Technical writing is a sub-set of copywriting where the subject matter is complex or is very specialised. It is a different category because it needs a writer who is able to understand a particular subject and be able to explain difficult concepts in a simple, accessible way to a chosen audience.
This material can be aimed at a general audience as well as a specialist audience. Every professional writer aims to make their subject matter simple to understand and technical writing is the ultimate challenge to a writer. Therefore what are most different in these projects are the skill and knowledge of the writer.
What is the aim of technical writing?
The form often aims to direct, instruct, or explain with typical examples being:
- instructions or user manuals for consumer goods or specialist equipment
- policy and procedure manuals e.g. to comply with WHS regulations
- specialist reports or analyses for a general audience
- assembly instructions for products
- online summaries of technical, political or economic reports
What is most important in technical writing?
When writing for a specialist audience it is still important to be very clear and to avoid short cuts. Clear writing always avoids jargon, which risks being misunderstood by readers. This is even more important in this writing-style because a lot of terms may have disputed or ambiguous meanings or even be used differently by different organisations. It is important that no assumptions are made about the meanings of acronyms and jargon. A good writer or editor will challenge all jargon and make sure that all terms are properly defined and acceptable to the reader.