Technical Authors are translators of a kind. They translate information about a technical product or service into a language and format that is acceptable to the target audience. Often there are multiple target audiences, such as technical users, non-technical users and potential customers. Therefore the Technical Author can be called on to write in styles ranging from highly technical to advertising copywriting.

The modern Technical Author needs to consider the media on which the information is to be presented. This involves another type of translation, i.e. the translation of text and graphics into a format that can be read by electronic user interfaces such as internet browsers, PDF viewers, WinHelp, mobile devices . . . etc. This means that the modern Technical Author often needs to have programming skills, and a willingness keep pace with technological developments. Indeed, many of us are qualified IT professionals with previous experience in programming and application development.

Other skills and qualifications the Technical Author might need include engineering, science, finance, foreign languages, graphic design and illustration.

It's often the case that the Technical Author of our times has to be a veritable polymath !