Technical writing means any form of writing or structuring tech communicative interaction that is used in many tech and professional fields like computing software and hardware, development, aeronautics, chemistry, finance, robotics, electronics and biotechnology. The IT field occupies the biggest subfield in technical writing and communication.
Writers from Writercheap.com professional writing company define such communication as any kind of interaction showing one or more of the features described below: (1) a message on tech or special topics like medical procedures, computer software apps or ecological instructions; (2) a message through the technology, such as reference files, web pages or social media; or (3) supplying instructions on doing something no matter what the kind of task is.”
Technical Writing Review
Technical writing is made by writers and is a process of writing and sharing the data in terms of professional regulations. The main goal of the writer is to bring information to the other person or any third party most transparently and effectively. The information passed by professional writers is frequently complicated, so one of their most important goals is to analyze the data and then to present it in the readable and understandable form.
A good technical writer needs persuasive writing and communication skills. Professional writing specialists do not only transmit information through texts, but they should also be experienced users of computers, too. They use a wide range of apps like Adobe Photoshop to create and edit pictures, scheme creating apps to create visual guides, and document processing apps to project and format documents.
While usually being connected with online support and user guides, technical writing still covers a wide range of genres and technologies. Press releases, notes, commercial offers, product descriptions, technical requirements, white papers, resumes, and employment applications – these are only a few of professional writing kinds.
History of Technical Writing
Technical writing was accepted as a profession only during World War II, but one can trace its origins up to Ancient Classical times. Critics cite texts of such writers as Aristotle to present the earliest technical writing papers. A Treatise on the Astrolabe by Geoffrey Chaucer is an early example of the professional writing document. Researchers suppose it to be the first technical document published in English.
With the invention of the mechanical printing press, the beginning of Renaissance and the Age of Reason, the need to register results and achievements became necessary, so inventors and scientists like Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci began creating documents to disclose their inventions and achievements. While never being called "technical writing documents" at the time when they were published, these papers played an essential role in the development of new technical writing and communication forms.
The field of technical communication expanded during the time of the Industrial Revolution. The need to instruct people about how to use more and more complexed machines appearing increased the demand for technical writing documents. Contrary to past times when skills were passed from one person to another through oral speeches and traditional rituals, at that time, nobody but inventors knew how to use new devices. So, writing became the quickest and most effective way to share the information, and writers who were able to describe required machines became wanted.
During the 20th century, the need for technical writing increased, and the profession finally became official. Events of World War I and World War II led to numerous achievements in medicine, military technique, computing, and space technologies. This quick rise combined with the urgency of war created the necessary need in well-processed written documents on the use of new technologies. Technical writing skills were heavily wanted at that time, and the job of the professional writer became the official position during World War II.
After World War II, technical achievements brought the increase of everyday use product numbers and the rise of wealth among people. So, the need in technical writers able to note the chronology and describe nuances of different processes increased. Additionally, big companies and universities started using computers during that period. Apparently, in 1949, Joseph D. Chapline created the world’s first computing technical document: the user guide for the BINAC computer.
The invention of a transistor in 1947 allowed producing computers for much lower prices than ever before. This fact made it possible for people and small business companies to buy computers. As a result of the significant rise of the computers, the demand for technical writing specialists able to explain and register these devices increased, too. Technical writing profession got its further development in the 1970s and 1980s as household electronic devices were finding their way to houses of more and more people.
In recent years, the dominating position computers have in a society led to numerous inventions and achievements in the field of digital communications and many changes in instruments used by technical writing specialists. For instance, text editors, graphics editing applications and apps on digital page formatting made the process of tech documentation creation faster and easier than ever before, and technical writing professionals have to be experienced users of such apps nowadays.
Methods of Technical Writers
Excellent technical writing is short, concentrated, and easy to read and understand, and free of mistakes. Professional writers concentrate on creating documents maximally precise, avoiding overuse of tech phrases. As technical materials are used in real cases, the reader needs to understand clearly what the subject of the technical document is and what has to be done with the presented data. Just think about it: what catastrophic consequences would it have, if instructions of the technical writer about the use of the strong X-ray device were difficult to understand?
Technical writing requires the writer to research his or her audience extensively.
Technical writers need to know how deep the knowledge of their audience on the discussed material because it determines the content and the focus of the tech writing document. For instance, a scientific report explaining the results of certain researches directed towards highly qualified scientists will be much different than that aimed for the wider audience.
Technical writing specialists shouldn’t be experts in their field. They usually cooperate with companies to complete tasks demanding more knowledge on the subject than they have.
Technical writing should be precise. The qualified specialist knows what he or she needs to tell to the audience after analyzing them. The point is to deliver the message accurately and ethically. Environmental, ecological or financial consequences might be severe if the technical writer does it wrong. Knowing the audience is essential for the writer's preciseness because the language will be shaped according to their understanding of the subject. For instance, instructions about the correct and safe bookshelf assembling are included when a person buys a product itself. Such instructions make it possible for any person to proceed and include precise info on how, when, and where every screw goes. If instructions are incorrect or not accurate enough, the bookshelf might be unstable. Potentially, it could fall and hurt someone.
Technical Writing Documents
Technical writing covers multiple genres and styles depending on the data and the target audience. Technical documents are not created by technical writers exclusively. Almost any person working in a certain professional field provides others with technical documents of some variety.
Here is the list of some technical writing documents:
- Instructions, user guides.
- Emails, letters, and notes.
- Press releases.
- Technical requirements.
- Employment applications.
- Tech reports.
- White papers.