Technical writing, a form of technical communication, is a style of formal writing used in fields as diverse as computer hardware and software, chemistry, the aerospace industry, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology. Technical writers explain technology and related ideas to technical and non technical audiences. This could mean, for example, telling a programmer how to use a software library or telling a consumer how to operate a television remote control.
A technical writer (also referred to as a technical communicator is a professional writer who designs, writes, creates, maintains, and updates technical documentation—including online help, user guides, white papers, design specifications, system manuals, and other documents. Engineers, scientists, and other professionals may also produce technical writing, usually handing their work to a professional technical writer for proofreading, editing, and formatting. A technical writer produces technical documentation for technical, business, and consumer audiences.
Technical writers gather information from existing documentation and from subject matter experts. A subject matter expert (SME) is any expert on the topic that the writer is working on. Technical writers are often not SMEs themselves (unless they are writing about creating good technical documentation). Workers at many levels, and in many different fields, have a role in producing technical communications. A good technical writer needs strong language and teaching skills and must understand the many conventions of modern technical communications.
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