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It Starts with the Source - Source English Terminology in a Multi-Channel, Global World
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It Starts with the Source - Source English Terminology in a Multi-Channel, Global World

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All multi-lingual, multi-channel content starts with words and pictures. If you are planning on using structured content, particularly in a translated environment, selecting your source English words …

All multi-lingual, multi-channel content starts with words and pictures. If you are planning on using structured content, particularly in a translated environment, selecting your source English words has never been more important. In this session, we will explore the impact of source English on multi-channel publishing in a global delivery system. We will look at:

Why structured authoring means we need to pay even more attention to our words
How terminology affects translation in terms of cost, quality, and time to market
The relationship between source English, translation, and multi-channel publishing

Published in: Technology, Business

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  • Content Creation has evolved to be more and more efficient. Tools to help us gain operational efficiency in writing and publication:ShorthandTypewritersIBM Selectric with changeable fonts!Word processorsAutogenerated TOCs, LOTs, LOFs, and IndexesSpellcheckers, grammar checkersXML/DITAStyle sheets, meta data, semantics, reuse, multipurpose, multiwriter, multipublishWrite once, use manyThe past 20 years have seen a huge acceleration of the tools that we have at our disposal.What About Content?Now, let’s get back to content. Over the years, we have created and implemented many tools to help us gain operational efficiency in writing and publication. Shorthand allowed us to take notes more efficiently than writing in longhand. Typewriters made the process of writing even easier. Electric typewriters were more efficient still. And, for now, computer technology is the crowning achievement in operational efficiency for creating content. Someday, I hope to just think about what I have to write and have some device automagically pull the content right out of my head without me even having to speak or type it.Over the past 10 to 15 years, we have invented fast and efficient ways to create indexes, glossaries, and tables of contents. We have automated spell-checking to efficiently catch our spelling errors. All editing software includes automated ways to switch fonts and styles on the fly, quickly and easily. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the days of the IBM Selectric typewriter. It had changeable balls with different fonts. Compare manually switching the little font balls to using style sheets and tagging text so that the styles automatically change based on the style sheet you choose. Wickedly fast. Super-efficient.These days, we implement XML and DITA to get more out of the same content resources. When we combine these technologies with a content management system (CMS), we can create relatively small chunks of content and then repurpose them in a variety of ways: additional documents, different webpages, information for mobile devices, and more. “Write once, use many” is the goal of current authoring technologies. That way, we get more uses for the same chunk of content we’ve written. It makes perfect sense.
  • When I was 10 years old, my language arts teacher taught me to vary language…“Language arts” was the subject. Writing was an art.Showing off your vocabulary was rewarded.But in business, this is inefficient.Everyone in your organization who creates, works with, and reads content needs to use consistent terminolgy.That is EVERYONE in your company.But let’s talk about how.Simply put, enforcing consistent terminology increases the operational efficiency of everyone in your organization who creates, works with, and reads content. That encompasses just about everyone.
  • When I was 10 years old, my language arts teacher taught me to vary language…“Language arts” was the subject. Writing was an art.Showing off your vocabulary was rewarded.But in business, this is inefficient.Everyone in your organization who creates, works with, and reads content needs to use consistent terminolgy.That is EVERYONE in your company.But let’s talk about how.Simply put, enforcing consistent terminology increases the operational efficiency of everyone in your organization who creates, works with, and reads content. That encompasses just about everyone.
  • How many ways can you say the same thing? LOTS of ways.What if you are selling an animal that is man’s best friend.You can use all of these words (and there are probably more).And if we use all of those different ways, it is inefficient. Your readers get confused. They call your technical support department. They say nasty things about your company on boards and forums. It just gets ugly.Writing teachers told us to vary our language, use different words to say the same thing. It’s more colorful, less repetitive. But it is inefficient to use different words to describe the same thing. Are you selling a dog? A canine? A puppy? A cocker spaniel? If you pick one and stick to it, you are more efficient when you write. Your readers can read much more efficiently. Your technical support department won’t have to answer questions again that are already described on the website. Everyone involved benefits when you can do more with the same words.
  • Let’s talk about reusability, XML and CMS systemsIf your content creators do not use the same words to describe the same things, how can you put chunks of content together to create deliverables?Paragraph one describes how to hold the dog.Paragraph two discusses how to groom the puppy.Paragraph three is about feeding the canine.The appendix is about training the poodle.These things do not hold together. We have to break the old rules. You cannot expect to realize the gains of structured authoring efficiency if you are not efficient with the words. It is really that simple. You can have a plethora of metadata and tag all of your content chunks. But if the terminology is not consistent on your new webpage when I read it, you were not efficient and I cannot proceed efficiently, either. I’m too easily confused and waste too much time trying to understand what you are trying to say.
  • Let’s stretch operational efficiency all the way through translation.Translation tools have become quite sophisticated.Translation memory – Pairing of source [English] content with translated content. Stored in a database.Translate ONCE, pay for ONCE, use many manymany – but only if you used the same words.NEXT SLIDE!!Let’s stretch operational efficiency in content creation all the way through translation. Translation tools have come a long way. When used properly, these tools make the process of translating content much cheaper and faster, and the resulting translation is much higher quality.One of the efficiency-improving translation tools is translation memory (TM). A translation pair contains the term or phrase in the source language and in the target language. The translation pairs are stored in the TM, a database for future use.The next time the translation tool encounters the same sentence, the tool automatically substitutes the already-translated pair in the translation. The translator doesn’t have to re-translate something that has already been translated. And that is operational efficiency.However – and this is important – if you used a different word or phrase to describe the same thing, that new word or phrase will not be in the TM and must now be translated. If you are not consistent in your terminology, the translation process is more time-consuming, more expensive, and more error-prone. If you use the same word to mean the same thing every time you say it, the translation will follow. If you use the same sentence to describe the same concept every time, you only need to pay for the translation once. This lowers your overall translation costs. It speeds time to market (fewer review cycles) and the quality of the output goes way up.
