Technical Writing

Introduction
Technical writers are those who write technical and software manuals, handbooks, technical guides and provide online help; anyone who writes about technology for other people is typically referred to as a technical writer. Technical documents must be clear and concise. A technical writer is someone who explains the product to the end user. They put themselves in the end use’s position and write to explain to them.

There are four “musts” for a technical writer.  The writer must have facility with the technology and latest scientific systems. He must have the ability to write clearly. He must have the talent to show ideas graphically, he must have patience in troubleshooting and he must have the ability to interact with subject matter experts. Technical writers write about almost everything from informational brochures to scientific journals and web blogs. There’s a great future for technical writers.

Analyzing the Audience
Knowing about a person you are writing is of a vital importance. If you don’t understand your audience, you will not be able to communicate to them properly. You can have surveys and questionnaires and opinions to form a picture of your audience in your mind. You have to transfer what is in the heads of the creators of the product, into the heads of the people using the product. The marketing department usually has a clear idea of the intended buyers of the software. They should be able to describe them to you in some detail, including demographic information and what kinds of similar products they have used in the past. Getting this information is a good first step to understanding your audience.
Researching the subject
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) have information. Your job as a technical writer is to transfer that information to other people. First you’ll have to learn what they know. This is crucial to your success, so you have to know how to get along with these experts. So you need to befriend them in order to succeed well in this enterprise. You should interview these guys to find as much relevant information as possible. You should personally meet these people not email them. These people are highly intellectually enlightened about their fields of practice.
Structure of Information
If you are structuring information, you can describe the product or explain it in terms of instructions – each technique is selected according to the nature of product. Thus information without a clear structure means nothing to the reader. So finally information that is acquired after much struggle must be structured well.
Writing clearly
The purpose of a technical writing is not to impress but to inform and the more clearly and concisely you write, the more effective and digestible information will be. In order to do that you must use your audience’s vocabulary so that you meet words which they already know. The length of sentence is very important. The sentences for informational writing should be short and the average sentence length is usually between 15 to 20 words. Don’t write fillers in writing because the reader is reading it to fulfill a particular task, you writing should be direct and clear. There should be no redundancy or verbosity. You should always use a present indefinite tense as a general rule. For example, “Click any file and your file opens”.   
  1. Click to open the program
  2. Click a file to open it.
  3. Select Rename from the Edit menu.
  4. Enter the name and click Close.
  5. Type a new file name.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Click to exit.
Write as simply as possible and avoid jargons.
Collaboration
Always be cooperative, this is not the time to show your ego of excessive knowledge of English but to meet a particular demand.  You write to help people do their job—You are a conduit not a fountain, you take information from the SMEs, provide it to the audience and then let it go. Nothing you write is “precious”. If it’s not useful to the audience, delete it.
Conclusion
Technical writing is a highly-paid profession which you can get after a learning some specific skills and knowledge.

Learning English Vocabulary

Vocabulary is very important in Language Learning. If you don’t know the vocabulary of a language, you can neither speak it nor write it. So knowing vocabulary is knowing almost 70 percent of language. But what is the best way to learn and teach vocabulary? The best way to teach vocabulary is to use a theme-based approach. What is a theme-based approach. Theme-based approach deals with vocabulary in themes rather than in isolation. We create vocabulary associations and networks. We develop basic themes and start putting words in them until we get a large bank of vocabulary. The basic example of a theme-based approach is given below. You can use it and make your own dictionary likewise.


Mindmaps for Creative Writing

Creative writing is the art of writing creatively. This is best done using a number of techniques. Mind mapping is one of the best techniques on creative writing. In this technique, you visualize the topic in you mind and start making a map of it and gradually, the topic comes alive in your brain. You can then write about it or simply revise it to improve it further. I have prepared a mind map for creative writers on the topic “Information Technology”. You can prepare mind maps on other topics.


Sample Letter for Payraise for Teachers

The Vice-Principal
Lahore College of Arts and Sciences
Johar Town, Lahore


                                                                                                                Date: 10 September, 2008

Dear Mr. Khalid:

As you know, I have been working in Pre-O’ Levels at LACAS; while a senior position was lay vacant and you were so kind as to replace me with the former teacher. This has entailed a little extra work and especially more responsibility which naturally follows with a senior class in terms of planning and discipline.


Needless to say, I enjoy my work and the new responsibility it involves. I think I am doing a good job and I get the satisfaction that comes from this knowledge. In fact, I myself requested you for the post. As I am undertaking the former teacher’s duties; I am supposed to enjoy the rights.

However, I feel that in view of the added responsibility and work; an adjustment in my pay is indicated in this anomalous situation.

Would you be so kind as to investigate and see if you don’t agree with me?

Thanks.

