Tag Archives: technical communication

“Technical communication is the transfer of information about a technical situation, product, service, or concept, by written, oral, or visual means, to audiences of varying levels of technical knowledge, so that each member of the audience clearly understands the message.”  –Ron Blicq, Administratively Write!  [1985]

. . .

Communicating in business and industry is not all about telephones, emails, secretarial assistants and transcription, and signing contracts. 

From some old class notes, perhaps still with some relevancy:

  • 28% of time on the job is spent in written communication
  • The writing process involves exploring a topic (20%); planning (10%); actual writing (30%); re-writing (35%); proofreading and editing (5%)
  • Business writers do not always have choices of topics–and write under pressure in 43% of the situations.

. . .

Presenting Technical Information

[Some]  Notes from Professor Reginald Kapp, Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC)

“Clear and precise technical communication is getting directly to the point, being specific and not generalizing, using qualifications and metaphors in writing, using a technical vocabulary.

“Thinking about the person addressed is ‘the first lesson in the art of conveying information effectively from mind to mind.’

“Functional English is the English that any writer uses who expresses meaning clearly and without ambiguity; who spares readers unnecessary effort; who selects every item and places every sentence and every word so that it will meet the function assigned to it.  Functional English presents facts and ideas simply and logically.

“Functional English is chiefly the language of science…nearly always concerned with the outer world; it rarely conveys information obtained by introspection.

“Plain statement alone serves the purpose of Functional English.  Words must not be made to carry either more or less meaning than they do in common usage.

“Language was not evolved by the human race in order to discuss what goes on in our minds.  It was designed as an instrument of the co-operative practical work of every day.

Yet, new information must bring with it associations with things the reader, listener, or viewer already knows, in the ‘storehouse of memories’: ‘things heard, seen, felt; tastes and smells; spoken and written words; trivial and momentous ones; things experienced in reality and things experienced in thought only.’  Thus, illustrative examples should be those familiar to the receiver, not those familiar only to the sender.

“Understanding requires the correlation of the new information with what is already known.  During correlation, work is done on the items that have been assembled for display in consciousness.

“The pleasure one gets from imaginative art is the pleasure of exercising one’s imagination, one’s insight, one’s understanding of human nature.  Imaginative writing calls for insight.  Scientists must not leave anything to the imagination.  They must set it all down in black and white, as Newton did.  Scientists must explain, where the poet implies.”  [1948]



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