  • So, using translation memory, you can achieve the ultimate trifecta:FasterCheaperBetterTranslationsBut, that is ONLY if you use consistent terminology in your English source. If you change-up your words, you don’t achieve translation nirvana.If you say things differently every time, it is slower to translate – more iterations back and forth with the in-country reviewers.It is more costly – Not necessary in price per word, but in terms of manhours spent iterating during review.The quality goes down – imagine how this exponentiates as you add more and more lanuages.The next time the translation tool encounters the same sentence, the tool automatically substitutes the already-translated pair in the translation. The translator doesn’t have to re-translate something that has already been translated. And that is operational efficiency.However – and this is important – if you used a different word or phrase to describe the same thing, that new word or phrase will not be in the TM and must now be translated. If you are not consistent in your terminology, the translation process is more time-consuming, more expensive, and more error-prone. If you use the same word to mean the same thing every time you say it, the translation will follow. If you use the same sentence to describe the same concept every time, you only need to pay for the translation once. This lowers your overall translation costs. It speeds time to market (fewer review cycles) and the quality of the output goes way up.
  • So, using translation memory, you can achieve the ultimate trifecta:FasterCheaperBetterTranslationsBut, that is ONLY if you use consistent terminology in your English source. If you change-up your words, you don’t achieve translation nirvana.If you say things differently every time, it is slower to translate – more iterations back and forth with the in-country reviewers.It is more costly – Not necessary in price per word, but in terms of manhours spent iterating during review.The quality goes down – imagine how this exponentiates as you add more and more lanuages.The next time the translation tool encounters the same sentence, the tool automatically substitutes the already-translated pair in the translation. The translator doesn’t have to re-translate something that has already been translated. And that is operational efficiency.However – and this is important – if you used a different word or phrase to describe the same thing, that new word or phrase will not be in the TM and must now be translated. If you are not consistent in your terminology, the translation process is more time-consuming, more expensive, and more error-prone. If you use the same word to mean the same thing every time you say it, the translation will follow. If you use the same sentence to describe the same concept every time, you only need to pay for the translation once. This lowers your overall translation costs. It speeds time to market (fewer review cycles) and the quality of the output goes way up.
  • So, using translation memory, you can achieve the ultimate trifecta:FasterCheaperBetterTranslationsBut, that is ONLY if you use consistent terminology in your English source. If you change-up your words, you don’t achieve translation nirvana.If you say things differently every time, it is slower to translate – more iterations back and forth with the in-country reviewers.It is more costly – Not necessary in price per word, but in terms of manhours spent iterating during review.The quality goes down – imagine how this exponentiates as you add more and more lanuages.The next time the translation tool encounters the same sentence, the tool automatically substitutes the already-translated pair in the translation. The translator doesn’t have to re-translate something that has already been translated. And that is operational efficiency.However – and this is important – if you used a different word or phrase to describe the same thing, that new word or phrase will not be in the TM and must now be translated. If you are not consistent in your terminology, the translation process is more time-consuming, more expensive, and more error-prone. If you use the same word to mean the same thing every time you say it, the translation will follow. If you use the same sentence to describe the same concept every time, you only need to pay for the translation once. This lowers your overall translation costs. It speeds time to market (fewer review cycles) and the quality of the output goes way up.
  • So, using translation memory, you can achieve the ultimate trifecta:FasterCheaperBetterTranslationsBut, that is ONLY if you use consistent terminology in your English source. If you change-up your words, you don’t achieve translation nirvana.If you say things differently every time, it is slower to translate – more iterations back and forth with the in-country reviewers.It is more costly – Not necessary in price per word, but in terms of manhours spent iterating during review.The quality goes down – imagine how this exponentiates as you add more and more lanuages.The next time the translation tool encounters the same sentence, the tool automatically substitutes the already-translated pair in the translation. The translator doesn’t have to re-translate something that has already been translated. And that is operational efficiency.However – and this is important – if you used a different word or phrase to describe the same thing, that new word or phrase will not be in the TM and must now be translated. If you are not consistent in your terminology, the translation process is more time-consuming, more expensive, and more error-prone. If you use the same word to mean the same thing every time you say it, the translation will follow. If you use the same sentence to describe the same concept every time, you only need to pay for the translation once. This lowers your overall translation costs. It speeds time to market (fewer review cycles) and the quality of the output goes way up.
  • We have to be even more careful with our selection of words for the global marketplace.Text can expand as much as 30% in translation.We need to single-source. And we need to be careful about it. Considering translation is an entirely new point of view for most writers.
  • But here’s the thing:No one uses style guides.No one.They are way too inefficient. There is no way for me to memorize the style guide.I don’t have the time.I have deadlines.Most style guides and term lists are created and managed using the most outdated, inefficient tools on the market. The process of adding words to the term list is completely manual. And, even worse, the process of verifying words against the term list is also completely manual. You might as well be using a legal pad and a pen, and storing everything in a three-ring binder.To illustrate, the most common workflow for verifying terminology goes something like this:•This process is the definition of operational inefficiency. I must stop my process to try to remember if I just wrote a word that my company cares about. Then I have to look it up manually in a list where I don’t know if I will find it or not. Finally, I might have to act on that information, or maybe not.Here’s the dirty little secret about Word and Excel term lists and style guides: No one uses them. That’s right. No one. Maybe a new content developer refers to a list for the first deliverable. But after that, no one has the time to keep looking things up. In the quest to do more with the same resources, most writers and editors simply don’t have the luxury of time to use an inefficient, time-consuming, manual process. It just doesn’t happen.
  • Transcript

