The role of the Technical Communicator

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Contents

Introduction

This page provides a brief guide to the range of work required of the Technical Communicator, and a list of the abilities required to fulfill these requirements.

The role of the Technical Communicator is to communicate and inform; to provide information in the form best suited to the needs of the user. Technical Communicators are the bridge between technical experts or designers and the end-users, and are therefore often called upon to 'translate' technical information into a format that is easy for users to understand.

Capabilities

A Technical Communicator must be capable for performing the following activities:

  • Determine the purpose of a document or communication;
  • Identify the audience and their requirements;
  • Plan the development of a document or communication;
  • Collect, analyze and evaluate information from a variety of sources;
  • Store information in a logical manner for easy retrieval later;
  • Choose the appropriate medium for a communication;
  • Choose the appropriate layout and format of a document or communication;
  • Adopt or develop appropriate styles and standards;
  • Choose appropriate visual aids;
  • Choose the method of production;
  • Write communications (from initial draft to final publication);
  • Plan, procure, and manage printing, production, and distribution services;
  • Control on-going maintenance of documentation.

Skills

The Technical Communicator must possess the following skills:

  • A strong grasp of English grammar (assuming that English is the language in which the communication will be developed);
  • Good organizational capabilities;
  • A good eye for design;
  • Attention to detail;
  • A basic knowledge of the industry within which they are working;
  • The ability to check information provided by others (and know when/what to check);
  • Familiarity with the use of various visual aids (illustrations, etc.), and not just text;
  • The ability to work with other experts (illustrators, etc.), and with all levels of personnel.

Duties and responsibilities

  • First and foremost, to the users of their communications, to provide accurate and adequate information that they require;
  • To the client (commissioning the communication), to deliver the required communications to the required quality, on-time, and within budget;
  • To providers of information (such as Subject Matter Experts) to safeguard the information, and return it in the same condition in which it was received.
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