Blog

Soft Skills of a Technical Writer

What soft skills should technical writers have when they start their career? Linguistic and technical understanding is important in our profession. So are the soft skills - just like in any other job. more ...

RDF is not XML – RDF serialization and iiRDS metadata

The world of technical writing loves XML. Its document type definitions are the foundation of structured authoring. XML and the underlying schemas structure the content of our information products. The benefits are twofold. Content is consistently structured and easy to read. Authors have an easier time writing the content. The structure provides guidelines for authoring. more ...

How to become a technical writer – Confessions of a former translator

A former translator, I worked the first seven years of my professional life in the translation industry, in various positions. While I learned a lot from this experience, it also left me, as a writer, frustrated. Translators are chained to their source text and writing the words of others in another language, usually focusing on what their clients want. more ...

tekom impressions part 2: API documentation and the VUKA world

Daniela Herbold and Ulrike Parson write about better API documentation and solutions for innovative human resources management. more ...

Impressions from tcworld 2017

Part 1: Improvisation, fluff hunt, and videos for technical documentation. more ...

"Write the Docs" Impressions

On July 19 and 20, I joined the Berlin Unconference “Write the Docs”. I had not attended an event with open-space sessions and lighting talks before and did not know what to expect.

Turned out I was nearly the only one from Berlin. Also, few technical writers attended. Hardly anyone spoke German as most participants were from other European countries. All were in the software development business, among them many software engineers who specialize in writing software developer documentation. The discussions focussed on technical writing issues, but also on topics like “how to build a community”, “human testing of documentation”, or “smart documentation”. I found it exciting to see how differently tech writers and software engineers approach these topics. Sometimes software engineers try to reinvent the wheel because they are not familiar with the technical writing paradigms. But they make up for it: They are target-oriented and think outside the box.

Everyone was surprised when I told them about the largest European conference on technical documentation, the annual tekom conference.  During a lighting talk I spontaneously invited all of them to attend that conference and meet the technical writing community. In fact, I wish there was more exchange between tech writers and software engineers about developer documentation, API documentation, and documentation systems. Both sides could learn a great deal from each other.

I would love to attend a similar event again. But next time, I’ll take some tech writers along.

More information:

Add comment


  • facebook
  • linkedin
  • xing