    • 1. It Starts With The Source Source English Terminology in a Multi-Channel, Global World Val Swisher, CEO Content Rules @contentrulesinc
    • 2. Who are we? Content Rules An amazing collection of people who help great clients plan their content strategy, create fabulous content and get it ready for global consumption. © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 3. Topics How Terminology Affects: • Structured Authoring • Translation • Global Mobile © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 4. The Evolution of Content Creation © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 5. XML Consistent Terminology Essential for Structured Authoring Essential for Content Reuse © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 6. XML Meet Mrs. Levin © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 7. Man’s Best Friend XML Dog Puppy Canine Poodle © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 8. XML XML, Reuse, and Terminology “You Cannot Realize the Gains of Structured Authoring Efficiency if You are Not Efficient with Words” - me. © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 9. Terminology and Translation © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 10. Translation Translation Trifecta © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 11. Translation Cheaper • Fewer words • Reused words • Reused sentences © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 12. Translation Better • Translation quality improves • Meanings match • MT becomes a possibility © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 13. Translation Faster • Less time to translate • Fewer in-country reviews • Faster to market © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 14. Terminology and Global Mobile © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 15. Mobile Delivering Global Mobile • • • • Responsive design Global mobile apps Text selection key Terminology most important © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 16. Mobile Expanding Text © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 17. Mobile Many Responsive Designs © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 18. Summary Terminology is Important • Consistency in structured authoring • Faster, cheaper, better translation • Enable global mobile responsive design © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 19. Questions? © 2013. Content Rules, Inc. All rights reserved.
    • 20. Val Swisher, CEO write. vals@contentrules.com read. www.contentrules.com/blog search.www.contentrules.com tweet. @contentrulesinc