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Technical writing

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.

Good technical writing clarifies technical jargon; that is, it presents useful information that is clear and easy to understand for the intended audience. Poor technical writing, on the other hand, often creates unnecessary technical jargon, and sows seeds of confusion and misunderstanding in the readers' minds.

Technical writers often labour under titles that include phrases like Information Development, Technical Documentation, or Technical Publications. For example, in some organizations, Technical Writers may be called Information Developers, Documentation Specialists, Documentation Engineers, or Technical Content Developers. Technical writers explain complex ideas to technical and nontechnical audiences. This could mean telling a programmer how to use a software library, or telling a consumer how to operate a television remote control.

Technical writers gather information from existing documentation, and from subject matter experts. A subject matter expert (SME) is any expert on the topic the writer is working on. Technical writers usually are not SMEs themselves—unless they're writing about creating good technical documentation.

Workers at many levels, and in many different fields, have a role in producing and distributing technical communications. A good technical writer needs strong language skills, and must understand the highly evolved conventions of modern technical communications. For technical documents to be useful, readers must understand and act on them without having to decode wordy and ambiguous prose.


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Technical writing".