Technical writing is an essential part of the corporate world, because technology in present day is far to complicated for the average individual. That is were the technical writer is a valuable asset, the skill set they have enables the consumer to use, and understand the technology of the product. Technical writing is supposed to be clear and concise, and straight to the point so that the reader has a clear understanding of the subject. Technical writing is used for user manuals, e-mails, memos, and other documents that are in the corporate world. The technical writer has the knowledge to turn technological specifications or company relations into understandable terminology for consumers and other colleagues.
The purpose of technical writing is to take a subject that the average person has no idea about and change the terminology of that subject into something that the average person can understand. The technical writer must use a text that is easy to read, and readers do not like full paragraphs. There is a need to put graphics into the text, and break-up the text in other ways so that the reader does not lose interest. With out the skill set of a technical writer consumers would not be able to use a wide variety of products due to them being far too technical. If engineers were in charge of writing user manuals then they would use their technical lingo to explain how to use their product. Most average consumers would not be able to understand the engineer’s lingo, and this would cause consumers not to buy that product. A technical writer is the medium between the technical side of the corporate world and the consumers of the products that these companies sell. There would also be an interruption of communication in the corporate environment, because all communication must be straight and to the point. If there is any space for reader interpretation then the idea being conveyed could be taken the wrong way.
Technology is the reason for the increase in the need for technical writers. With out technical writing the average consumer would not be able to use a wide variety of the products that are out there. User manuals are the way that the consumer is able to use modern technology. Technical writers change the technical lingo into something that the average consumer is able to understand. E-mail is a new technology along with the Internet where people need to use technical writing. The e-mails need to be short and to the point so that the receiver has a clear understanding of the information. However, e-mail might not be the best communication channel to use. If you are discussing a highly sensitive topic such as a pending merger, corporate take over, or layoffs, an e-mail message would be less secure than a letter sent in a sealed envelope.
An aid to technical writing is audience recognition and this is where the writer establishes the audience knowledge level on the subject. Audiences can be broken down into four different groups, high tech audience, low tech audience, lay audience, and multiple audiences. A high tech audience has characteristics like extensive knowledge about the subject, shared level of understanding, and a need for little background information. A low tech audience is familiar with the technology, but their job responsibilities are peripheral to the subject matter. Lay audiences are Customers and clients who neither work for your company nor have any knowledge about your field of expertise are your lay audience members. Multiple audiences are a variety of all of the other different audiences rolled into one.
Currently I am working in the landscaping business awaiting the end of the current college program that I am involved with. There are a few examples in this business where technical writing is very helpful. One is on the flyers that are handed out door to door. The message on them must be short and sweet, and it must be easy to read while getting the point across. The second is with the company brochures that we send to all of our customers that lines out all of the different treatment packages that we provide. There are also seasonal formal letters that our company sends out to all of our customers conveying that the company also provides other services. These are just a few examples of technical writing in the field that I am currently working in.
In conclusion, technical writing is essential in all phases of the business world, and it is essential in order to give the best customer support available. The audience is a big key to understanding the lingo needed and the limit to detail. Once the audience is established then all that is left to choose is which method of conveying the information. There is always a time and place when it comes to the different mediums of communication. The key is to be as short and concise as possible when it comes to technical writing.