Technical Editing Foundations

INSTRUCTORS:

Li-At Rathbun
Presenter

Categories

Online Courses

Technical Editing Foundations

Behind every great technical writer is a great technical editor. Or at least there would be in an ideal world. And, even more importantly, there’d be a technical editor behind every non-writer who produces documentation.

We are tech support for the writers—whoever they may be. And we are the users’ final advocates before they encounter the documentation.

But how do we decide what support to give? What do we base our decisions on? How do we convey it to the writers, and how do we convey it in a way that doesn’t make them cringe?

SESSION 1: WHAT IS A TECHNICAL EDITOR?

In this introductory session, we’ll:

  • Discuss the benefits of having a technical editor.
  • Explore the role of technical editors in today’s market.
  • Identify the “hard skills” that companies expect technical editors to possess.

SESSION 2: WORKING WELL WITH OTHERS

Because technical editors don’t work in a bubble, their skills must go beyond their technical competencies.

In this session, we’ll examine the “soft skills” that help technical editors interact effectively with their colleagues.

SESSION 3: RECOGNIZING PASSIVE VOICE AND EXCESS WORDING

Why use 500 words when fewer will do? Because our teachers said so.

Many of us grew up with writing assignments that demanded specific word counts. To make matters worse, we were also trained to use passive voice.

But passive voice and excess wording often hinder comprehension. And because we encounter writers who still write this way—even when the style guide recommends otherwise—we must learn to recognize it.

In this session, we’ll learn to:

  • Identify passive voice and convert it to active voice.
  • Recognize bloated sentences and eliminate the fat.

SESSION 4: STYLE GUIDES AND OTHER RESOURCES

Technical editors follow industry-wide and company-specific conventions.

In this session, we’ll:

  • Identify some standard style guides.
  • Discuss departmental style guides.
  • Identify other resources.

SESSION 5: MARKUP AND MARKUP ENVIRONMENTS

In this session, we’ll:

  • Learn about proofreader marks.
  • Explore Track Changes in Microsoft Word.
  • Explore PDF markup in Adobe Acrobat.
  • Identify some popular editing software.
  • Discuss collaborative writing environments.

SESSION 6: LEVELS OF EDITING

Various project stages, deadlines, and writers’ experience levels require different attention from the technical editor.

In this session, we’ll:

  • Examine conventional levels of editing.
  • Introduce a simple tool that can help identify the scope of work in an editing cycle.