Investigate events and people to tell the public what’s going on.
If you’ve ever assembled a piece of do-it-yourself furniture, you know how important instructions can be. When they’re well written, assembling a desk is easy; when they’re poorly written, however, it might as well be brain surgery.
Technical Editors make sure those instructions — as well as other technical documents, including user guides, manuals, pamphlets, articles and reference books, for example — are clear, concise and accurate.
Like other Editors, your job as a Technical Editor is policing language: You copyedit documents to ensure correct spelling, for instance, as well as good grammar, accurate punctuation and proper formatting. You also develop content ideas, create style guides, assign work to Writers, manage publishing projects and write content.
The “technical” part of your job, however, is what makes you special. Whether you’re editing an article about a scientific breakthrough for a medical journal, writing a software tutorial for an online “Help” module, or creating a set of assembly instructions for consumers, you’re producing technical documents either for or by technical experts. Either way, you’ve got to understand not only the mechanics of language, but also the nooks and crannies of your subject matter so that you can clarify confusing sentences, correct factual errors, and accurately explain complicated concepts and processes.
Of course, your job as a Technical Editor isn’t just editing; it’s also liaising with Writers and subject-matter experts (i.e., Engineers, Scientists, researchers, etc.) to facilitate communication between them. In that way, you’re a lot like the documents you produce: You take technical information from one audience and translate it for another.