Technical communications service firms play an important role in enabling communication between subject matter experts (SMEs), such as scientists and engineers, and the end users who implement an SME’s ideas. Technical communications service firms are engaged to produce various types of technical materials including technical data sheets, safety protocols, quality standards & guidelines, product and service manuals, material safety data sheets (MSDS), users manuals, training documents, product catalogs, GMP or GLP documents, production procedures or other manufacturing operations information, and Construction Specification Institute (CSI) sheets. Technical communications service firms may also review and edit engineering, scientific and technology books, articles, and journals. Technical information can be released in either print (manuals, case studies, books, articles, studies) and online (online help systems or web sites) formats.
Technical communications service firms hire technical writers to undertake the task of designing, writing, re-writing, and editing technical information. A technical writer may work in a variety of industries and technical fields including science, medicine, information technology, manufacturing, and service industries. Technical writers generally collaborate with one or more specialists to understand the subject matter, storyboard or outline the technical document, and then write the documentation in a way that communicates effectively with identified end user. In addition to excellent written and verbal communication skills, technical writers must possess the ability to understand a variety of technologies and scientific concepts, plan and conduct research, collaborate with diverse teams, and identify and write for specific audiences.
Technical communication service and technical writing are rapidly growing fields. As software, hardware, consumer electronics, medical, biopharmaceutical, manufacturing, and financial services industries expand the demand for technical communications service firms and technical writer is also growing. The Society for Technical Communication (www.stc.org) is one of the largest professional organizations for technical communicators. This site contains a variety of information and related links regarding technical writing and technical communications service firms. Other technical writing sites include IEEE Professional Communication Society (www.ieeepcs.org) and National Writers Union, BITE Division (www.nwu.org).