Are you studying technical disciplines? You will then definitely need to improve your skills in technical writing. However, even if you study humanities, it doesn’t mean that you won’t need to learn this type of writing. When you are a student of a high school or a college, teachers try to provide you with diverse information on diverse disciplines and topics so that you become a broad-minded adult. In this article, we’ll try to define technical writing and give you tips concerning this type of writing.
For Whom This Article Is Helpful?
This article is dedicated primarily to students of technical specializations or those who study technical disciplines such as physics, chemistry, finance, computer science, engineering, and others. If your teacher assigned you with any task that needs explanation, comments or anything of this nature, you should read our article and follow our instructions on how to complete such texts. However, if you are eager to know about other types of writing, you can also find the information about them in our blog.
Technical Writing Definition
Have you ever read the instructions to a laundry washer? Or, have you ever tried to conduct a chemistry experiment following the instructions in your textbook? Both of these texts are technical. The aim of such texts is to explain the properties of some subject or the flow of a specific process. To define technical writing we should reveal main characteristics of technical texts. Get acquainted with them below.
Connection with a specific subject or process. As we already mentioned, technical texts should contain a detailed description of some subject or technical process.
- Clarity. Technical texts should be absolutely clear for anyone who may need to read them. If they are not clear the consequences can be awful. If even some words or sentences are unclear, this can even provoke someone’s death.
- Accuracy. The person who completes an instruction to any subject should be accurate. Imagine that someone made a mistake in the instructions to a laundry washer. If that person specifies wrong properties this can lead even to a fire in the house. Of course, manufactures of household appliances take all safety measures to avoid such situations but anyone can make a mistake.
- Well-defined structure. Typically, instructions contain a lot of headings, subheadings, sections, paragraphs, lists, and other structured items so that the reader can easily and quickly find the necessary piece of information.
- Special terms. Some technical texts are written for people of specific areas of expertise, others — for people of all professions. If it is the instruction that is written for specialists in a certain sphere, it can contain special terms and abbreviations without explanation. If it is for mass consumption, the text should contain definitions and clear explanations of all terms that are mentioned.
- Consistency. The information should be written in a logical order. For example, a manual for a washing machine should start from safety precautions, then installation of the washer, and so on.
Recommendations on Technical Writing
We hope that our technical writing definition was clear enough for you and now we can move further and provide you with specific recommendations. They are as follows:
- Don’t use words that can misguide the reader. Some words have more than one meaning. If you have to use such words, surround them with immensely clear context so that the reader will understand you properly.
- Explain everything in detail. We know that people who study the exact sciences don’t like to use many words. However, manuals and instructions should contain very detailed explanations even if some words seem redundant for you because you are a specialist.
- Triple-check. Remember, when you complete an instruction you should be very attentive. If you complete a manual for technics or any operational process, you should check your text dozens of times, especially to avoid cases where terrible consequences may take place because of your mistake. Some kinds of technical writing may not cause damage to people — however, you should always be very attentive.
- Don’t express your opinion. No instruction, manual, or anything of this nature should contain the author’s opinion. It’s not an essay. You should be objective and write only about things that you know exactly.
- Use the word “must.” Though in everyday conversations “must” sounds a bit rude, in manuals this is a frequently used word. The word “must” obliges the person to follow instructions meticulously. By saying “must” the author means “Do exactly what I’ve written because other ways to do this thing don’t work. Believe me, I tried.”
- Try your product. If you finished an instruction that should be clear for any person, even if he or she is not knowledgeable in the field, ask someone to read it. You and those people who study with you can be “blind” to simple mistakes, such as usage of abbreviations without explanations. Therefore, you should find a person who has a fresh eye on your issue.
We hope your question “how to define technical writing?” is now revealed and you won’t have any problems with completing your text. However, if you need some help, read the next paragraph to find out how and where to receive assistance.
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