This is an example letter from a new technical editor to a group of technical writers.
July 15, 2008
Technical Writing Journal
123 Fake Street
Boston, Massachusetts 01234
Dear Engineering Team:
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and pass on some of my philosophy regarding technical writing. As you probably already know, I’m the new Technical Editor here at Technical Writing Journal. I’m a graduate of Colorado Technical University, and I have recently completed a technical project development internship at Really Big Technical Writing Digest.
In terms of technical editing, there are four primary skills that are necessary for success. Three of these skills, research, organization, and revision, are closely related. The final skill, adapting to the audience, is arguably the most important.
Research, or the collection of information, is an important skill for any technical writing. Although this skill is often field specific, there are some general techniques that can be applied to any field. The key to success in this area is to take the general techniques and adapt them to the specifics necessary for the selected field.
Taking the research that’s been done and presenting it in a well thought-out and structured manner requires organizing skills. Although this process relates to visual elements such as graphics and formatting, it is also concerned with the structure of sentences and flow of paragraphs in the writing. It is, however, not focused on grammar and spelling.
Revising is the act of fine-tuning a document so that there is no grammar or spelling errors. Although spelling errors are easy to avoid thanks to spellcheckers, grammar still requires the skill of an editor. Without the skill of revision, it would be easy to make an embarrassing mistake.
Finally, adapting writing to a specific audience ensures that the writing will be well received. All too often, writing of a technical nature is written at a level that goes over the heads of the audience. It is important to always keep the audience in mind when considering word choice and the use of jargon.