Translation & Localization
The global business marketplace is getting bigger, so one of the important things that writers should take a look at and be savvy about is the translation and localization process, and issues that could arise when converting documentation for use in other countries. Having an advance understanding of the issues can save a lot of time and money later. Even understanding the difference between translation and localization can give some technical writers fits.
In her article, Think Globally, Write Locally, Kristen Giovanis, co-founder and managing director of KJ International, explains what you need to know when adapting your works for an international audience. Her tips in this article include content tips, writing style tips and design tips that are sure to put you on the right track.
Read Think Globally, Write Locally and then leave a comment here. Do you have the same issues? And how you work on it?
It goes without saying that if you are writing for a global audience, your deliverables are most likely going to end up being translated in more than one language. But localization takes that a step farther. Although a writer’s words can be translated perfectly, the documentation can still be ineffective in another part of the world, due to differences in the way local businesses operate and in the way people in that part of the world think. Unfortunately, localization skills – or even a grasp of the requirements of the localization process – are not often the most sharply honed tools in the technical writer’s toolbox.
So what’s a tech writer to do?
In her article, Think Globally, Write Locally, Kristen Giovanis, considered a “trailblazer in the use of technology to meet business goals and manage translation costs”, offers specific tips for technical writers to improve their skills in writing for localization and enhance their value to their team. She includes not only content and writing sytle tips, but tips on design elements and insight into the localization process as well.
Read: Think Globally, Write Locally and then leave a comment below with your thoughts on localization, first-hand experiences you may have had, and the impact of localization on technical communications professionals.
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In a global market, there are more languages than ever being used to communicate marketing messages and other types of technical and healthcare related information. But you may not have the staff who can write the piece you need to share with your audience. That’s especially true if your firm’s audience is expanding to new countries.
That’s where outsourcing can help.
Editor’s Note: This was the feature article in this month’s TechCom Manager newsletter, reprinted here with permission. Click the previous link to subscribe to the newsletter.
I first heard about modular writing and single sourcing while working at a division of Hewlett Packard (HP). As a large company, HP uses the typical change processes and has needs for everything, such as localization and standards. There, we implemented single sourcing using an internal system. When I moved to BigBand Networks to help implement the Author-it system, things were much different, especially due to a fast-paced management team that encouraged change as long as it didn’t cost too much.
In many ways, the two teams were similar with somewhat dissimilar challenges. This case study looks at implementing single sourcing in two rather different ways. The backdrop for this study centered around two teams, each with five-to-seven writers using MS Word and Adobe FrameMaker for authoring. The result: two successful single-sourcing solutions.
As you read through this article, keep in mind the various benefits of single sourcing. For example:
When: Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
Intended audience: Technical writers and documentation managers, primarily but also internationalization and localization managers, project, product and web managers.
Host/Sponsor: ENLASO Corporation
This webinar is intended to provide technical writers and documentation managers helpful information about the interrelation between English content creation and localization activities. The webinar will be presented by veteran publisher and engineer Doug Pearson.
The webinar will provide concrete examples and touch on the use of Controlled or Simplified English, consistency in terms, and well formatted graphics among other topics. Mr. Pearson will also provide guidelines and easy-to-implement tactics for content creation that can reduce localization costs.
Attendees can register for the webinar here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/173904969
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