What is Technical Communication
Technical communication is the art of communicating complex information about technical services, products, systems, or processes to specific audiences. It includes various types of communication, as well as specialized information and instructional materials for technical and scientific items, including computer hardware and software, and manufacturing or research equipment.
The field of technical communication emphasizes detailed, cogent, and informative writing, and often requires expertise in analysis, research, and design, as well as knowledge of editorial and publication processes.
Research and health education, scientific and medical policies, environmental communication, and computer software, among others, all require technical communication. A technical communication’s primary goal is to assist users who require detailed information about completing tasks, using products, operating equipment, etc.
Evolution Of Technical Communication
Technical Communication has evolved in the West to ancient Greece and Rome as well as to Sumerian, and ancient Egypt. Evolution Of Technical Communication was first handed orally which contained descriptions of scientific and astronomical observations.
During the Renaissance period(1400-1600 AD), Chaucer, Copernicus, Chaucer, Leonardo da Vinci, and Newton wrote technical details and drawings on the use and operations of their various details and drawings on the use and operation of their various inventions. Traditionally technical writing began in professions such as engineering and construction.
Samuel Chandler Earle is known as father of Technical Communication as he wrote the book “The Theory and Practice of Technical Writing(1911)“.Technical Communication gained momentum in modern days since First World War (1914-1918) because the Western governments spent large amounts of money to write manuals and instructions on the use of weapons and defense products.
Following the war, large telecom and car manufacturers and other companies created technical communication departments within their organizations. The first computer-related technical manual appeared in 1949. It was written by Joseph D. Chapline.
A year later, he also wrote Technical Writing, a brief pamphlet. In 1953, as a sign of the field becoming more mature technical communicators in the US came together to form professional
Associations. Technical Communication gained further pace with the growth and expansions of industries, particularly electronics, and computers, as various legislations made it compulsory for organizations to produce certain technical documents as part of ensuring standards to meet public obligations.
Today the field has expanded and technical communication is used in an edge in hardware, software, and e-commerce. Experts have estimated that India has possibly the largest number of technical writers outside North America.
In, Nepal due to the steady growth of technology and companies, the proliferation of websites, the expansion of telecommunication companies, the gradual consolidation of the private sector and non-government Organizations(NGOs), and above all, the modernization of various professions have widened the scope for technical communication.
Since a country like Nepal is a semi-literate, multi-lingual country, the need to explain technical information, or to translate it into local dialects cannot be emphasized enough.
We cannot note that historically technical communication was not entirely non-existent in our culture. Examples of traces of technical communication practices can be gleaned from scriptures, oral traditions, and more recently social histories.
Ayurved, the medical treatise, from more than 5000 years ago,is full of instructional technical information on healing practices. Manusmriti, the Law of Manu, looks equally technical, and so do many other ancient scriptures.
During our golden age, Arniko, the master constructor must have written or at least sketched out some technical documents on building pagodas and chaityas. In villages across the countries,lekhandas,for many generations, helped crack legalese for the masses.
Jyotishis, the astrologers, assumed the role of custodians of obscure technical scrolls. Vaidhyas, the traditional healers have maintained a form of health prescription.
One example of non-technical literature that attempts some technical communication comes from a generation ago. Shikar Nath Subedi’s Shikharnath Bhasya, written in a narrative folk verse is popular among many rural households.
Scope of Technical Communication:
Documentation: Creating user manuals, technical guides, product documentation, and instruction manuals to help users understand and use products or services.
Reports: Preparing technical reports, research papers, and project documentation to communicate findings, analysis, and recommendations in a clear and organized manner.
Presentations: Developing and delivering presentations, often using visual aids like slides, to convey complex technical information to both technical and non-technical audiences.
Training Materials: Designing training modules, e-learning courses, and tutorials to educate employees, customers, or students about technical concepts and processes.
Proposals: Writing technical proposals and bids for projects, contracts, or grants, which often require clear explanations of technical solutions, budgets, and timelines.
Email and Correspondence: Engaging in email communication to exchange technical information, updates, and requests with colleagues, clients, or collaborators.
Graphical Communication: Creating technical drawings, diagrams, flowcharts, and schematics to visually represent complex ideas and concepts.
Data Visualization: Designing infographics, charts, and graphs to simplify and present complex data and statistics effectively.
Web Content: Developing technical content for websites, blogs, and online platforms to inform and engage online audiences.
Social Media: Utilizing social media platforms to share technical updates, news, and engage with the community.
Forms of Technical Communication:
Written Documentation: This includes user manuals, technical reports, research papers, and written instructions that provide detailed information.
Oral Communication: Presentations, speeches, and oral briefings are common forms of conveying technical information verbally.
Visual Communication: Visual aids like charts, diagrams, illustrations, photographs, and videos help simplify complex ideas.
Digital Media: Websites, blogs, podcasts, and online videos are used to communicate technical information to a global audience.
Interactive Media: E-learning modules, interactive simulations, and virtual training programs allow users to engage actively with technical content.
Email and Memos: Written electronic communication is prevalent in professional settings for sharing technical updates, inquiries, and collaboration.
Graphical Representation: Flowcharts, graphs, mind maps, and schematics are used to visually represent processes, data, and concepts.
Social Media Posts: Short, concise messages on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are employed to share quick updates and engage with peers and stakeholders.
Technical Illustrations: Detailed technical drawings and illustrations help explain complex machinery, structures, or systems.
Data Visualization: Charts, graphs, and infographics are used to represent data and statistical information effectively.
Effective technical communication ensures that information is accurately conveyed, reduces the risk of misunderstandings, and supports decision-making processes in various professional fields, including engineering, science, medicine, business, and technology.