Tom Marshall

Technical Writer
Summary

Accurate and versatile writer with proven ability to produce high-quality content to deadlines.

Project Management

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Experienced and reliable, capable of managing the complete documentation process across concurrent projects: providing a clear definition of scope and an accurate work estimation based on client requirements, researching information sources and interviewing SMEs, designing templates and layouts, creating and combining text and image content, conducting reviews of documentation and seeking feedback for improvements, supervising translations and document delivery, providing progress reports to management.

Work Ethic

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Takes responsibility for assigned and assumed tasks, fulfils obligations, and delivers on time, aiming to surpass expectations whenever possible. Always ready to apply a flexible approach to challenges and is adaptable to any situation. Has a track record of working effectively and seamlessly with multiple teams and service providers across different global locations. Maintains professional relationships with clients through regular contact and reporting, using telephone, email, messaging and onsite visits.

Self-Starter

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Can assimilate technical specifications rapidly and interpret complex information for different audiences, such as end users or service engineers. Builds good working relationships with experts and maintains regular and timely contact with project managers and developers. Conscious of maintaining and updating skill sets, very quick to learn new tools when needed (self-taught in structured writing and the DITA specification).

Working Environment

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Can work efficiently between teams, balancing the demands of project stakeholders while maintaining regulatory requirements and corporate style guidelines. Has extensive experience of working independently and unsupervised as the sole writer for a project, as well as collaborating with a team of writers and mentoring new writers. Draws on experience of a variety of technical and non-technical disciplines and industries, and approaches projects with a well-rounded and positive outlook.

Authoring Tools and Skills

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Technically proficient in a range of content creation software packages and methodologies. Expert FrameMaker user with 12 years’ experience of creating user guides: configuring templates with master pages for complex layouts and reference pages for special formatting, designing character and paragraph catalogues, building TOCs and indexes, controlling common strings with variables and managing product variations with conditional text. 5 years’ experience of creating XML content in XMetaL and Arbortext Editor using the DITA specification and a content management system based on Documentum. 1 year’s experience of using Schema ST4, single-sourcing PDF and CHM output. In-depth working knowledge of tagging and topic-based writing.

Image Editing Tools and Skills

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Advanced Photoshop user, can process raw images for professional presentation: straightening, cropping, making complex selections, masking and layers, levels and curves adjustments, sharpening, white balance and colour correction and image resizing for correct output resolution. Competent Illustrator and Inkscape user with working knowledge of creating vector illustrations and complex callouts.

Other Production Tools

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InDesign, Quark XPress, Acrobat, Word, Excel, Visio, ConnectedText, Notepad++, WordPress, FrontPage, CoffeeCup HTML Editor, GIMP, Snagit.

Writing Skills

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Clear writing style. Accurate editing and proofreading. Can write in UK English or US English. Can write in global English for improved translation efficiency and comprehension for non-native English speakers. Writing references that I keep on my desk: The Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Authors and Publishers, The Chicago Manual of Style and Microsoft Manual of Style.

Documentation Experience

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Medical imaging systems user manuals for clinical users (hardware and software). Online service documentation for field service engineers. Marketing brochures and leaflets for commercial enterprises. Hardware and software validation documentation for computer engineers.

Technologies

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Microsoft operating systems and applications, computer hardware systems, medical imaging systems (DICOM), networking (TCP/IP, LAN, WAN).

Employment

2002 to present – Technical Writer (Freelance)

Major clients:

  • Philips Healthcare B.V., The Netherlands
  • Arvato Services (Bertelsmann AG), Germany
  • 11 years’ experience of writing user manuals for Philips Healthcare, maintaining an effective relationship with Philips managers, marketers and engineers while working remotely, and collaborating with Philips offices and service providers in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, India and Japan.
  • Responsible for the creation and maintenance of user manuals for 14 medical imaging software packages and 6 X-ray systems, requiring knowledge and application of HIPAA and the IEC 60601-1 standard for documentation. Regular liaison with external service providers to translate each manual into 20 languages.
  • Track record of high-quality work delivered on time has prompted consistently good feedback from Philips product managers, encouraging other departments to outsource their documentation, asking for me by name. I am contacted regularly by engineers and developers at Philips to arbitrate questions of grammar and usage for UI strings and labels. I was also invited to review usability for a recent platform redevelopment.
  • Worked closely with developers to transfer content creation processes from FrameMaker to DITA XML, realizing a significant cost saving on layout of translated text for Philips.
  • Developed, and now manage, a wiki at Arvato documenting internal procedures and training resources for other technical writers, optimizing work flows, reducing documentation errors and getting new writers up to speed more quickly, ultimately providing a more efficient service to the client.
  • I have established a good working relationship with Arvato, and lived and worked in Germany for three years.

