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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: TRAM055 Module Title: TECHNICAL WRITING
Module Provider: Language & Translation Studies Short Name: LIT584
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: ROGERS MA Prof (Lang & Trans)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Semester 2

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting towards Module Mark (%)
Writing criticism: analysis and critique of a piece of technical writing: circa 500-600 words
Writing: a piece of technical writing for a specified genre and audience
Class test (60 minutes)
Qualifying Condition(s): A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module.

Module Overview

This module provides students with a framework for creating documents for specific purposes, from planning to final proofing, raising awareness of intercultural, semiotic and translation issues in the context of written communication.



Module Aims

This module aims to complement students’ experience of writing for translation. More specifically, students will learn how to plan, write, revise and present ‘technical’ information in the form of documentation intended to meet the needs of identified audiences.

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students will:
  • be able to critically appraise and edit existing documentation in relation to its purpose and intended user group;
  • be able to research basic background material and to communicate with relevant experts;
  • be able to plan and produce technical documentation for particular purposes and user groups;
  • be able to make basic judgements about the translatability of technical documentation;
  • understand the principles of technical writing as the basis for transferral to other languages and cultures.
Module Content
  1. General considerations and key concepts: overview. What is technical writing? Audience. Document genres. Text types. Verbal and non-verbal signs. Clarity. Consistency.
  2. Phases of technical writing. Writing for Translation.
  3. Purpose, audience, product: Product profile/analysis. Audience profile. User testing. (Inter)cultural factors.
  4. Document genres and internal structures (forms).
  5. Openings, bodies and exits.
  6. Document genres and organising information.
  7. Content and content management.
  8. Document reviewing, revision, editing, proofing.
  9.  Graphics. Types of graphic (e.g. tables, graphs, illustrations, pictograms). Relation to verbal signs and document genres.
  10. Writing. Style Guides. Gender-neutral language. Controlled Language.
  11.  Presentation of project results.
  12. Review and class test.
Methods of Teaching/Learning

Lectures, exercises, analysis and class discussions. In addition to their formal assignments, students will be expected to do preparatory homework as part of their course participation. Research work may be required for the successful completion of formal assignments. A small formative project will be undertaken in groups in order to apply and explore the key concepts of the module.

Contact hours: 2 hours per week

Selected Texts/Journals
Aldred, G.J., Brusaw, C.T. & Oliu, W.E. (2003) Handbook of Technical Writing. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Beene, Lynn D & White, Peter (eds) (1988) Solving Problems in Technical Writing. Oxford University Press US
Byrne, J (2006) Technical Translation: Usability Strategies for Translating Technical Documentation Dordrecht: Springer
Markel, M. 7(2004) Technical Communication. Boston/New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
Pfeiffer, W.S. 5(2003) Technical Writing. A Practical Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ/Columbus/Ohio: Prentice Hall.
Pickett, N.A., Laster, A.A. & Staples, K.E. 8(2001) Technical English. Writing, Reading, and Speaking. New York etc.:Longman.
Price, J & Korman, H. (1993) How to communicate technical information. Redwood City, California: The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company.
Sides, Charles H (1999) How to write and present technical information. Cambridge: CUP 2nd edition.
Sprung, R. (ed.) (2000) Translating into Success. Amsterdam/Philadelphia (see Section 1: Cross-cultural adaptation) (co-editor Simone Jaroniec)
Suonuuti, H. (1997) Guide to terminology. Nordterm Publication No. 8.
Turk, C. 2(1989) Effective writing: improving scientific, technical and business communication. London: Spon.

Young, M. (1989) The technical writer’s handbook: writing with style and clarity. Mill Valley, CA: University Science.

Last Updated

20 December 2010