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

  • Agile Documentation Development Tim Grantham Team Leader, Documentation Standards October 30, 2008
  • Agenda
    • About You
    • About Me
    • About Thermo Fisher Scientific and Thermo LAI
    • About Agile Software Development
    • About Agile Content Development
    • About DITA and Agile Content Development
    • Case Study: DITA @ Thermo LAI
    • Q&A
  • What is Thermo Fisher Scientific?
    • “Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science, enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.”
    • Annual sales of more than $10 billion
    • 30,000 employees
    • 350,000 customers world wide
  • What is Thermo LAI?
    • LAI: Laboratory Automation and Integration
    • Founded as CRS Robotics in Burlington, Ontario, Canada about 25 years ago by robotics engineers from McMaster University.
    • Acquired by Thermo in 2003
    • Brings the technologies, tools, and processes of automated manufacturing to the laboratory:
      • Robots
      • Workcell integration and control software
      • Automation support hardware
      • Automation design and system integration services
    • Smallest automated lab system:
      • RapidStak TM bench top instrument loader
      • Instruments from Thermo
      • Controlled by Thermo LAI POLARA software running on a Windows ® PC
    Thermo LAI Products: Small Lab System
  • Thermo LAI Products: Medium Lab System
    • Small automated lab system for toxicological testing:
      • Thermo LAI CataLyst Express bench top articulated robot
      • Thermo Scientific reader and incubator
      • Third party liquid handler
      • Controlled by Thermo LAI POLARA software running on a Windows PC
  • Thermo LAI Products: Large Lab System
    • Big automated lab system for high throughput screening:
      • Thermo LAI Distributed Motion robots
      • Instruments and peripherals from Thermo and third parties
      • Controlled by Thermo LAI POLARA software running on a Windows® PC
    • POLARA lab automation software for Windows provides graphical user interface for:
      • Configuring lab system
      • Designing assays
      • Scheduling samples
      • Running experiments
      • Collecting, processing, and exporting instrument data
    Thermo LAI Products: POLARA Lab Automation Software
  • Who are Thermo LAI Customers?
    • Big pharma: Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, BristolMyersSquibb, Novartis, etc.
    • OEM partners: Molecular Devices, Nikon, etc.
    • Research organizations: Whitehead Institute, TIGR, Mount Sinai, etc.
    • Many smaller labs buy and use our bench top automation products.
    • Staff: three
    • Deliverables: about 100 new and updated documents/year:
      • Hardware and software user, unpacking, and setup guides
      • Programming guides and references
      • Service manuals
      • Manufacturing work instructions
    • Outputs: print, PDF, HTML Help, HTML Help 2, Web Help, SharePoint Help
    • Legacy toolset: Adobe FrameMaker, Quadralay WebWorks Publisher 2003, Microsoft Visual Studio, and some custom XSL transforms
    • Methodology: using single-sourcing to produce user documentation for multiple versions of LAI products, each published to multiple outputs
    Thermo LAI Technical Publications
  • What is Agile Software Development?
    • “Agile software development processes are in use at 14% of North American and European enterprises, and another 19% of enterprises are either interested in adopting Agile or already planning to do so.”
    • “Early adopters of Agile processes were primarily small high-tech product companies. But a second wave of adoption is now underway, with enterprise IT shops taking the lead. These shops are turning to Agile processes to cut time-to-market, improve quality, and strengthen their relationships with business stakeholders.”
    • — Forrester Research, November, 2005
  • What is Agile Software Development?
    • An iterative software development methodology based on a periodic publishing model
    • Closely parallels Toyota’s Lean Product Development System, which is based on Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing System
    • Evolved from the Rapid Application Development methodology that began to become popular in the 1980s
    • Optimizes development adaptability, rather than predictability
    • Requires disciplined and skillful practitioners
    • Requires multi-disciplinary teams that includes user interface designers and technical writers
  • Conventional Waterfall Product Development Process Software Product Development Presentation Layer (user interface, online help) Business Logic Layer (implements main functionality) Database Layer (manages persistent data) Customer Validation Requirements Approved Alpha Release Beta Release General Availability
  • Problems with Conventional Waterfall Development
    • Tremendous waste
    • Late
    • Over budget
    • Change intolerant
    • Defective
    Conventional Waterfall Practices Yield 65% Wasted Features
  • Agile Software Development Process 1a. Iteration requirements approved. 1b. Tests designed. 1c. Components coded, tested, documented, and completely debugged. 1d. Customer validated! Software Product 2a. Iteration requirements approved. 2b. Tests designed. 2c. Components coded, tested, documented, and completely debugged. 2d. Customer validated! Release Plan Presentation Layer (user interface, online help) Business Logic Layer (implements main functionality) Database Layer (manages persistent data) Iteration 1 Iteration 2 Iteration 3 Iteration 4 Iteration 5 Iteration 6 Iteration 7 Iteration 8 Iteration 9 Iteration 10
  • Benefits of Agile Software Development
    • Provides continuous customer feedback during development
    • Reduces risk
    • Reduces waste
    • Provide continuous feedback to management on development performance
    • Improves timeliness
    • Improves relevance
  • Challenges of Agile Software Development
    • It’s different.
