Technical Writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of formal writing and business communication, used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. Good technical writing clarifies technical jargon; that is, it presents useful information that is clear and easy to understand for the intended audience.
At first glance, technical communication (techcom) and technical marketing communication (marcom) appear to be very different genres. Where traditional techcom strives to help people use products, marcom seeks to make people realize they need products.
This article is a collage of ideas and experiences from some people who've made the leap from writer to manager. Although it's not a step-by-step guideline, it provides some compelling insight as to what individuals might expect as they transition into the management ranks. Even if you are an experienced manager, you might find these ideas helpful.
This paper explores how technical publications managers can create a department that provides career enriching opportunities and direction for technical communicators. The paper describes in detail four major ways: by providing training opportunities, by providing diverse assignments, by allowing participation in management issues, and by providing customer contact. The paper describes the benefits of each enriching opportunity to the technical communicator and to the manager.
It is quite challenging for a manager to integrate a diverse group of intelligent and creative professionals into a single, cohesive unit. As much as you may try to avoid it, conflict among your employees is bound to rear its ugly head from time to time.
As much as you may try to avoid it, conflict among your employees is bound to rear its ugly head from time to time. While you may not be able to resolve all conflicts, with the right approach, you can manage many of them.
I happened to manage a team of content writers first and then technical writers. I am using ‘happened’ in my statement as I entered into this role by chance way back in year 2000. Technical Writing was not a ‘very heard of’ word in that era. Fresh out of my college, I joined my first company as a content writer, uploading content on various publishing websites. Soon, I was assigned the task of an editor, which resulted in looking after the review work of three content writers. The role of an editor also requires a bit of people management. One needs to understand the way an author has written a document and get into his/her mind and then, edit the document.
Current trends in Corporate America are changing the traditional role of technical communicators and creating new challenges and opportunities. Re-engineering the corporation, Total Quality Management, ISO 9000 compliance, and the continuing onslaught of the Information Age are all bringing formally 'invisible' technical communications functions into the limelight. It's not just writing and editing any more! As communication professionals and managers we need to upgrade skills and re-focus our efforts to become 'information managers.'
The success or failure of any mailing list depends entirely on its members - as in how effectively can they contribute on the list or how diligently can they enhance the quality of ongoing discussions. If you watch closely, the level of discussions combined with the maturity of posters is what characterizes these mailing lists to a large extent. For instance, take a firsthand look at Technical Writers India mailing list or TWI, as it is popularly called.
None of the technologies mentioned so far support the production of content for purposes of producing technical documentation. Such a system is a specific type of content management that has specialized functions for technical communicators doing multi-channel publishing, yet it hasn't spun off its own specific acronym.
In May 2004, I did a presentation to the London group of the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators on the future for technical authors. This article expands one of the topics discussed - how to promote and market technical authors.
If the world really is run by C students, then you have to ask yourself a question: How do I market myself in an ocean of average? Today's competitive job market can be a hard nut to crack. How do you stand out in that crowd?
This workshop will examine the types of marketing materials that can give you creative experience. You'll learn how to adapt your skills and subject matter knowledge to these projects, how to plan and develop different types of materials, and how to identify opportunities for new types of communication.
Dark text refers to the many layers of hidden meaning in any text segment. It ranges from the implied meaning that the author intended, or that the reader infers, to much deeper, more hidden meanings. As technical writers, we must be aware of dark text, and where possible, try to minimize it.
Microcontent refers to small, granular, and possibly representative (that can provide a summary of or a navigation to a larger set of information) bits of information, typically available on the Web. An example in the domain of journalism might be headlines and news summaries, small bits of content that can be used on a front page of the news with links to more in-depth articles. The definition has grown in scope as much as in its application.
In a multibillion-dollar-per-yearcindustry, medical technical writers are well situated between companies that manufacture drugs and medical equipment and the federal government, which regulates the manufacture of drugs and medical equipment. The government requires that these companies produce specific types of documents, which must be of a very high standard. This situation creates lucrative opportunities for technical writers.
Technical communication is often no more complicated than clearly describing the steps in a procedure, but sometimes we must create new models for each key part of a complex procedure.
Increasingly, technical communicators are being asked by their companies to participate in marketing efforts. While most of us have long considered user's manuals and other documentation an important ingredient in maintaining customer loyalty, we have accepted that generally our primary function is to instruct people on the use or repair of products. Our job is to make complex information understandable; if in doing so we also make friends of customers and prospective customers, then we are pleasantly surprised.
A problem that sometimes occurs, when authors ask my advice about the method of presenting an instruction, is that they use words that I think will not necessarily be understood by people whose mother-tongue is not English.
Microsoft is one of the largest software companies in the world. Thus, with their rich experience in documentation it is only natural that they share it with the rest of the IT industry. The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, Third Edition (MSTP) is the latest step in this direction and takes care of latest technologies and technical terms.
The little elements of writing can make a big difference. If you're looking for a way to refresh your writing, consider paying close attention to the aspects involved in microwriting.