Technical writing is a style of writing used in diverse fields such as electronics, engineering, finance, robotics, aerospace industry and computer hardware and software. It involves the use of layouts and other presentational strategies to make the messages easier to understand.
The job of a technical writer is to translate technical information into plain language. They are required to assemble a variety of documents like technical reports, training manuals and assembly instructions. They are expected to write and convey information to technical as well as non-technical people.
If you are aspiring to become a technical writer, here are a few tips that can help you to be effective in your chosen field:
1. Know your target audience.
A technical writer caters to two types of audiences. These are the technical and non-technical audience. Your technical audience understands industry jargon while the other type doesn’t. You should ascertain the audience who is the target of your technical content to ensure that they can clearly understand your language.
2. Define your writing goal.
A technical writer’s goal is essential in every writing project that he does. You should be able to establish your writing goal in every manual, technical report or users’ guide that you assemble. You need to make your audience understand what you want to accomplish with your written piece.
3. Use examples.
Use examples throughout your content to help your end user understand what you’re trying to say. The information might look simple to you but you need to assume that somebody out there might not be able to understand it fully without examples.
4. Make attribution to your resources.
Technical writing entails lots of research work and research always involves resources which help you to come up with your technical writing project. You should give proper credit to your resources. This will help to make your work appear more professional.
5. Use visuals.
Using visuals like graphs or charts can help to make your reader understand your message more quickly.
6. Proofread your work.
Proofreading is a must for every written work which is intended for other people. It is not good for a company to release or publish a manual or guide that is plagued with errors. As a technical writer, you should make proofreading an integral part of your job.
After you have done proofreading, ask someone to proofread your work to ensure that all errors are spotted and rectified.
7. Ask someone to review your work.
Get a second opinion about your work by asking someone to review it. Having your work seen from a different perspective can help you to discover some points that you might have missed in your presentation.
8. Utilize headers.
One way to simplify your report or manual is to break it up with sub-headings. This will help to facilitate reading ease in your written report or manual.
9. Always use the present tense in your technical writing projects. It helps to give your work clarity and conciseness.