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Presented by Ann Adams at Documentation and Training West, May 6-9, 2009 in Vancouver, BC
Kyocera Technology Development produces software for printer drivers and networked device management. The technical communicators are responsible for creating user assistance and system administration manuals. We also edit UI strings and hardware messages and manage translation for 23 languages. Our information assets contain many common elements, but they were difficult to manage without a single-sourcing strategy. Consequently, we created and translated similar or even identical phrases and sentences over the years.
We recognized that if we could manage these assets efficiently that this would dramatically reduce translation costs and free us to create new and richer content that would better support our customers. The foundational strategies that we agreed upon up-front were writing in DITA topics, manging those topics in a content management system, tight integration with a translation tool set and implementing a hosted solution (Software-as-a-Service). To accomplish this, we have implemented an automated end-to-end authoring, reviewing, publishing and translating solution. We looked at every aspect of our group’s output. The result was a radical overhaul of our processes that affected not only the tech comm group, but everyone with whom we interact. Software developers and QA, translation vendors and in-country reviewers and company personnel at our manufacturing facility in Japan can now all connect to our system and work with our data in real-time. The variety of users and the many possibilities the system has opened up is leading us into new territories, as we train and support this varied constituency. This presentation describes how authoring in DITA topics and managing those topics in a content management system has contained translation costs while improving overall information quality.
Since we enjoyed benefit from others’ experience and stories, a recounting of what worked well (and not so well) as we implemented our system can help those who are contemplating a similar move.