Respectfully yours

                                                            
Muhammad Naeem

Essay on the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)

A prophet means a messenger of God to mankind. The mission of a prophet’s life is to spread the Word of God. The total number of such prophets is one lac and twenty four thousand. The Prophet of Islam (Peace be upon him) was the last messenger of God to the whole world.

The Holy Prophet was born in Arabia‘ in 571 A. D. He was named  Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The Arabs were a race  of wild tribes. They led a cruel life. They burried their newly-born  daughters alive. They ill-treated women, orphans and slaves. They worshipped Idols.  They were addicted to wine, adultery gambling, and bloody quarrels.
The Holy Prophet was sent by God to set these bad people right. He hated their cruel ways. He worked hard to reform them. He changed their habits and manners by his own shinning example.  He taught them to speak the truth, to showed, mercy to the poor and the sufferers to respect women and to be kind to children.
At the age of forty, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had revelations. By dint of this high character, nobility of mind, his truthfulness and broad humanity he gained some disciples. He began his great missionary work and started preaching the gospel of God. His followers grew from day to day. The Holy Prophet was called Sadiq (Truthful) and Ameen (Trustee) even by his enemies because of his honesty and straight-forwardness.
The Prophet married a widow Khadija by name who embraced Islam and stood by the Holy Prophet throughout her life.
The old idol-worshippers tried their best to harm and tease him. They wanted even to kill him. The Prophet fled to Madina in the company of Hazrat Abu Bakar, This day of exodus marks the dawn of the Islamic Hijra (Exodus).
Madina became the centre of the Islamic activity of the Prophet. He gained many followers there. He mobilised them into a small army. He challenged several hundred of thousands of his enemies with the help of that small band and inflicted defeat after defeat upon them. At Iast the Holy Prophet entered Makkah as a victor. He showed grace and mercy to all the Makkans and proclaimed  general amnesty. Thus he set a shining example of humanity and high mindedness before the world.
The Prophet taught his followers a simple code of life. He wanted them to live peacefuly, serve others, speak the truth and help the needy. His life is a living source of inspirations to the world.
Lives of great men all remind us.
We can make our lives subime.
And departing leave behind us.
Footprints on the sands of time.
No life – history of any man has such an inspiring record of the day-to-day events as the simple but stirring story of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

The Art of Essay Writing

An Essay is a composition which has two main qualities. It gives the facts about the given topic and also the writer’s opinion about those facts. A composition is only a simple arrangement of facts. An essay gives expression to the writer’s mind as well as facts. Thus an essay is something personal. It bears the stamp or seal of the writer’s personality. An essay is a piece of art. The artist’s personality Shines through his writing.
An essay has three parts on the whole list is;
a.                  The beginning
b.                  The middle
c.                  The Ending

The beginning gives an .introduction of the subject in one or ,two paragraphs. The middle is the main body of the essay which deals with the main points of the topic. The ending gives the conclusion and the final judgment of the writer.

The Tricks of Writing an Essay

(a) The Beginning:
An essay must have a strong and direct appeal. For this purpose, a beginning must have a certain approach
For example:
(i)        Begin your essay with a quotation on the subject and explain the quotation.
(ii)      Begin your essay with a general statement and show the lines on which you are going to write.
(iii)      Begin your essay with an apt joke or an anecdote on the topic. This will give your essay a happy tone and colour.
(iv)     If the subject is so “vague that one cannot understand it, you must first give your own understanding or definition of the essay and then go on with it.
(b) The Middle:
The main body of the essay consists of a number of paragraphs. There must be a sense of continuity in the paragraphs. The essay is one big whole. So every paragraph as its part must follow the spirit of unity. The ideas of the paragraphs should not be disjointed. Every new paragraph must show some relationship with the last paragraph.
(c) The Ending:
The essay must be finished properly. The final idea or ideas must be clear. There must be a sense of finish about the essay and the ending must be impressive like the beginning.
TYPES OF ESSAYS
There are different types of essays. Each type must be treated properly
1. Descriptive Essay:
It describes a place or scene or some such other thing of interest. The writer also gives his personal opinion on the facts in the essay.
2. Narrative Essay
It deals with a story, incident, event or anecdote in this case, the, writer always uses the past tense because the event or incident belongs only to the past.
3. Reflective Essay
It deals with some problem. The writer has to express his own views on the subject.
4. Expository Essay
It is also like a reflective essay. But here the writer has only to explain some theory or fact objectively  without his personal likes or dislikes.

SOME GOLDEN RULES

1.                  The language of the essay must be simple and easy to understand.
2.                  Do not use difficult or bombastic words
3.                  Do not repeat  a fact or facts again and again. Do not use the same words time  
                      and again
4.                  Write clearly. Do not try to be vague
5.                  An essay is one big whole. So do not give headings to its paragraphs.
6.                  Write short and simple sentences only. A good writer is also idiomatic in his 
                      expression.