How to succeed in technical writing? 3 tips from Nate Zhang

In the era of ever changing information technology, technical writing becomes an art of simplifying complex structures and systems into nice and concise manuals and documents that are completely understandable and helpful for the end users. The challenge for technical writers is to develop product information that creates the best user experience for the client’s solutions. Sigma Technology has many years of experience within R&D, which helped us to build up a large knowledge base that we want to share with others.

Nate Zhang has conducted dozens of technical writing training sessions both for enterprises and universities. In this article he will share his top 3 tips for those who want to succeed in technical writing:

1. Tip #1 Minimize texts in technical writing

As more new technologies are put into new products with lots of new functions, technical writers have to write more complicated content in the user manuals. The more we write, the more we have to manage. Before creating a user-oriented content consider two essential questions: “Do we really need all of that? Is there any way to minimize the contents to make the documents easier to read?”

2. Tip #2 Stories behind the rules

As technical writers, we have to learn and remember lots of writing rules. You might have confusion about why some common rules were created. If you search for them in specialized literature or surf the web you will find dozens, even hundreds of technical writing rules, but do we really need to follow them in actual writing?

For sure we should create correct and professional documentation, however, our know-how should be based on a few basic rules, which deal with document structure, grammar and proper language use. Summarizing the basics in one statement, a technical writer should use proper grammar, make sentences short and coherent, and arrange the text in a way that it is visually structured and easy to understand.

At our coming offline seminar in Shanghai, I will share several stories about the backgrounds of those rules, which will help to understand why technical writing is a part of the products, only if the contents are following basic writing rules.

3. Tip #3 Always learn something new

Training is an essential component of new knowledge acquisition and learning first-hand experience from the area experts. At Sigma Technology we provide technical writing training sessions, specifically tailored for our participants, so that they get the best knowledge for their business.

Sigma Technology Technical writing

Around 1.5 months ago, I got the invitation from Siemens Learning Campus to give the training on technical writing together with one Siemens trainer.

The training had two sessions, one in Suzhou and another in Shanghai during July and early August, and was attended by 23 persons in total. We received great emotions and very positive feedback from the participants. Overall results of the sessions were quite good.

In late August and early September we plan to conduct several offline sessions for Chinese technical writers in Beijing (August 30) and Shanghai (September 13). Follow the schedule of the seminars on our Chinese corporate profile on Weibo.


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