Week 5 Reading

Technical communicators not only deliver meaning, but their work also takes an ethical standpoint. Their ethical principles are influenced by personal beliefs, the goals and values of organizations, their discipline’s standards, and sociocultural values. That is to say, technical communicators work takes into consideration not only their audience, but the overall context that includes interpersonal, institutional and sociocultural aspects. These aspects may overlap and conflict among themselves, therefore, technical communicators need to evaluate the situation and choose a course of action that would achieve their goal and be ethical as well.

Context is essential when performing any type of task. In writing, for instance, contextualizing the text by considering variables like who the audience is, and what goal the text intends to achieve, result in the production of a more effective text. Contextualization of technical communicators work also helps them perform their work more effectively. Evaluation of the usability and usefulness of a technical communication product, I would argue, is part of contextualization, or to be more specific, is achieved through contextualization. When the technical communicators evaluate the usefulness of their work, they consider who the work is produced for and what is its purpose, or what it should achieve. By considering these aspects, they are contextualizing their work.  This brings back the contribution of rhetorical theory to technical communication.

The work of technical communicators is audience-specific. That is, audience is the essential focus of technical communicators (i.e., who the audience is, what they need, and how to communicate their needs effectively). Besides contextualization of the technical communicators work to the meet the purpose and needs of the production in question, genre choice is also essential for the effectiveness of the work, and again, choosing the genre depends on consideration of who the audience is. A technical communicator has to have good understanding of genres and be able to choose a genre depending on the communication situation.

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