  • Conventional Documentation Development Process Technical Publication Development Presentation Layer (page layout, text styles) Information Layer (text, graphics) Structural Layer (table of contents) Customer Validation Table of Contents Approved First draft Second draft General Availability
  • Problems with Conventional Document Development
    • Tremendous waste
    • Late
    • Over budget
    • Change intolerant
    • Defective
  • Benefits of Agile Documentation Development
    • Permits continuous reader feedback during development
    • Reduces risk
    • Reduces waste
    • Provides continuous feedback to management on development performance
    • Improves timeliness
    • Improves relevance
  • Opportunities in Agile Documentation Development
    • Enables technical communicators to add new and significant value:
      • Provide guidance on or even lead the development of the user interface
      • Become the development team’s manager of product terminology
      • Take over content of user interface components (e.g. edit .resx files in .NET applications)
    • “ The goal of testers is not to find bugs, but to prevent them.” — Mary and Tom Poppendieck, Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash ,
    • “ The goal of technical communicators is not to explain confusing product features, but to prevent them.” — Tim Grantham, 2008
  • Challenges in Agile Documentation Development
    • It’s different:
      • Much more collaboration with other disciplines
      • Daily updates on progress
      • More frequent testing of quality
      • A modular documentation methodology
      • Separation of design, authoring, and publishing functions
  • Challenges in Agile Documentation Development
    • Conventional desktop publishing tools are inadequate:
      • Don’t easily support iterative document development
      • Not easily integrated into software development environments
      • Don’t permit a high degree of publishing automation
      • Don’t easily support localization
      • Don’t provide easy portability of content
  • What is Agile Documentation Development?
    • Based on the principles and practices of Agile Software Development
    • Implements an iterative development process of modular documentation
    • Uses software development-friendly, modular documentation-friendly, automation-friendly, localizable, portable DITA XML!
  • Agile Documentation Development Process Technical Publication 1a. Iteration DITA map approved. 1b. Topics authored, edited, and approved for publication. 1c. Customer validated! 2a. Iteration DITA map approved. 2b. Topics written, edited, and approved for publication. 2c. Customer validated! Release Plan Presentation Layer (page layout, text styles) Information Layer (text, graphics) Structural Layer (table of contents) Iteration 1 Iteration 2 Iteration 3 Iteration 4 Iteration 5 Iteration 6 Iteration 7 Iteration 8 Iteration 9 Iteration 10
  • How does DITA facilitate Agile Documentation Development?
    • DITA content modeling corresponds well to user, task, and object modeling, enabling close collaboration with product managers and designers.
    • DITA topics map easily to user interface components.
    • DITA is modular.
    • DITA uses text files, enabling tight integration with development.
  • How does DITA facilitate Agile Documentation Development?
    • DITA facilitates automated measurement of quality across an arbitrary set of documents.
    • DITA is designed to facilitate localization.
    • DITA, because it is an OASIS standard, facilitates portability among teams and organizations, and frees technical communicators from bondage to proprietary tools.
  • Case Study: Agile Documentation Development at Thermo LAI
    • Cell Growth and Discovery WorkCell
  • Case Study: Agile Documentation Development at Thermo LAI
    • Celleste Software
  • Case Study: Demonstration
    • Designing the release plan
  • Case Study: Demonstration
    • Designing the release plan (detail)
  • Case Study: Demonstration
    • Designing the DITA topic map:
  • Case Study: Demonstration
    • Designing the DITA topic map (detail):
  • Case Study: Demonstration
    • Authoring the DITA topic:
  • Case Study: Demonstration
    • Publishing the DITA topics:
    PDF Output HTML Help Output
  • Demonstration: DITA Map2MIF Transform
    • Custom transform generates unstructured FrameMaker book and chapter files from DITA map and topics
  • Demo: DITAMap2XLS Transform
    • Custom transform generates Excel spreadsheet of quality metrics from DITA map and topics
  • What does Agile Documentation Development mean for technical publication managers?
    • To take advantage of the new opportunities to add value, technical publication managers must:
      • Become collaborators in the entire product development process, from design to delivery.
      • Learn and implement tools that integrate content design, development, and deployment into product design, development, and deployment.
      • Redefine technical communication team roles: most experienced must devote their time to planning and design, least experienced to topic authoring.
      • Develop familiarity with the standards, technologies, and methodologies of agile product development.
      • Identify content quality metrics
  • What does Agile Documentation Development mean to technical writers?
    • To become valued members of agile development teams, technical writers must learn how to:
      • Work on a multi-disciplinary team
      • Create content modules (topics): not just writing information, but modeling it semantically
      • Integrate their output into the product development infrastructure
      • Engage in lots of interactive face-to-face communication (scrums)
  • What does Agile Documentation Development mean to the profession of technical communications?
    • To become valued members of the business world, technical communicators must learn how to:
      • Work with the development community to integrate content development methodologies with product development methodologies
      • Demonstrate, with data, the value they bring to product development
    • DITA, and its XML descendants and peers, will help transform technical communications from a craft to a science.
  • Q&A
    • Thank you for your attention!