2001-2002 – Technical Writer

Capita Education Services, UK

  • Produced administrator manuals and user manuals in FrameMaker for an educational software package, including comprehensive help files using WinHelp and RoboHelp.
  • Performed regular reviews and revisions of documentation, interviewing SMEs and selected customer sites.
  • Delivered all documentation on time for each software release.

1999-2001 – Team Leader / Technical Writer

Eli Lilly and Company, UK

  • Led a project team of system engineers designing and implementing Windows server solutions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa within a GMP pharmaceutical environment. Provided third-line support, centrally monitoring over 200 servers at 40 affiliate sites using remote management infrastructure.
  • Designed, tested and published a suite of ten quality protocol documents using the V-Model to record, test and validate the implementation of each server solution.
  • Competently passed an internal audit using the quality protocol.

1996-1999 – Systems Engineer

Schlumberger GeoQuest, UK

  • Managed the transfer of the desktop computer infrastructure from Apple Macintosh to Microsoft Windows.
  • Designed, installed and supported a departmental Windows NT network, providing collaborative file and print services to the department.
  • Installed a similar network environment from the ground up at a new affiliate office, including email services.

1994-1996 – Assistant Editor

Automobile Association, UK

  • Proofread texts for a range of international travel guides, marking typescripts with corrections and resolving content queries.
  • Developed strong editorial skills and a high standard of accuracy.
  • Became interested in computing infrastructure, and was given additional responsibility to manage the departmental network of Apple Macintosh computers, including support and maintenance, network backup and procurement of new IT assets.
  • Designed, sourced and implemented a print server solution, migrating staff from locally attached printers to central network printing, reducing printing costs and support requests in the department.

Training

Self-paced training

As a freelance writer I am aware of my responsibility to maintain my own training schedule, keeping my skills current and looking ahead to developing trends in the industry. I continue my learning with technical reference books and video training, using the following online resources: Missing Manuals, Lynda.com, O’Reilly and Safari Books Online.

I also follow industry viewpoints and discussions on blogs from prominent technical writers. I have begun learning HTML5, CSS3 and WordPress in my own time, to develop my own blog and contribute to the technical writing community.

Training at Eli Lilly and Company

  • Project Management (Learning Tree)
  • Public Speaking and Presentations (Learning Tree)
  • Professional Development (one week, residential course)
  • Achieved MCSE (Microsoft Certified System Engineer)
  • Achieved Compaq ASE (Compaq Accredited Systems Engineer)

Training at Capita Education Services

  • RoboHelp (Digitext)

Training at Automobile Association

  • Copyediting (Book House)
  • Grappling with Grammar (Book House)

Education (UK)

University of Plymouth

1993-1994

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Publishing and Book Production.
  • (The course was based at the College of Art and Design in Exeter.)
  • Distinction awarded.

Work experience

1992-1993

Temporary employment with British Gas to finance postgraduate studies the following year.

Travel

1991-1992

Year abroad, spent travelling and working in Australia. I did temporary work with World Vision and McGraw-Hill Publishing. While working at McGraw-Hill, I developed an interest in the publishing industry, and pursued this career goal on my return from Australia.

University of Southampton

1987-1991

  • BA (Hons) French.
  • Second class (lower) degree awarded.
  • Including one year spent teaching English in two schools in Reims, France.

Aylesbury Grammar School

1981-1987

  • ‘A’ Levels: 4 (English, French, German, General Studies).
  • ‘O’ Levels: 10 (including English, French, German, Latin, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry).