We were able to correspond with Mrs. Anne Martin, a Technical Writer in the Washington Metropolitan area.
1. Can you explain your job?
I write technical documents for electronic equipment. Some of it is operational manuals and some of it is test procedures.
2. Do you like your job? What do you like best? Least?
Yes. The thing I like best is that I get to learn a lot about new technology and new equipment. There is nothing I don't like about it.
3. Is there special training or education involved in your job?
I'm not certain what specific training is involved. I am an engineer by degree and have worked in the engineering field for many years. I also am very good at writing and editing, so coupled with my engineering degree this was a very natural fit.
4. How long does it take to complete one document?
It depends on the deadline, how big the document is and what the requirements are.
7. Do you use dictionaries, spell checkers or other tools to help you with your job?
I type most of my documents in Microsoft Word and it highlights words that are improperly spelled. However, most of the technical terms that I use in my work are not available in spell checkers or dictionaries. I have to do all of my proofreading and editing myself.
8. Do you think an English language background would be more helpful than an engineering background for this particular job?
No. I think you need both because it is very helpful to have a good command of the English language and have good writing skills, but to create a really good technical document you need to understand technical terminology.
11. Have you ever published a document that had errors?
I don't think so.
12. What would happen if you did?
The customer would send it back for a revision.
13. What do the companies that hire you do with the documents you produce?
Test procedures are used internal to the company or are for the customers of that company; and manuals are distributed in the same way.
14. Do you feel that it is important to have good writing skills in a technical field?
In any field that you go into it is very important to be able express yourself both verbally and in writing. Often times in technical, science, or math related fields people feel that solving equations or doing research is all they will have to do. But, what good is all of the math and science if you can't explain it to someone; especially in writing?