and they will start to miss meetings.

In my experience it is better to have a technical review of the documentation first and then set up a review meeting. Send the documentation to the SME first to carry out a paper review and get them to send back their comments. Plus also make them aware that a review meeting is being scheduled for the following week. When you receive the comments back from the SME compile them and send them out to with a meeting invitation to the relevant people.

By doing it this way you can conduct the meeting with the knowledge of knowing that a lot of the issues have already been resolved. It will only leave any new queries to be taken care of and any outstanding queries can be allocated to the relevant people as action points. Also the SME will be able to dedicate their time to ensuring that all their comments are auctioned on and when the technical documentation is updated it will be correct and ready for distribution.

The Principles of Technical Writing

Well-written and accurate documentation plays a major role in any company’s customer support strategy because it helps to reduce support costs. Technical writing plays a big part in the support equation.

Technical writing is much more than just technical jargon, and structured, concise instructions. As the intended audience for the technical writing could be for both technical and not-technical people it must to convey its message so that both sets of people understand it.

technical writingThe main purpose of a technical writer when approaching a new technical writing project is to ensure that they maintain focused on what they are writing about. The information they are producing has to be organized and structured within the laid down style that is appropriate for the intended audience. By sticking to the basic principles of technical writing the technical writer is ensuring that the documentation is clearly understood by the reader.

The following is the six basic principles of technical writing that a technical writer has to take in to consideration.

Content

There are five basic questions a technical writer has to ask themselves when starting a new project – who, why, what, how and when. Answering these questions will allow the technical writer to be able to develop the content for any type of technical documentation. For example, let’s say the technical writer has to create a user guide for a new video recorder. Before creating the user guide, they will have to plan the content of the user guide by applying following key questions to the situation:

  1. Who will read the user guide?
  2. Why do need to create the user guide?
  3. What is this user guide going to offer its intended audience?
  4. How is the user guide going to be delivered?
  5. When does the user guide have to be ready (publishing date)?

The audience and purpose of the documentation

Before beginning any new writing project, the technical writer has to analyze the intended audience and identify the purpose for the document. The technical writer will need to ask the following questions about the audience:

  1. Who will read the documentation?
  2. What are their biases?
  3. What responsibilities does the technical writer have when communicating the information to the audience?

With regard to the purpose of the documentation, technical writer will need to know what the documentation will accomplish and also what should it do.

Styleguide

Technical writers will more than likely use a company styleguide (if there is one) to ensure that their documentation has a structured and organized pattern so that it gives consistency to their writing. A styleguide will provide the document with continuity so that the audience can comprehend the information. For example, technical writers need to organise their ideas in a specific chronological format because without a specific layout and structure to the documentation it will be very confusing for the reader to understand.

Writing Style

Technical writers will need to change their writing style depending on the audience and situation they are writing about. If they are writing technical documentation then it needs to be formal and devoid of any emotion as you get with creative writing. Whereas, if say they were an email to one of the senior managers involved in the project then their approach would more casual than formal.

Accessing the information

Accessibility applies to the ease at which the intended audience can gain access to the information they need from the technical documentation. A technical document must at least contain a table of contents, headers and footers, list of illustrations/tables, page numbers, etc.

Also a technical document must adhere to a specific heading and sub heading structure to break down the information into relevant areas that the reader can access easily.

Grammar

A technical writer must adhere to all the rules of conventional grammar. Also it is the technical writer’s responsibility to proofread and edit their documentation to detect and correct any errors in the writing, graphics, typography and layout.

In summarising, a technical writer must ensure that they incorporate the above mentioned principles into their everyday writing style. This will go a long to make them not only a better writer but their technical documentation will be appreciated by both their peers and readers alike.

Technical Writing Is Meant to Convey a Technical Idea

There are plenty of areas that need technical writing. It is a type of writing that describes the appropriate technology along with other concepts which are associated with it. It may be created having a wide selection of viewers at heart. It may be as specialized as detailing how you can repair your car generator for automotive technicians or even describing the way to look at the engine oil for somebody that does not understand the location of the dipstick. The purpose of technical writing is always to express that information and facts to ensure the audience can understand what it is.

