Imagine you’re driving into work one morning and an indicator light illuminates on your dashboard. Let’s assume you don’t know much about vehicle maintenance, so you naturally have concerns regarding the slew of mechanical failures possibly occurring under the hood of your car. You pull over to the side of the road and remove your owner’s manual from the glove box, and flip to dashboard indicator reference chart. You locate the illustration of this particular indicator and its meaning simply reads “tire.”

Unsure about the dangers of continuing your commute with your “tire” situation, you call for a tow to have it checked out at a local shop. After all is said and done, you’ve dished out a couple hundred bucks for the tow and service.

Now, if the author of your owner’s manual would have specified “low tire pressure, add air not to exceed 34 PSI,” a quick stop at the gas station for some free air would have gotten you back on the road without such unnecessary expense.

That’s exactly why the field of technical writing is so important in our highly technological world. In many cases, it translates the complex operations and functions of tools and equipment into a language comprehensible to the average reader.

But it isn’t just for heavy machinery and industrial equipment; technical writing is all around us, in any workplace and nearly any environment.

For example, an investor funding the research of new pharmaceutical tablet coating technology will need assurances that she will see a financial return. But, without an understanding of what progress looks like, she may not be able to accurately gauge the outcome of her investment. A technical writer can help, by translating technical information into meaningful insights.

With continually changing technology and processes, there will always be a need to help others understand new information. From press releases and product descriptions to manuals detailing the emergency landing procedures for a Boeing 727, technical writing is everywhere.

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