I had a notion that for one to operate or use a new item he or she must have vast knowledge of it. However, this has changed since I have learnt that most items require the basic knowledge to operate. The basic knowledge skills are always provided by the makers to the users and always come with the item in form of manual. Technical writing is a step by step description of how a particular object is used. It is always in simple language especially when the target audience are non-professionals in that field. Technical writing is thus a communication medium between the technicians and the common people or other technicians depending on the target.
In drafting the description, whether it is of a process or object, there are key aspects to be addressed. The main objective of technical writing is to help the user know the use of a given item and how to use it. These two areas must be adequately addressed. The writing must be detailed enough to ensure that there is no room for mistake. A simple mistake can prove to be very detrimental. For instance, in case of changing tire a simple mistake like not pulling handbrake can lead to death. Hence it is very vital to make sure these key areas are properly addressed. While writing, the technician must keep in mind that the target is a person who might not be having previous knowledge on the item.
The writing can be divided into various parts. The introduction, body and appendix. It is the body that carries huge part of the wring. It is where the procedure and description is outlined. The body is the core of the writing as it is a detailed and informative description of the item. It is where the question “how to use” is answered. The introduction part gives the highlight about the item and its usage or purpose. The appendix provides references whereby explanations especially of the abbreviations are given. It is where additional information which might have not been included is added.
The description can be of an object or process. The two have slight differences but the core principle remains. It must be in simple understandable language. The step by step can be accompanied by pictures or sketches where necessary. Diagrams give elaborate explanation compared to only word description. Object description is the explanation of how an object is to be used. For example, when one purchase a new computer there is an accompanying manual. The manual gives steps to be followed while operating the computer. Object description majorly describes the particular item or machine. The writing includes the parts of the machine, the materials properties and their functions. It also gives explanation why the specific qualities and their importance. However, while writing one must know why he or she is writing and the purpose of writing. Process description involves an examination of an event over a given period. It generally incorporates events that take place regardless of the readers or audience action. Generally, the process is broken down into smaller stages that are easily understood. The parts must flow and be in conformity for easy and clear understanding.
In technical writing, the audience can be those with knowledge on given item like tutors or those with little or no understanding of that particular item. The audience will hugely influence the diction and vocabulary used. If the target is technicians, the writer is allowed to use professional terms as the reader will easily comprehend. In contrary if writing to ‘laymen’ caution must be taken. Simple words should be used in description and explanations. There should be no ambiguity as simple mistake can be very fatal as earlier explained.
The parts to be included in a manual largely depends on the on the audience. In a manual, the user must be defined. This is always the first part of or the introduction. The part also includes where the manual will be used and brief overview of how to use the guide or the manual. A good manual must have appropriate cover and tittle. The title pages should be elaborate enough with in-depth explanation of the machine or item in use. Manual should also have references to related information or documents. This is usually at the preface. If the manual is more than ten pages, it should have table of contents. The most important of a manual is the description and procedure. This is where explanation how to use the item is detailed. The explanations can be accompanied by pictures of parts how they are fixed. In case of machine parts, arrows can be used to show direction where various parts are fixed. The parts can also be numbered for easy match. However, caution must be taken. Numbers must match as described in each step. Technical writing is very easy and vital mode of communication between the technician and the end user of the machine or object in.