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documentation competence
You should know the ropes when creating and editing technical documents. You donít need to make all mistakes yourself but you should be able to learn from the mistakes of others.
Some technical documents just have to meet the demands, such as documents for approval or for servicing purposes. The reader anticipates bare matter-of-fact information here. Presentation should be well-arranged but this is no imperative. On the other hand, there is a host of technical documents to meet the readerís need for operating technical devices. A good design of the document can be the crucial factor if or if not the user will cope handling a piece of equipment.
Few or no instructions are necessary for a well-designed device. Its operation is explained from itself. With an elaborate design, the user discovers all necessary operational steps, or he or she may be guided, e. g. by instructions on a display. So the instruction manual can as well be part of the device. The technical writer should be involved in the design of a device in order to keep its operation logical and consistent.
It is always astounding how low the acceptance of manuals or help screens by the user actually is. There must be a lack of faith in the instructions given in a manual. Sure some deterring instances of badly translated manuals from Asia have made for this. The main reason might be a tendency to skimp on proper documentation and at best to fulfil only the minimum requirements.
media competence
All communication media offer different potentials but make also different demands. The tech writer should know and master the potentials and demands of the medium that he or she is dealing with.
Print media are used separately from technical devices. They offer a way for the reader to immerse into the functionality of a piece of equipment and to learn details of knowledge, e. g. for technical relationships. A printed document is a closed universe where quick and random access to all topics is provided by means of indexes and cross references. You need to change the medium for external reference to another printed document, to a page on the internet or to a multimedia product such as a sound file or video file.
Online or offline media feature instructions displayed on a computer monitor. Usually they are structured similar to printed information. Examples for these are the typical help screens or documents viewed using an internet browser. They offer handy and clear user guidance by means of linking and structural views, plus you can access external sources such as web pages directly.
Using single source publishing it is possible to manage both these types of media in the same source document efficiently and consistently.
You will need a content management system to fulfil both the requirements of different target media and multilingual documentation. Due to the large capital investment for a highly productive system for central document management, it is necessary to ponder on the chance that the anticipated advantage will be worth the cost.
Sound files and video files are other types of media. Sound files are reasonable in particular for visually challenged persons but may in the form of audio books be of interest for everyone. Video files can assist to explain operational procedures on screen but make high demands on their production. A script must be written for each topic which then has to be implemented, using graphical presentation, or in a costly shooting possibly performed by actors.
technical competence
As the name “technical writer” suggests, skills for the comprehension of technical circumstances are needed in order to create technical documents. This may be the right profession for you if you find it easy to operate technical devices, and it can be of avail to have professional experience in other industries. This expands the writer's knowledge horizon and improves his or her comprehension.
electronics competence
It is not necessary to know all the construction details of a device in order to create general documents for it. But knowledge of principles and relationships in electronics is beneficial to write technical descriptions, e. g. for a service manual, and to estimate the coherence of a text.
A technician or engineer who authors the description of an electronic assembly will use a variety of technical terms, often in a jargon similar to aviation lingo. The technical writer has to maintain a consistent and comprehensible terminology, so the reader will not be confused by terms used with different meanings. A knowledgeable writer will also be able to uncover and correct occasional contradictions quickly and without further inquiry.
More competences for:
Technical Documentation  Image Processing  Content Management  Translation  Audio Processing
Good engineering deserves best documentation
engage Heuss !