Before anybody begins the technical writing task they have to understand what the prospective readership will be as well as exactly what the objective of the actual writing will be. Dependent upon as to who the content is good for then the procedure may begin by having a meeting with the individual authorizing the actual task. This is often to ensure the technical writer can understand what the overall task is going to entail.

technical writingWithout having that information along with comprehending the technical writing task the technical writer won’t be able to convey the right information to the actual target audience. It might have incorrect details within it.

A fundamental element of virtually any technical writing will be the subject matter expert (SME). The technical writer is not always the actual SME, plus it very feasible that they do not actually have the actual specialized understanding of the product or service to create their particular documentation. The SME can provide just about all the facts they require as well as solve virtually any related queries.

As an example the technical writer may not know what a piston is or even what the compression setting is, so they will be able go to the chief technician and inquire precisely how these things function. This will ensure that the technical writer can finish the task using the correct details.

Because the objective of technical writing is always to promote the correct information then talking with an SME could possibly be the key to the actual task. The majority of SMEs are extremely very helpful in aiding the technical writer simply because they realize it is their own facts the technical writer is actually counting on to create the actual documents.

The individual that does the actual technical writing will be revealing details for the audience to ensure they will completely understand what are the service or product will be and the way to utilize them correctly. The particular task by itself could be tailored for a big or small target audience, based on exactly what the technical documentation is being produced for.

The technical writer must ensure that that they realize whom the actual technical documentation is designed for and exactly what the information they’re writing will be and just how the actual expected target audience is actually likely to utilize it. Technical writing can be used for various areas with various objectives.

Is Technical Writing Boring?

A lot of people believe technical writing is boring. Having spent almost 25 years in the profession I can honestly say that description of technical writing is so far from the truth it beggars belief. In fact I have found it to be a very challenging and stimulating career.

But, I have to admit I do like technical communications and especially technical writing because I take great pleasure in writing and organizing technical information in ways that the intended audience can easily understand and use.

I believe that technical documentation that is well written and conveys the message to the intended audience is a great asset for any company’s marketing department.

OK, so let’s see if technical writing is actually ‘boring’…

I suppose in some cases technical writing can be classed as boring. Why is that then? Well, because of the nature of the beast, technical writing needs to convey a consistent and precise form of communication. There should not be any discrepancies in the style and content of the information.

technical writingYou have to remember that the aim of technical communications is not to be entertaining or emotional. That form of writing falls under the category of creative writing.

If you have taken any creative writing courses, then one of the first things you have to master is the variety of expression. Fiction and emotional engagement requires a wide variety of words, metaphors, and phrasing to keep the reader’s interest alive and to help them to visualize the human aspect of the writing.

But technical writing is not like creative writing in any way, shape or form. Because the essence of creative writing is that the content is inconsistent and contains diverse expressions that are woven into the structure of the writing.

This type of writing can create all kinds of problems for a technical document. A technical document needs to be consistent and something that the end user can rely on. There we have it, yes technical writing could be classed as ‘boring’ because it is reliable to a fault. There again that is what technical writing is all about.

For a technical writer to achieve their goal they need to ensure that the technical writing is disciplined and consistent throughout the whole document. For that consistency to prevail then, for example, if a certain component is called a cylindrical shaft, then it needs to have the description (cylindrical shaft) throughout the whole document. Consistency is the key in good technical writing.

I believe that the people who criticise technical writing for being “boring” confuse the goal of this form of writing with that of creative writing. It is an easy mistake to make because in one way I suppose technical writing is a form of creative writing but instead of feelings and emotion it contains technical information.

Well, I suppose to some degree I have to agree that technical writing can be boring but in the nicest way possible way. Technical writing serves the purpose it is intended for and so long as that is the case then who am I to disagree.

That’s my opinion and if others feel differently well who am I to pressure them into thinking otherwise.

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