Technical Editing Fundamentals

Presented by Michelle Corbin and Linda Oestreich


This is a course in technical editing designed for beginning through advanced technical editing practitioners. It is a solid introduction for beginning technical editors and a great refresher for advanced technical editors. The course presents material on a different topic in each session and concludes with discussions and materials on a career in technical editing. It is interactive and includes exercises within the sessions and homework between sessions.

Prerequisites include a working knowledge of English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style. This course does not teach those skills, but it helps you learn how to apply your knowledge responsibly as an editor. In addition, you need the desire to improve your technical editing and learn about the many skills it requires.

Session Descriptions

Date TBD

Session 1: Definitions and Tools of the Trade

  • Definitions, audience, collaboration, skills, and environments
  • Contents of your toolbox, mechanics, metrics, and quality

Session 2: Types of Edits and Editing Techniques

  • Techniques for hardcopy and online editing
  • Levels and types of edits (from Buehler to Rude)
  • Copy-editing process
  • Comprehensive editing process

Date TBD

Session 3: Providing Effective Editing Comments

  • Types of comments
  • Tone and content of effective editing comments
  • Summarizing and prioritizing comments

Session 4

  • Different types of information
  • Editing user interfaces and embedded assistance
  • Technical editing as a career: yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Presenter Biography

Linda Oestreich is an STC Fellow and was the 2007–2008 President of STC. She joined STC in 1979 and is a member of the San Diego Chapter and the Technical Editing, International, and Management SIGs. Linda has presented at scores of international, chapter, and regional events. She is currently a contract business analyst for The Marlin Alliance, supporting the director of civilian workforce programs at the San Diego-based Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command. She also teaches the STC online course Technical Editing Fundamentals and two classes at the University of California, San Diego Extension: Basics of Technical Editing and Information Design for Technical Communicators.

Michelle Corbin is officially a senior software engineer at IBM, although she claims senior technical editor and information architect as her title. With over 20 years of experience as a technical communicator, she has an unwavering passion for technical editing, a penchant for information architecture, and a continued interest in online information design and development. She has a BA in English and an MS in technical communication, both from North Carolina State University. Michelle is the past co-manager and past managing newsletter editor of the Technical Editing SIG, frequent competitions judge at society and chapter competitions, and past president of the Carolina Chapter.