Short analytical report based on finding a technical document
The successful organization is the one that communicates well both internally and with other companies and clients. In fact, information flow is crucial to any organization and the better the flow the more successful it is.
At work a great of information is convoyed in technical documents, some of the tasks tackled by their writer are; proposals, reports, instruction. Technical writing communicates highly specific information. Most of it is prepared by professionals, such as engineers, scientists and other technicians. Even though it presents technical, a technical document should be easy to understand.
The purpose of this report is to explain, discusses and analysis in variable majority aspect of technical document to help the readers in better understand of technical document writing. By using the Pioneer’s car stereo head unit operation manual as a practical example of technical document which will support with theory basis and journal articles.
The scope of this report includes:
( Analysis and assess its attention to audience.
( Analysis and evaluate of the organization strategies.
( Analysis and evaluate of graphic
( Analysis and evaluate of word choice.
( Analysis and evaluate of sentence style.
( Emphasize the importance correct, objective language
According to Dwyer, (2003) technical writers must identify the intended audience first and then organize and shape the content of the document so that their audience grasps the main points easily.
As this report used the Pioneer’s car stereo head unit operation manual as a practical example. It can be conclude that the main audiences of this document are people with non-technical background. This because the operation manual were give to the general end user of the product, therefore it is more reasonable for the writers to assume that the readers do not have technical background or knowledge. Moreover, it can be seen that the document avoids using technical word and always have explanation in some circumstances that can not be avoided, these also support by Kennedy (2004 pg. 22), his article state that “Technical terms and words function as helpful shorthand when addressing documentation to readers within a profession, but they may confuse readers who do not have that special background.” In addition, the first section named ‘Before you start’ gives the reader explanations of some specific term used in the document as well as the second section ‘What’s What’ which also help the general reader familial with the hardware component of the head unit, as these are very good idea of the writers.
Hence, from the discussions above it can be seen that the writers of this document are not only focus on non-technical audience. They also gave knowledge to help in prepare the reader for better understand the product.
As state in Karin article, for technical writer spend much time providing instructions by a series of ordered steps and providing background information that builds on prior material and tasks already completed. These are necessary because if the writers fail to discuss a basic topic before moving on to a related advanced topic they most likely will get confused (Karin, N.D.).
According to the operational manual, we can see that the writer organize the document very well. First, the content section at the beginning of the manual, which help the reader jump to their point of interest quickly. Second, the consistent in using numbers, punctuation, grammar, symbols and technical terms, which help to creates a comfortable zone for the reader and avoids confusion. Third, the writers of the document break down the document into short sections and paragraphs to make it easier to read and the used of headings and subheadings also help the readers understand the importance of each section. (see appendix …).
In conclusion, Technical writers tend to pay more attention to organization and the order material gets presented than most other writers, Since much of the time they’re either providing instructions, by their very nature a series of ordered steps, or providing background information that builds on prior material and tasks already completed organization is extremely important.
“Graphic serve as a universal language” said by Brucker (2002). There are many advantages of using graphic in technical document. Graphic communication represents ideas, relationship or connections visually with shapes, diagram and line. For example, some of the ‘No Smoking’ signs display in public place. (Dwyer, 2003).
In this report, the model of the Pioneer’s operation manual was 8850MP model, which is the top range car stereo head unit of Pioneer. The price in retail store is around AUD 800 and the unit contains many high technology features, such as ipod compatibility and Bluetooth. Surprisingly, the operation manual looks like a cheap heater or a fan operation manual. It used black and white color which shows bad quality pictures, and the pictures are also very small to see. Moreover, it seem like the writers want to used less pictures as possible to describes the operational function, which is definitely too little to understand. (See appendix D).
On the other hand, compare with O2 mobile phone operational manual (see appendix E) which also has high technology features and selling at the same price. It can see much difference between them. The O2 manual used color pictures, it also have graph and table which make it look interesting to read and these can add value to the product.
Hence, the graphic displays in Pioneer’s operation manual are very inconvenient to understand and do not convincing the customers to read. Moreover, when compare with other electronic product with in a similar price. It can be see that Pioneer’s operation manual doesn’t add any value the product
5.0 Word choice
After investigate the entire document, we can conclude that the writer of this paper done well when they choosing the word. There is no jargon word, the grammatical and punctuation techniques are clear.
In addition, the writer using simpler rather than more complicate word in other word using plain English style. This is good for the readers, because the readers difference in their education background, culture, and English language ability. As state in Leaper, (2005), “while English is the first language of about 400 million people (he calls them Els), there are more than a billion who speak it as a second language (E2s).” which mean the communication between Els and E2s simply increases those risks, and the writers job is how to minimize the difficulties in communicating with these people.
