Technical Writing | History, Documents, Rules, Characteristics, Importance and Skills

Technical Writing: We have all come across distinct types of writings. One of the important and very useful types of writings is Technical Writing. You all must have wondered what Technical Writing is. If you do not know what it is and are curious to know or learn about this type of writing that we call Technical Writing, then you all are in the correct place. Here we have the answers to all the questions you have regarding Technical Writing. We will tell you What is Technical Writing and we will also explain What is Technical Writing in English.

Here, we are about to provide you with examples of Technical Writing. There are several Technical Writing Courses available which give people information on how to become a writer technical. So let us begin.

Technical Writing in English

What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is a discipline of writing. It is the process of writing technical communication. Technical writing is mainly used in occupational and technical fields. Some of them are engineering, aeronautics, robotics, biotechnology, computer hardware and software and many more.

It communicates about specialized topics like computer applications and medical procedures. Communications regarding environmental regulations can also be referred to as technical communication.

These kinds of communications are carried out with the help of technology like web pages and social media sites. The major function of technical communication is to provide detailed information and instructions about the process of doing something.

History of Technical Writing

The beginning of Technical Writing can be traced back to the Old English Period. The works of writers such as Aristotle and Geoffrey Chaucer are considered the earliest forms of technical writing.

Technical Writing became popular and extremely important when the mechanical printing press got invented. Scientists and inventors used to perform the art of technical writing in order to write down documents and prepare records of the things that they used to find out or invent.

During the industrial Revolution, new machines were being invented. Common people did not know how to use them. It would have been very difficult to orally explain each and every person about how to operate and use these machines.

Thus the inventors chose to write down the procedures of using the machines and devices. Everyone got written manuals on how to use the devices. This was a very fast and effective way. Thus Technical Writing became very important and popular during the Industrial Revolution.

It was then that the profession of technical writing and of a technical author began to develop. During the World War I and World War II, an advance in medicinal and computer technologies was required. Military hardware and aerospace technology was also required.

This demanded a well organized documentation which would contain detailed information and instructions about these technologies. It was then that the job of a Technical Writer became officially recognised and Technical Writing officially became a profession.

The job began to be in high demand since the twentieth century. After the war, several services developed. There was growth of libraries and universities. Public transport services began to develop too. There was a need for writers who would provide instructions and detailed information about these services.

Soon after, universities and large businesses started using computers. The profession of Technical Writers and of Technical writing became a necessity.

With the development of personal computers and consumer electronics, more and more technical writers began to be employed. There task was to create user documents regarding these products and services.

Technical Writer

The person who performs the task of Technical Writing is known as a Technical Writer. A Technical Writer can also be called a Technical Author. The major task of a technical writer is to minimize the use of technical instructions by finding out and identifying ways to do so.

The Technical Writer has to write, edit, organize and present supporting documents for the same. In order to qualify or be eligible for the post of a Technical Writer, a person has to have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, IT or any Engineering degree.

A technical Writer has to find out and establish the exact requirements of the end users with the help of research and calculation. The Technical Writer has to analyse sample products and also communicate with the designers, developers and the manufacturers of the products.

A Technical Writers makes use of visual diagrams such as drawings and diagrams. They then have to gather feedback and then work to improve the products. They have to implement and put into effect the decisions and requirements they receive in the feedbacks.

Technical Documents

Some of the documents that can be considered as Technical Documents are instructions and procedures, proposals, emails, letters, memoranda, press release, specifications and descriptions.

Documents like resumes, job applications, technical reports, case studies, white papers, websites, datasheets, API guides and help systems are also considered as technical documents.

Some other technical documents or materials include various kinds of written reports, oral reports, business letters, articles for technical journals or books, abstracts, graphic aids, handbooks and brochures.

Technical Writing Tools used by Technical Writers

Some of the Technical Writing tools that are used by technical writers are Desktop Publishing Tools or Word Processors, Help Authoring Tools, Component Content Management Systems and Image Editing Software.

Tools like collaborative software programs, web development tools, text editors, Graphing Software and Screen Capture Tools are also used by them.

Characteristics of Technical Writings

A Technical Writing consists of facts. It is not an opinion based work. It lacks opinions and emotion. It is an information based work. It uses scientific and technical terms and vocabulary. It is highly specific and detailed.

Technical Writing also makes use of tables, graphs and figures. Unlike creative writing which is imaginative and symbolic, Technical Writing is factual and straight forward. It is specific and not general. It does not provide entertainment, provocation or inspiration. It serves the need of informing and instructing.

