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Your Global Audience is Already Here: How to Create Content that Communicates with non-English Speakers at Home and Abroad
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Your Global Audience is Already Here: How to Create Content that Communicates with non-English Speakers at Home and Abroad


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Presented by Ann Zdunczyk at Documentation and Training Life Sciences, June 23-26, 2008 in Indianapolis, IN. …

Presented by Ann Zdunczyk at Documentation and Training Life Sciences, June 23-26, 2008 in Indianapolis, IN.

English is one of the most expressive languages on Earth; with a vocabulary of over 900,000 words, no wonder there are so many ways to say the same thing! Mission critical, life saving messages must be communicated clearly in English as in target languages. Even if your content is still in “English only”, this presentation will give you insights to more effectively communicate your intent, in words and images, to a diverse audience. Find out what global forces are eroding market boundaries and helping “make the world flat,” broadening your future audience to include languages you may not have considered before.

This presentation will cover many considerations, including:

* Is your content written as clearly and as to the point as possible?
* Does your content use consistent terminology?
* Has your company acquired other subsidiary divisions that have different standards for writing and managing content and language translation? If so, how do your coordinate your efforts in this arena?
* How do you optimize source, English content to leverage as much previously translated text from legacy material as possible?
* How can a professional linguist be certain of your intent during translation?
* How can you validate content translated for overseas markets?
* When does “fancy” formatting and page layout become an impediment to language translation?

No doubt you’ve already heard about Controlled English, and the many challenges to effectively translating rich, technical content from English to other languages. At first glance, the task can seem overwhelming. Believe it or not, you are already “shifting gears” and writing at different levels of English for different audiences. The same skills you use every day in editing you own email can be transposed to effectively create focused, technical content for a broad global audience.

Domestically, a significant proportion of medical staff are non-native English speakers. In an emergency, all staff must instantly grasp the intent of written instructions on complex equipment. The “life-saving” ramifications of your content become even more pronounced when your words are translated from English to another language. Attend this session to learn even more ways to avoid errors and save lives. (And you thought you were just creating content!)

