A piece of writing is only useful when it is easily understandable by the average reasonable person. This is the purpose of technical writing – to make written material about otherwise complex fields such as science and technology more accessible and easier to understand.
Technical writing is synonymous with effective written communication. Its purpose is to convey a particular piece of technical information to a particular audience. Technical writing is essentially written explanations of scientific and other specialized subjects related to the sciences. In its simplest definition, technical writing is the process of transforming and translating technical ideas into a written output that a target audience will understand.
A technical writer is therefore responsible for documenting a specialized field or technology. He or she must be able to effectively translate technical information into something accurate, readable, and accessible.
Technical writers work in diverse fields. They are everywhere- in the computer hardware and software industries, chemistry, robotics, consumer electronics, aerospace industry, and even biotechnology industry, to name a few. They are trained to identify the target audience for the project, and then effectively write according to their level of comprehension and familiarity with the subject at hand. Technical writers have to deal with varying audience types. They must be able to write a very simple how-to for a DVD player, for example, so that consumers can understand them. But they must also be able to write for a DVD technician who has advanced knowledge of the device about diagnosis, repair, or replacement of parts, for example.
Technical writers are called ‘technical authors’ in European countries like the United Kingdom. They are also referred to as ‘information designers’ in some industries.