It is not artistic. Technical Writing is a very formal and standard piece of writing. It makes use of specialized terms in place of evocative vocabulary. The tone of a technical document is objective and not subjective. A piece of Technical Writing is never arbitrary or artistic. It is always sequential and systematic.

Essential skills required for Technical Writing

There are some essential skills that a Technical Writer must possess. The person working as a Technical Writer for a business must have a clear understanding and knowledge of the product he is writing about.

He must know about the way in which the product works and the use of the product. He should also know and write about the ways in which the product could be repaired or replaced. He must have knowledge and detailed information about the industry or business.

He or she must know the essentials of creating a technical document. A Technical Writer must have detailed knowledge of Technical Writing Software Tools. He must possess good communication skills and at least basic graphic and web designing skills. He might be required to perform tasks such as layout designing and audio video editing. He must have good research skills.

He is required to analyse and understand well. the topic he is provided with. A good Technical Writer must have the quality of teamwork and should be able to work as a team.

Rules for Technical Writing

A Technical Writer must know the purpose of the writing very well. It is very important for the technical writer to know his audience very well. He should know the background, language and education level of the target audience. He should be well aware of the familiarity of the target audience with the product.

The technical document should be written in a clear and conversational style. It should maintain accuracy and clarity. An unclear and inaccurate writing would create confusion among the readers. Unclear technical writing is not only confusing but can also be dangerous. For instance, unclear and inaccurate instruction on how to use or operate a machine or a device can prove to be extremely dangerous.

A Technical Writing should be direct and concise. It should be specific and consistent. The use of jargon should be minimized. In a Technical Writing, the use of active voice is preferred over the use of passive voice. The Technical Writer should be able to break the write up into short and readable sections.

A technical writer should make use of stacked lists and appropriate visuals. The writing should be cohesive and easy to follow. Action statements should be used. Titles and headings should be used in longer writings. Only the accepted formats of the various forms of writings must be used.

A technical writer can also make use of a style guide. The technical document should have a proper and user friendly layout. If the document lacks a proper layout, the readers might miss out on important points and can also get confused. The document should be well organized.

As we all know, a picture is as valuable as a thousand words. It is very important to add pictures, figures and other visuals to the document. But the technical writer must use appropriate images and visuals. They should not be used only for the sake of making the document look attractive.

It must add value to the document and should be related to the subject matter. The illustrations should be used strategically. The writing should be practical. The technical document should have an index and a table of contents. This would make the document more organized and would improve search ability.

The readers would be able to find the required information faster and more easily. A technical document that provides information about a product or service should be able to bridge the gap between technology and human users. The technical writer should maintain consistency across all the other documents.

The final technical document should be revised several times in order to avoid inconsistencies and voids. The feedbacks should never be avoided. They should always be implemented and taken care of.

This would help the business to gain a lot of profit and popularity. After all, the products and services are developed for the human users. Their needs and requirements should always be kept in mind.

Changes in the Technical Writing Profession over the decade

The profession of Technical Writing has gone through a lot of changes over the past decade. Earlier, the technical documents used to be about the products and their features. Now a days, technical writers focus on the users of the products and their requirements.

The technical documents are mostly related to the requirements of the users and the development of the product. The field of product documentation has widened a lot. Earlier, the Technical Documents related to products and services used to be in the form of text.

Through the Last decade, there has been a shift from the text based documents to audio visual content. People now prefer to watch videos relating to the products and services instead of reading the lengthy user manuals.

Earlier, the technical documents about the products were just information about the product and the instructions on how to use the same. Now a day, there has been a shift to a more user friendly and interactive content.

Importance of Technical Writing

Technical Writing is of great importance. It helps in the completion of a task. It helps people know about the facilities of work. With the help of Technical Writing, a person can improve Interpersonal Relationships.

It acts as a means of promotion and it also helps in the increase of income. Technical Writing helps in the improvement of Personality traits. By performing Technical Writing, we are provided with the facility of the security of records.

Technical Writing helps us conduct a business properly. It is very important in order to gain success in the business. Technical Writing helps to reflect our interpersonal communication skills as it often involves teamwork.

The Takeaway from the Article

Technical Writing is an extremely important and flourishing profession. The job of a Technical Writer is a highly paid job holding great importance. This formal piece of writing requires essential skills for which various courses are available all around the world.

This article has put up for you, detailed information about the characteristics and rules for technical writing, its various forms and the tools used.

Leave a Comment