Moreover, it can be see that the writer always repeat and highlight some of the words, for example Multi-Controller, Function. The precise and consistent repetition of the key word helps to link sentences and paragraph throughout the document.
6.0 Sentence style
According to Kennedy (2004) a good sentence in technical document should “Try to get to the point and communicate the information in as few words as possible”, this all about removing any possible ambiguities so the reader understands precisely what to do.
It can be see from the Pioneer’s operational manual that the sentence in the document are well construct, and go direct to the point with out any misunderstood.
(see appendix F).
Moreover, the document also used topic sentence in their writing. It announces the main point of each paragraph to the readers? So they can prepare in advance before start reading each paragraph, and give the readers a place to stop and think.
Lastly, the writers use the active voice rather than the passive voice. The active voice is always more useful in technical writing than passive voice, because passive voice often leave out importance information Dwyer, (2003)
According to The Learning Centre, (N.D.) language itself is important to enable readers to understand and believe the written text. Language affects a reader’s ability to comprehend and assimilate what a writer is presenting, because people judge things by their appearances.
It can be see that the writers of this manual, using appropriate language. For example, there is no discriminatory language in the document, this support by Tyme, (2007) his article claim that the wiriters of technical document should avoid statements that suggest bias or prejudice towards any people. and should also avoid making unsupported statements about a person’s age, economic class, national origin, political, race or sex. For example, referring to all persons in an industry as ‘he’ can be inaccurate and misleading. It is best to name the profession using a non-sexist term (e.g.; police officer). In addition, the language used in the document is correct and objective.
As you can see, technical writing is a complex process that involves a lot more than simply sitting down and putting pen to paper. Technical writers tend to pay more attention to organization and the order material gets presented than most other writers.
The finding of practical example in this report shows that the audience of the document is mainly people with non technical background. And the document organization has build around this group of people in order to help them understand the document easily. Some of the tools used by the writer are; the content section, break the document into short sections and paragraphs and the consistent in using numbers, punctuation, grammar, symbols and technical terms.
Moreover, after investigate the entire document, we can conclude that the writer of this paper done well when they choosing the word. There is no jargon word, the grammatical and punctuation techniques term are clear, using simpler rather than more complicate word in other word using plain English style. Future more, It can be see from the Pioneer’s operational manual that the sentence in the document are well construct, and go direct to the point with out any misunderstood. , the writers use the active voice rather than the passive voice. Lastly, the language used in the document is correct and easy to understand and no discriminatory language found.
On the other hand, the graphic display in the document is disappointing. The pictures are small which is hard to read, too little picture, no table for help explain in some cases as it should. And overall graphic design is below the expectation.
As I mention above, the main improvement of the pioneer’s operation manual should be on graphic. The writer should use graphic to reinforce the text and make technical communication clearer. It can improve visually appealing and graphics are indispensable to showing some types of relationships. Graphic can include drawings, photographs, maps, graphs, pie charts, bar charts, tables, and schematic diagrams.
Moreover, the writer should add the index section to the document, these because event the manual has a table of content but index is also importance. Most reader are going to either turn directly to the table of contents or turn directly to the index and start looking for the material they think they need. The writer need to make sure that information can be found from either method even if the reader doesn’t yet know precise terminology or an exact word to look up.
Lastly, the Notes indicate in the document are useful to attract attention. As the writer used many of these words in the document which will defeat their original purpose, so the writer should choose this word where it is importance notes only.
Brucker, C. 2002, Graphics in Technical Writing Part One, viewed 6 August 2007,
Dwyer, J. 2003, The business communication handbook, 6 edn, Pearson Education, Malaysia.
Karin, J. N.D., Software Documentation, viewed 6 August 2007, http://www.suite101.com/lesson.cfm/17509/752/3
Kennedy M.P. 2004, Technical Writing Tips, Tech Directions. Ann Arbor: Nov 2004. Vol. 64, Iss. 4; pg. 22, 2 pgs (online ProQuest)
Leaper, N. 2005, Lessons on cross-cultural communication, Communication World. San Francisco: Jul/Aug 2005. Vol. 22, Iss. 4; pg. 14, 1 pgs (online ProQuest)
The Learning Centre, N.D. Technical Writing: Features & Conventions, viewed 6 August 2007, http://www.lc.unsw.edu.au/onlib/tech2.html
Tyme, T. 2007, Technical Writing, viewed 6, http://www.tesseraltyme.com/technical_writing.asp