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  • Transcript

    • 1. Creating Content that Communicates with non-English Speakers Presented by Ann Zdunczyk June 25, 2008
    • 2. Agenda
      • Why don’t more Life Sciences companies expand beyond English or a few basic languages?
      • Major global market changes affecting us all
      • Non-English in the domestic market
      • Practical steps for making your content translation and loclalization friendly
      • Questions and answers
    • 3. Do you know who your customers are? CONFIDENTIAL The World is “Flat” … You are Here
    • 4. QUIZ: Where did these people come from?
    • 5. Reaching a Global Audience should be Obvious… BUT…
    • 6. The World has changed … and some of us haven’t…
    • 7. Why do some managers resist globalization?
    • 8.
      • Majority of budget gate keepers are still Baby Boomers (or almost):
        • Common subconscious “memories” of:
          • No business with Russia/Eastern Europe
          • No trade with China
          • USA an unchallenged, economic power
          • Homogenous communications:
            • 3 major TV networks,
            • a few dozen national magazines;
            • monolithic marketing message
          • “ Everyone speaks English” (even “Mr. Ed”)
    • 9.
      • What about non-Boomers?
        • No problem, they’re focusing on the never ending stream of “rich” content in American media that keeps us completely aware of world affairs
      The arms race World leaders The situation in Africa
    • 10. Globalization was a confluence of events:
      • Late 20 th Century Developments
      • End of the Cold War
        • Capitalism reaches Eastern Europe
        • Chinese economy goes global
      • European Union becomes major economic force
      • GATT and WTO (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs and World Trade Org.)
      • NAFTA (Canada/USA/Mexico trade) and immigration
      • Web and Internet erase boundaries and redefine supply chains
    • 11. Former Soviet Republics: fast growing market for Life Sciences Markets not thought of 15 years ago:
      • Significant “Soviet Satellite” Languages:
      • Hungarian
      • Polish
      • Czech
    • 12. What about China?
      • Fourth largest economy
      • Manufactures half the world’s motorcycles
      • Some predict will be No. 1 economy by 2050
      • Read “A Year Without Made in China” to see impact on consumer goods in North America
      • Manufacturing supply chains are now permanently multinational and multilingual
      • What happens when English source isn’t concise and clear before translation into Chinese manufacturing instructions?
    • 13. What about Europe?
      • The EU has 23 official and working languages:
        • Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.
      • Medical devices and drugs require multilingual labels
    • 14. Even if your content is English-only today …
      • Don’t expect that to last for long
    • 15. The world is changing
      • Change in the last 7 years:
      • In 2000, the three biggest countries by GDP were the U.S., Japan, and Germany.
      • The next four were France , Italy, the U.K., and China.
      • Seven years later China made it to the fourth slot.
      • Future Change 
      Source: “On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others” by Common Sense Advisory
    • 16. Top 10 economies in 2007 Source: “On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others” by Common Sense Advisory
    • 17. Predicted top Economies for 2050
    • 18. QUIZ: Which languages give you access to 76% of the “on-line” world population?
      • Question: name the 10 languages for web income, in correct order:
        • English
        • French
        • Italian
        • German
        • Spanish
        • Japanese
        • Chinese-Simplified
        • Korean
        • Russian
        • Swedish
        • Portuguese
        • Chinese-Traditional
      • ANSWER
        • English
        • Chinese-Simplified
        • Japanese
        • Spanish
        • German
        • Portuguese
        • French
        • Korean
        • Italian
        • Russian
      Source: “On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others” by Common Sense Advisory
    • 19. Quiz: How do you reach 88% of the most economically active users?
      • Question: which 5 languages do you add to English to reach 88% of “spending” Internet users?
        • Chinese-Simplified
        • Japanese
        • Spanish
        • German
        • Portuguese
        • French
        • Korean
        • Italian
        • Russian
      • ANSWER
        • Japanese
        • G erman
        • S panish (incl. USA)
        • F rench
        • I talian
        • “ FIGS -J”
      Source: “On the Web, Some Countries Matter More than Others” by Common Sense Advisory
    • 20. What about non-English in the USA?
      • Large proportions of staff in many metropolitan hospitals do not speak English as their first language
      • Impending labor shortage from retiring Baby Boomers is leading to new training programs to move immigrants into more technical (including medical) jobs
      • Read this LA Times article:,0,2744795.story
    • 21.
    • 22.
    • 23. A Glossary of terms:
      • Locale: “Combination of language, cultural preferences, character set, and other information that describes a particular target market or audience.”
      • Localization (L10N): “Process of adapting a product for a particular locale. Usually comes after internationalization in the shape of a package of services. ”
      • Globalization (G11N): “Combination of internationalization and localization, as well as implementation of a global strategy from early product development through localization .”
      • Internationalization (I18N): “Process of creating (or re-engineering) a system to support multiple locales with a single set of source code. Usually a pre-requisite for successful localization.”
    • 24.
      • Translation: “Process of translating, editing and proofing text .”
      • Translation Memory (TM): “a type of database that is used in software programs designed to aid human translators. Translation memories are typically used in conjunction with a dedicated computer assisted translation (CAT) tool, word processing program, terminology management systems, multilingual dictionary, or even raw machine translation output.”
      • Leveraging: “ability to re-use previously translated content from Translation Memory.”
      • Computer Assisted Translation (CAT): “ a form of translation wherein a human translator translates texts using computer software designed to support and facilitate the translation process.”
    • 25.
      • Glossary: “ agreed upon definitions of key words, phrases, product names. Can be in English only (source) or in target languages as well. Glossaries help linguists to avoid ambiguous or alternate translations.”
      • Machine Translation (MT): “performs simple substitution of words in one natural language for words in another. Using corpus techniques, more complex translations may be attempted, allowing for better handling of differences in linguistic typology, phrase recognition, and translation of idioms, as well as the isolation of anomalies.”
    • 26.
      • Simplified English: “ a controlled language originally developed for aerospace industry maintenance manuals. It offers a carefully limited and standardized subset of English. ”
        • Benefits:
        • Reduce ambiguity
        • Facilitate second language acquisition
        • Improve comprehension for people whose first language is not English
        • Make human translation cheaper and easier
        • Improve computer-assisted translation and machine translation
    • 27. YOU can change the world … your influence over Localized content …where it all starts
    • 28. Areas where you can optimize content
      • Text content
        • Constrained English
      • Terminology (glossaries) for agreed upon definitions
      • Page Layout and template design
        • Text expansion in target languages
      • Manage Graphics and text layers
      • Graphics: select economical images
      • Managing project assets
        • Intelligent directory structure
        • Documented source files
    • 29. Consistent Content
        • Software to help produce simplified English:
          • Acrolinx (
          • MaxIt (
        • Increase Translation Memory while authoring:
          • Developing conventions for frequently used text (a glossary)
          • Using DITA topics and/or referenced text to enforce consistency
          • Intelligent use of CMS (Content Management System) to use the same text “bricks” over and over
    • 30.
      • Glossaries (terminology)
        • Review existing content
        • Determine approved wording for key terms and phrases
        • Have glossaries translated before rest of content
        • Have glossaries reviewed in-country, corrected by translation vendor
    • 31.
      • Page Layout and Text expansion
        • Some target languages increase word count or text expansion by up to 30%
        • Containers like multiple columns, table cells and “boxed text” magnify the problem
        • Leave “breathing room” near bottom of page in English source files
    • 32.
      • Text Layer GFX
      • Bitmapped Graphic
      Source art (*.ai) files have text layers that can be edited for translation Graphics converted to bitmaps have no text. Note that *.eps files can be expensively edited. In the worst case scenario, text “band aids” have to be manually pasted over bitmapped “text”. GOOD BAD!!
    • 33.
      • “ But, I lost my source Illustrator file! All I have is PDF!”
      No problem: we’ll just save the PDF to *.eps and bring it into Illustrator Cropped PDF of Graphic *.eps in Illustrator Now we can edit the “text layer” …NOT
    • 34.
      • Text as “artwork”
      • Containers that must expand with the text
      • Locale-specific people pictures
      • Avoid body parts for “gestures”
      • Things to avoid with Graphics:
    • 35.
      • Managing project assets
        • Use documented directory structure
      Sample InDesign project Sample FrameMaker project There is no “standard” for project directory structure. Document it and be consistent.
    • 36. Questions and answers CONFIDENTIAL