Technical writing is also known as Technical communication. It is a way to communicate ideas with the readers and present technical information in an easy-to-understand way. As a Technical Writer, you have the power to transform the scary technical jargons into simple and understandable language. Technical writers are the people who understand the technical product and services and also the targeted group to which this product or service is required.
Perhaps the most stupid way of explaining what a technical writer is to say that the profession is misnamed; the real description should be non-technical writer . In other words, a person who turns technical text into non-technical information.
It is often incorrectly claimed that the technical writing profession emerged in the 1980s, when the need for software documentation started to mushroom. In fact, the profession was alive and well in Australia 40 years earlier, creating aircraft manuals, engineering equipment manuals, and other instructions, books, lists and guides. In the UK, the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC) was founded in the early 1950s. Shortly after that, the forerunners of the American Society for Technical Communication (STC) were founded. Although the majority of technical writers are now employed within the broader information technology industry, there are still plenty of engineering technical writers and technical illustrators producing manuals for planes, trains, trams, ships and automobiles.
A Californian Government occupation guide helps define the role of the technical writer further.
“Technical Writers create communication from product developers to users of the products. Users include consumers as well as scientists, engineers, plant executives, line workers, and production managers. Writers must write in a concise and easy-to-read manner for consumer publications or in highly specialized language for experts. With the increased use of desktop publishing, Technical Writers increasingly are responsible for the publication process including graphics, layout, and document design.
” Technical Writers produce product instructions, reference and maintenance manuals, articles, project proposals, training materials, technical reports, catalogs, brochures, on-line documentation and help systems, Web pages, multimedia presentations, parts lists, assembly instructions, and sales promotion materials. ”
Perhaps the following explanation sums it all up. It is grand in its simplicity.