Blog #10: Technical Communication Defined By Karina


The purpose of this blog post is to introduce a new definition of technical communication to my classmates so that you all know what I have learned and hopefully can relate to my observations. I will discuss my definition and explain how I created it as well as whom counts as a technical communicator based on my definition.

My Definition

I chose my definition of technical communication by reassessing the collaboration of our readings and other outside sources and how their authors defined it. Below, I have listed the definitions from multiple authors that were particularly interesting to me.

  1. “Technical communication is no longer simply communication about technology; it is also often communication as and in technology […] In other words, technical communication has become both a process and a product” –Solving Problems in Technical Communications by Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart A. Selber.
  2. “Communicating about technical or specialized topics […] by using technology and providing instructions about how to do something” – Society for Technical Communication.
  3. “A means to document or convey scientific, engineering, or other technical information” –Wikipedia (Let’s be real, Wikipedia’s definitions are usually spot-on).

I notice that many sources define technical communication by its characteristics instead of one sentence. I also noticed that the main thing these definitions have in common is logical order. But with these definitions, I have settled on my own meaning of technical communication: a means of explaining procedures that produces another procedure and/or product successfully using multimodal tools. I created this definition also because of my own experiences through the course of our class. For example, the process for which I created the annual report template for Our House and explaining the procedure to recreate are forms of technical communication.

My Definition and Tech Comm

However, my definition does not only satisfy my firsthand experiences, but it also relates to the general field of technical communication in that it does not focus on a specific topic or kind of technology but also includes process, product, and technology simultaneously. For instance, throughout the weeks in class, we have been introduced to development/training module presentations that covered a good portion of technical communication: Griffith’s Procedural Narrative, aka “A How-To on How-To’s,” module presentation is one that directly relates to my definition that technical communications is a means of explaining procedures that produces another procedure and/or product successfully using multimodal tools.

My Definition and English

My definition also applies to my major and focus: English and rhetoric and composition. One of the reasons that I chose to take this class is the importance of being able to enhance my critical thinking and applying it to real situations (our service learning project). I think logically and less abstractly, so technical communications sounded like a course that could help me gain new skills and apply them to other courses as well.

Who Counts As a Technical Communicator?

By my definition, teachers, medical doctors, scientists, chefs, and pretty much anyone who deals with more logical work are considered technical communicators because each of them instruct others with or without technical knowledge. Even after this course, I would consider all of us technical communicators because we will apply the logical written skills and knowledge that we gained at some point in our job application processes.

Sources Cited

Johnson-Eilola, Johndan and Stuart A. Selber. Solving Problems in Technical Communication. The University of Chicago, 2013. Print.

Society for Technical Communication:


3 thoughts on “Blog #10: Technical Communication Defined By Karina”

  1. This was actually a pretty good blog post.
    Your definition of technical communication,”a means of explaining procedures that produces another procedure and/or product successfully using multimodal tools,” is pretty good. But you don’t really explain what it is. In other words, its a confusing definition. Here is what I think you mean: Technical communication is a tool used to explain procedures which lead into other procedures, all the while achieving success using multi modal tools. I don’t know I understand the first part but I’m not sure what you mean by “successfully using multi modal tools”. I don’t know explain it better or something.

    Also, you didn’t give me any reason as to why I should use this definition as opposed to the other definitions you provided. I mean I understand that its based on your experiences but that’s not good justification for why someone else should adopt this view. It might work for you based on your experiences, but that doesn’t mean its going to work for me. (#knowledge) I think the best definition I’ve heard so far is Technical communication is a type of communication that makes tacit things explicit. Also, definitions and characteristics sometimes are the same thing, and most of the time one sentence definitions don’t give what they are defining much justice. Especially, if the definition is pertaining to something as broad as technical communication. Its like putting a one sentence definition on English. English – the study of the English language. I mean I don’t know if that’s the actual definition, this is just a hypothetical situation. Getting off point… but obvious English means a lot more to me or to you then just the study of the English language. English to you would be your major of study and a bunch of other things like the particular forms of writing and the eras of different styles of literature through out time: medieval, renaissance, transcendentalism, etc. As well as, the different locations of literature: US, Europe, Asia etc. You know English means a lot more to most people then just the study of the English language. Similarly, technical communication probably means more to certain people then just “a means of explaining procedures that produces another procedure and/or product successfully using multimodal tools.” Not me though, I could care less.

  2. Karina, I think you did another excellent job with this post. It’s a tasteful combination of your personal experiences with the field, clearly extensive research, and practical observations of others. You go beyond simply providing your own definition of technical communication; you give a frame of reference for why you defined it the way you did. As English majors, we are constantly told to establish ethos, pathos, and logos, and this post expertly does that, while still balancing the three and not relying too heavily on one in particular.

    I think you give more than enough reason to use your definition over the other ones you provided. You clearly identify not only the successful aspects of each definition, but the reoccurring aspects, and from there, determine what is necessary and what isn’t. Your definition, and your post as a whole, is articulate, insightful, and informative–while still maintaining accessibility to a general audience and adhering to your personal opinions and sentiments.

  3. Your blog post was very informational and easy to follow. I especially liked how you explained what technical communication was in a defined definition by the books and your explanation of it. I definitely liked your explanation of what technical communication was. When I took this class, I had no idea what it was about. I had a common idea on what it was and I am sure everyone had the same idea. That technical communication was something that was written out like it medical books or how to do this kind of book. I had no idea that it had multimodel ideas put into it. Moreover, I really liked your post than the others because its clear and concise.

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