The April STC San Diego Chapter meeting was held on April 11, 2017 at the Hera Hub Sorrento Valley facility in San Diego (courtesy of Acrolinx), featuring speaker Lance Robert.
Following an informal networking period with event participants, Chapter President Alice Brzovic led the brief business portion of the meeting. Lance Robert then gave a presentation about his experiences at Qualcomm with Acrolinx, a tool for content editing and style management, popular with several large and well-known corporations.
President Brzovic thanked STC San Diego board members and volunteers for their efforts, encouraged newcomers to share details about themselves, and made the following announcement:
STC San Diego recently won the national STC Platinum Community Achievement Award. The San Diego Chapter was recognized for its efforts in providing value to members, and for promoting the Society and the profession through its excellent mentoring programs, student outreach activities, education programs, networking events, and innovative Webinar Mania program.
Presenter Lance Robert introduced himself as having been a staff technical writer for 16 years, before he became an Acrolinx and SharePoint administrator at Qualcomm in San Diego. He began by describing the basic features of Acrolinx, and proceeded to explain how the software helps to:
- Ensure accurate and consistent use of terminology, grammar, and style.
- Eliminate spelling errors.
- Create reusable content.
- Enhance readability.
- Facilitate translation.
Mr. Robert discussed how Acrolinx reads content and flags it for errors and noncompliance, with customizable rules (e.g., avoid modal verbs, avoid possessives).
Acrolinx is server-based content optimization software that uses preconfigured terminology sets and grammar rules to check documents for errors and inconsistencies in terminology, style, and sentence construction. The terms and rules can be designated as preferred, deprecated, admitted, or proposed. Users are notified of which term type corresponds to which item of checked content. Users can then choose how to proceed.
The new version of Acrolinx contains a “sidebar” interface designed to make editing easier and more intuitive An Acrolinx booklet was handed out at the meeting, which illustrates the sidebar on pages 4-5:
Plug-ins are available to make Acrolinx compatible with various editing applications. View a list of compatible applications here. If a preferred application is not listed, Acrolinx can still be used. Its “desktop checker” feature allows Acrolinx to check plain text and HTML content, and to paste these checked results back into the non-compatible application.
Questions during the Q&A period included the following topics:
- Does Acrolinx have a module for simplified English? Yes.
- Does Acrolinx read material deleted during change tracking in Word? No.
- What is the best feature of Acrolinx? Definable rules.
- Are the help features customizable? No, but Acrolinx plans to make them customizable in future releases.
- Can Acrolinx read and edit your DTDs (Document Type Definitions), and are the editing settings configurable? Yes, and yes.
Mr. Robert was assisted in his presentation by Acrolinx account director Martin Kilbane. Mr. Kilbane made the journey from Austin, Texas to join this evening’s session, and offered to share various Acrolinx marketing and training materials with meeting attendees upon request. Ample snacks and beverages were supplied and enjoyed by all.