Language and Engineering: An Important Connection

One of the most useful skills to develop as a mechanical engineer is the ability to communicate complex information using plain language. Within the discipline, technical jargon can be used in everyday conversation without issues. This leads to the mistaken assumption that such jargon can be used and interpreted by anyone. While it may come across as sounding intelligent to another engineer, documents that over complicate a topic are not likely to be understood, or even read, by others. Mechanical engineers rarely work in groups consisting of entirely fellow engineers, but are often part of multidisciplinary teams that need to communicate effectively in order to accomplish a goal. Likewise, mechanical engineers can work with sales representatives and the public when the project calls for it. In either case, plain language is crucial for conveying ideas to people who are unfamiliar with the topics at hand. Being able to communicate in a way that others can understand makes them more receptive to what you have to say, and gives the impression that you are an expert in the field. Anyone can recite complex, memorized terms and figures; it takes an expert to explain the same information using plain language. 

Taking a course on technical communication has had many benefits in both my major classes, and writing style as a whole. Many topics have stood out, but the most important topic that I have taken away from this class is contextualizing your audience and writing specifically for them. In any genre of TechComm, a reader-centered approach is the most important aspect in terms of comprehension. Hopefully, I can continue to build on the skills learned here to advance my future career in mechanical engineering. 

-Matthew Santullo

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