These documents are often written by different individuals, resulting in inconsistent formatting and varying levels of content and depth of technical speak. In addition, documents are occasionally written by personnel for whom English is not their first language. The production of any document can therefore be a very long drawn out affair with the document bouncing between author, team lead and manager several times in order to get the content, layout and format correct. Even following this stage, the document often still fails to meet company standards.
In order to maintain conformity with company procedures and guidance, a set of standards are required and all documentation produced should comply – in other words documents should always be the same level technically and look the same (apart from title, numbering and contents).
It falls to a Technical Editor/Author to maintain the standards laid out by the client, often switching between different technical disciplines. They take responsibility for liaising between management and engineers, simplifying heavy technical content to a level all can understand. Usually working within the Microsoft Office Suite, but able to work in whatever software suite the client directs, maintaining company templates and document registers and often working to very tight timescales resulting in accurate, clear and concise documentation. After approval it may fall under the Technical Editor/Authors remit to distribute the document or inform the staff that it is available for use. For example some companies utilise a technical reading matrix (an extensive list of all relevant documentation highlighted with individuals required level of knowledge), and it falls under the remit of the Technical Editor/Author to maintain this.
A job that can vary within industry and even departmental level within the same company, the Technical Editor/Author is an adaptable individual who by liaising with the relevant team is able to produce high quality documentation to suit the individual needs while maintaining the standards and identity of the company.