Technical communication is not journalistic writing, expressive writing, or creative literature. It does not use symbolism or vague literary references. Its purpose is not to entertain. Instead, technical writing is designed to inform or instruct an audience with a specific goal in mind.
Technical communication is clear, concise, and objective. Technical communication encompasses an expansive group of documents. It is not limited to information about computer systems or programming. Even companies that create products that are not necessarily ‘technical’ still employ technical communication to develop, manufacture, market, and explain consumer goods and services.
Every type of writing has a goal. There are some forms of writing that are geared to telling a story and there are other forms of writing that are geared to expressing opinions.
The main purpose of technical writing is to provide sometimes complex information. This is the type of writing that will:
- Assist a person with understanding more about a particular item, such as a computer or a new drug or a new piece of technology.
- Explain how an object works or how to complete a project.
Technical writing is targeted to readers who are looking for information on a particular topic. The goal in targeting this group is to make sure that the information provided is clear, concise and easy for anyone to understand.
This type of writing is somewhat difficult for some people as it requires that you are able to translate information that is sometimes hard to comprehend into terms that anyone will be able to read and follow along with, without an issue. While there are different types of writing that are informative, technical writing is the type that most clearly focuses on presenting information in a specific way so that people can use the information for a variety of purposes.
Characteristics of Technical Writing
Technical writing, just as any other form of writing, has certain characteristics which distinguish it from other types of writing. It is very different from writing opinion pieces, essays, prose, non-fiction or fiction.
- It is clear and straight forward. If you are interested in technical writing for professional purposes, it is very important to know that this type of writing requires that the writer stick to the subject matter and relay information in a clear and concise manner.
- The language is very direct and straight to the point. The writing will avoid words that people do not understand and will avoid an eloquent writing style.
- It is very detailed and informative. The perfect example of technical writing is a textbook. The written content of most textbooks is geared to providing information by describing the subject matter as fully as possible.
- It is very structured. This type of writing has a very obvious composition that makes it easy for the reader to follow along. Solid structure is needed with technical writing as it allows the audience to easily access the information as needed.