The monthly meeting of the Society for Technical Communication, San Diego Chapter (STC-SD), took place on February 15, 2017 in Building Q of Qualcomm’s main campus in Sorrento Valley. Attendees spread out among the dining tables in the spacious food court area, and enjoyed conversation over tasty sandwiches, salads, and assortment of beverages ordered for them by DJ Towne (Treasurer and former President, STC-SD).
At my table, Preston Hathaway, a documentation and editing specialist with SAIC, shared his wisdom and experience with several prospective members. Attendees at the other tables appeared equally interested in each other and absorbed in conversation.
After an hour or so of dining and networking, attendees migrated to the capacious lecture hall adjacent to the food court. A short formal chapter meeting was held, followed by the evening’s main presentation on localization best practices.
Alice Brzovic (President, STC-SD) and Sara Feldman (VP of Programs, STC-SD) began the formal part of the evening by welcoming attendees and asking those looking for work to share with the group their interests and goals in the technical communications career space.
Presenter Chris Bono was then given a warm introduction. With over 10 years of experience in technical communications, Chris currently works as a knowledgebase manager at ESET North America. Chris proceeded to give an illuminating presentation on localization and portable authoring in technical writing.
Chris discussed ways we can make content effective for English users, while also enabling an efficient translation strategy. He identified and discussed various translation strategies and tools, including the pros and cons of each. Chris kindly shared several tips to make translation easier, for example:
- Strip your writing of all idioms, because they don’t translate well.
- Make a glossary of discrete and unusual terms, adding easy-to-understand descriptions to minimize translation errors and promote usage consistency.
- Include articles, modifiers, conjunctions and syntactic cues. For example, say “search the database” rather than “search database”.
During the question and answer period, members and non-members alike posed interesting queries, including:
- What different methods are there to select a translation vendor?
- What are the pros and cons of ISO icons?
- How can we get the most out of “lean” user experience testing?
A representative from STC-SD sponsor MadCap Software was present and responded to questions about MadCap Lingo, a software tool that helps translators and content managers streamline workflow.
The meeting concluded after the Q&A session. Informal discussions continued between the speaker and individual audience members for a short time thereafter.
Presentation PDF – “Localization and Portable Authoring”