Next year will be a milestone year for Abelard Consulting: it will be our thirtieth year in business.
In May 1987, we began trading: under the name Words and Facts. At that time, we were very much a Macintosh software development company, but with a strong focus on documentation. As competition in the Macintosh domain built, we decided to concentrate on the particular strength that all our clients at the time commented on: excellent documentation.
The move to consulting
As our reputation as a quality-focused documentation company gathered strength, we were increasingly asked to provide project planning, scoping and management services. We had moved from being solely a provider of documentation to a consulting firm, tasked with designing, and then managing, documentation projects. At this point, it was clear that our trading name poorly portrayed what we were doing. Thus in 1994 we changed our name—to Abelard Consulting.
The move to recruiting
During the boom of the late 1990s, it became increasingly difficult to find technical writers for our own projects. A torrent of new recruitment agencies had flooded in, but it quickly became clear that few had any idea of what technical writers did. Thus we opened our own recruitment arm, specialising in technical writing. Our recruitment arm is still going strongly: we are one of only two specialist technical writer recruitment agencies in Australia.
Showing how it's done
With the dearth of training courses for technical writers, the quality of technical writing in Australia was bound to be somewhat mixed. Anyone could advertise their services as a technical writer and this often led to poor recruiting decisions by many companies. In response, Abelard Consulting converted its then 15-years experience in the technical writing field into a training course for would-be technical writers. This course is still delivered, and delivered Australia-wide.
In 2004, the course we developed was taken up by the University of Melbourne, where it is still taught each year. It was also made the basis of a new course—scientific writing—aimed specifically at doctoral students and recently qualified scientists.
Abelard Consulting's reputation has extended beyond the shores of its original home. Although the majority of our clients are Australian-based companies, an increasingly large portion of our workload now comes from overseas: from China, Taiwan, New Zealand and the USA.
We are also being increasingly asked by Australian importers of overseas commodities to rewrite the user documentation that accompanies the products they import. This is a welcome sign that importers recognise that purchasers of products have a right to know how the products they purchase work without trial-and-error experimentation. It shows, we hope, that the technical writing profession has a strong future.
courses on technical writing
courses on technical report writing
courses on scientific writing
technical writer recruitment services
review, editing and indexing services
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