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Technical Writing

Page history last edited by Jared 8 years, 4 months ago

Definition of Technical Communications


The Society for Technical Communication defines technical communicators as those who “research and create information about technical processes or products directed to targeted audiences through various forms of media.”  Even in industries where the final product or service is not very technical in nature (business, marketing, social work), technical communications activities make up a surprisingly large portion of work from entry level positions, to the highest positions in organizations.


Technical communications is an increasingly collaborative profession, as specialists from disciplines work together with designers, engineers, analysts, project management, quality control, sales, logistics, and customer support to ensure that accurate and relevant information is communicated at each stage of a product lifecycle, research program, or project development. Media used to deliver technical communications include websites, books, brochures and other printed materials, social media, meetings and live presentations, e-books, video, and audio.


Because technical communications activities are key throughout many strategic and operational areas of an organization, planning and executing a wide range of technical communications strategies becomes increasingly important. Tech-com strategies can be defined as the coordination and integration of all technical communication processes, tools, functions, and sources within an organization to convey information and knowledge.


All Writing is Technical to Some Extent

    •    What does it mean to be technical? 
    •     What is technology?
    •     What is a Techne?
    •     Techne and the writing process
      • Techne as that bridge between THEORIA and PRAXIS
      •  Between “theory” and “practice”
      • Technical Writing is also a bridge between:  
        •  Engineers and management
        •  Product developers and customers
        •  Customers and shareholders
        • Departments in conflict
        • You and your supervisor
        •  Everyone in your work / peer group


  •      So what we call “technical writing”
    1. Will often involve what we call “technology”
    2.  And is a technology in itself


Technical Writers think through some Familiar Concepts, Conventions and Techniques


 In English 1020, you learned about the theory

    1. Discourse community
    2. Argumentation / Rhetoric
    3. Genre
    4. Context

  • Now, we’re going to look at task-specific practice
    1.  Letters
    2.  Memos
    3. Reports
    4. Instructions
    5. Tone, content, reader-centricity
    6. Above all, remember that composition, technical or otherwise, is a RECEPTIVE ACT.  For any composition job, your first task is to LISTEN to your advisers and your audience:
      1. Who is your reader?
      2. What do they need to know?
      3.  How are they going to get it?
      4. When are they receiving your documentation?
      5. Where are they in relation to you?
      6. Why are they consulting your documentation?
    7.  When you can answer all those questions, you are well on your way to making good technical documentation...


But what’s in it for you?

    1.  Marketability!
      1. Employers want employees who can write – “communication” is the most often cited problem employers have with their personnel.
    2.  Independence!
      1. Don’t want to work for someone else?  You’ll need good communication skills to write business plans and proposals:  “gimme a loan to start a company, dude,” ain’t gonna cut it!
    3. Satisfaction!
      1. Tech-Writing is fun – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 


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