TecCOM - Profession of Technical Communication

Communication and culture


There are many dimensions of culture, and communication across cultures is complex. Intercultural communication is an important competence for technical writers, who often work in international environments and in multicultural teams, and who create products for diverse audiences.

Technical writers need to be able to understand attributes of culture and theories of intercultural communication so that they can apply that understanding to information product development for international audiences.

This topic covers definitions of culture, theories of intercultural communication (including Hall’s contexting theory and Hofstede’s theory of dimensions of culture), culture- and country-specific aspects of target groups, localisation theory, and information product development for international audiences

Theories of culture
  • Understand national/organisational/functional culture
  • Understand geographical dimensions of culture
  • Understand social dimensions of culture
Theories of intercultural communication
  • Understand and apply theories of culture, Hall's theory of contexting
  • Understand theories and trends of cultural globalisation and of cultural localisation vs. standardisation concepts for internationalisation and localisation

see also communication theory and models

Culture-specific and country-specific aspects of the target group
  • Understand cultural aspects of product technologiesUnderstand cultural aspects of using information products, communication technologies, and media
  • Take into account country-specific legal and normative requirements: e.g., product safety, product compliance, standards
  • Take into account country-specific technical requirements (e.g., materials, socket outlets, voltage)
  • Take into account cultural aspects of visual information processing and visual information presentation (e.g., with respect to colours, images, pictures, photographs, symbols, reading habits, and reading direction)
  • Take into account culture-specific features of audio (such as accents) and video (dress, gestures, locations)
  • Take into account special features in different target languages (e.g., country- or region-specific formats for character sets, numbers, dates, page sizes)Recognise multilingual requirements
  • Recognise the geopolitical and economic factors affecting interculturalityRecognise the need to work in international/intercultural contexts

see also information mining

see also information technology

see also visualisation

see also multilingual workflow

see also personal competencies

Intercultural aspects of technical communication
  • Understand the importance of creating culturally sensitive and culturally contextualized technologies
  • Understand the importance of internationalisation in technical communication
  • Understand the importance of localisation in technical communication/documentation
  • Understand the difference between localisation and translation
  • Identify the main differences in technical communication/documentation from different countries (e.g. conventions referring to language and style, photographs, movies, measurement units, legislation etc.)

see also multilingual workflow

Cultural adaptation and localisation for international markets
  • Develop culture- and/or country-specific versions of information products
  • Develop a multilingualism concept taking into account culture- and/or country-specific aspects
  • Ensure cultural neutrality
  • Select and adapt culturally appropriate images and symbols
  • Select and adapt culturally appropriate multimedia
  • Adopt country- or region-specific formats for character sets, numbers, dates, page sizes, …
  • Use an appropriate writing style fulfilling the respective linguistic and terminological requirements
  • Organise several languages in one information product
  • Fulfill the requirements for the translation of user interfaces for texts in electronic media

see also multilingual workflow 

see also requirements and standards 

Integrated marketing communication
  • Understand the principles of integrated marketing communication
  • Understand the relation between integrated marketing communication (IMC) and integrated technical communication (ITC)
  • Know about the principles of content marketing and the importance of consistent content as a business asset
  • Know the importance of creating content that resonates with target audiences and search engines
  • Know about different marketing messages, media, and channels
  • Know different marketing communication activities (e.g., brands, advertising in the real and virtual world, public relations)
  • Know about digital marketing strategies
  • Know about the basics of consumer psychology
  • Know about strategies for internal marketing and self-marketing


Professional communication
  • Define and exemplify specialised discourse
  • Understand the differences between professional and interprofessional communication (e.g. professional and non-professional audiences)

see also language skills

Genres and genre conventions in professional contexts
  • Understand the basic idea of genre
  • Analyse collections of text to find genre conventions
  • Apply knowledge of genre conventions in text production
  • Understand linguistic features of technical communication (e.g. word choices, sentence, paragraph and document structures, orthography)


see also content development