Re: Localization Tasks: What do writers do?

Subject: Re: Localization Tasks: What do writers do?
From: "Bill Swallow" <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Jonathan Piasecki" <Jonathan -dot- Piasecki -at- hummingbird -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 14:16:23 -0400

Our situation may be different from yours, as we have a L10n department.

For what tasks are the writers responsible?

Generally the delivery of the final English files. We pass them off to
our L10n group, and they handle the outsourcing of translation. When
we get the files back from the localizers, either the L10n group or
our group formats the translations and readies the deliverables.

Do your writers process the translated material (such as create PDFs or
compile helps)?

Sometimes. And many times we assist with issues that may arise.

Who manages the overall translation effort -- the documentation team or
other departments and staff?

The L10n department.

How much of your documentation set do you translate?

A ton of it. Maybe 3/4 of all main products.

How does the cost of translation affect the decisions made on which
documents to translate?

Depends on the situation. You have market requirements (some countries
require translated materials, others do not as they also speak
English), you have to pay attention to ROI of translation based on
forecasted sales for each region, then there's time and availability
of our team and the L10n team to do the work required.

Our FrameMaker files are sent to a localization vendor. Our writers receive
the translated files and create PDFs and help systems. We do a visual review
of the formatting to ensure that the finished documents look OK, but we do
not proofread the translated text. One of the reasons we went to WebWorks
Publisher was to allow us to move this sort of processing in-house, rather
than pay the translation vendor to compile the helps and create PDFs.
Technically, I think that the process worked very well. We did get hung up,
though, on queries from the translators - we seemed to spend a lot of time
clarifying things for the translators, tracking down errors and omissions in
the documents, and assisting the translators when they were not familiar
with how some things work in FrameMaker. I'm wondering if this is typical of
what others experience.

Yes, it can be very typical, and experiences vary from vendor to
vendor. But now that you have the knowledge from the experience, you
can build all that into the next round of negotiation, whether you use
the same vendor or not. :-) Do keep notes though. They are invaluable.

I am curious to know if other writers have worked on projects of similar
scope and how things were handled, and if any problems were encountered
along the way.

Sounds like your scope was on par with our average localized projects.
We have much bigger, more complicated jobs, and much more minor ones
as well.

The real question is how well did everything work out and how costly
was it? Also clue your product managers in on keeping an eye on total
cost and ROI for each language to see if it's indeed cost-effective to
localize like this all the time. It may be, which is cool, but it's
always good to keep an eye on these things, and great for you to get
involved in the process as an advisor. :-)

Bill Swallow
HATT List Owner
WWP-Users List Owner
Senior Member STC, TechValley Chapter
avid homebrewer and proud beer snob
"I see your OOO message and raise you a clue."

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Localization Tasks: What do writers do?: From: Jonathan Piasecki

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