Creating Technical Documents in English for Global Audiences
<ul><li>From Fort Worth, TX, USA </li></ul><ul><li>My wife and I moved to South Korea in  January of 2007 </li></ul><ul><l...
Why Create Technical Documents in Global English? <ul><li>Estimated  800 million to 1 billion  current English users </li>...
Why Create Technical Documents in Global English? <ul><li>English is the current  lingua franca   for technical documentat...
Why Create Technical Documents in Global English? <ul><li>Increase the usability of documents designed for global audience...
Who Uses Global English? <ul><li>Many people use English as a second language to communicate for business or with people f...
Who Uses Global English? <ul><li>Mostly non-native speakers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Native: about 41% </li></ul></ul><ul><u...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W1.  Write short, simple, and complete sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wr...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W1.  Write short, simple, and complete sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Us...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W1.  Write short, simple, and complete sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W2. Write in active voice. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid passive voice (a fo...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W3. Avoid noun stacks (noun + noun + noun…) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use thre...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W4. Remember to include articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. </li></u...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W4. Remember to include articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. </li></u...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W4. Remember to include articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. </li></u...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W5. Standardize your terms and phrasing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use each te...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W5. Standardize your terms and phrasing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the sam...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W5. Standardize your terms and phrasing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop ter...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W6. Avoid non-technical language when writing technical documents. </li></...
How to  Write  for Global English Users <ul><li>W6. Avoid non-technical language when writing technical documents. </li></...
How to  Design  for Global English Users <ul><li>D1. Always consider your primary audience and its needs. Then consider yo...
How to  Design  for Global English Users <ul><li>D2. Design for translation—even if  you don’t plan  to translate the docu...
How to  Design  for Global English Users <ul><li>D3. Use a neutral style in graphics and photos. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try...
How to  Design  for Global English Users <ul><li>D4. Make technical illustrations clear and universal. </li></ul><ul><ul><...
How to  Design  for Global English Users <ul><li>D5. Avoid offensive colors or designs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Color has di...
How to  Design  for Global English Users <ul><li>D5. Avoid offensive colors or designs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a color ...
Summary <ul><li>Global English is the  lingua franca  for a large portion of the world’s population. </li></ul><ul><li>The...
Thank you for attending Creating Technical Documents in English  for Global Audiences
Resources <ul><li>Graddol, David.  English Next . 2006. British Council, UK </li></ul><ul><li>Graddol, David.  The Future ...
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Creating Technical Documents In English For Global Audiences

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Presentation at Korean Technical Communication Association (KTCA) 1st Annual Summit in Seoul, South Korea (Nov 5, 2007)

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Creating Technical Documents In English For Global Audiences

  1. 1. Creating Technical Documents in English for Global Audiences
  2. 2. <ul><li>From Fort Worth, TX, USA </li></ul><ul><li>My wife and I moved to South Korea in January of 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Master’s Degree in Technical Writing and Bachelor’s Degree in English Composition from University of North Texas </li></ul><ul><li>Technical communicator for 5+ years: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engine Optimization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal proposals, policies & procedures, marketing documents, web content, and training documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User guidance, white papers, research, document analysis, editing, and training for Hansem EZUserGuides, Inc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In my free time, people shoot at me! </li></ul>About the Presenter
  3. 3. Why Create Technical Documents in Global English? <ul><li>Estimated 800 million to 1 billion current English users </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for 3 billion by 2040 (roughly 40% of the estimated world population) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why Create Technical Documents in Global English? <ul><li>English is the current lingua franca for technical documentation. </li></ul><ul><li>English is also the most common language used in machine translation . </li></ul>a language that is widely used among speakers of other languages
  5. 5. Why Create Technical Documents in Global English? <ul><li>Increase the usability of documents designed for global audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the quality of your translated documents. </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen the image of your company and your products. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce translation costs and errors. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce customer complaints and service calls. </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the performance of translation memory (TM). </li></ul><ul><li>Improve the performance of machine translation (MT). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Who Uses Global English? <ul><li>Many people use English as a second language to communicate for business or with people from other cultures. </li></ul>هالو، مرحب tere! 表示问候 ¡Hola! Hello!
  7. 7. Who Uses Global English? <ul><li>Mostly non-native speakers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Native: about 41% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-native: about 59% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Some are fluent, but most have varying skills (e.g., may speak well, but read poorly) </li></ul><ul><li>Read documents in multiple languages </li></ul>
  8. 8. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W1. Write short, simple, and complete sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write sentences with 20 words or fewer. </li></ul></ul> To complete the sequence, enter a User ID, scroll to an option, press OK to select the option, and then press Save  To finish, perform the following steps: 1. Enter a User ID 2. Scroll to an option 3. Press OK to select the option 4. Press Save
  9. 9. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W1. Write short, simple, and complete sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An ID must be entered </li></ul><ul><li>The latch must be secured </li></ul><ul><li>Enter your user ID (implied “you”) </li></ul><ul><li>You must secure the latch </li></ul>Subject (who or what) Verb (action) Object (acted upon )
  10. 10. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W1. Write short, simple, and complete sentences. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Include all grammatical parts (it is okay to imply a subject). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Press the Next button to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start playing a file or </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skip to the next file </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Press the Next button to do one of the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Start playing a file </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Skip to the next file </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W2. Write in active voice. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid passive voice (a form of to be + a verb in past tense) by naming the subjects or “actors” of your sentences whenever possible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the imperative form for steps and instructions (e.g., “Press the button,” “Enter a password.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An ID must be entered </li></ul><ul><li>The latch has been secured </li></ul><ul><li>Enter your user ID (implied “you”) </li></ul><ul><li>The latch is secure (present tense) </li></ul>
  12. 12. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W3. Avoid noun stacks (noun + noun + noun…) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use three nouns or fewer to name an object. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Break long noun strings with prepositions, when possible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use common, easy to remember names when possible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid creating new acronyms. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Press the mode switch key icon </li></ul><ul><li>… built-in Dual-level Security Code Encryption (DSCE) </li></ul><ul><li>Press the key icon to switch modes . </li></ul><ul><li>… built-in encryption that uses two levels of security codes . </li></ul>
  13. 13. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W4. Remember to include articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use articles to introduce nouns and show whether they are singular, plural, or collective (this improves translation for many languages). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enter user ID and password </li></ul><ul><li>Use appropriate keys to type your message </li></ul><ul><li>Enter a user ID and a password </li></ul><ul><li>Use the appropriate keys to type your message </li></ul>
  14. 14. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W4. Remember to include articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeat prepositions to make actions clear, especially around conjunctions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Press Next to add a new entry or save your entry </li></ul><ul><li>Press Next to add a new entry or to save your entry </li></ul>2 1a 1b 1
  15. 15. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W4. Remember to include articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Always use appropriate conjunctions (e.g., “Set or change the time” is very different from “Set and change the time). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t use “and/or” – choose the correct one! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This and that = (a + b) </li></ul><ul><li>This or that = (a); (b) </li></ul><ul><li>This and/or that = (a + b); (a); (b) </li></ul><ul><li>Enter your ID and press Enter = do both </li></ul><ul><li>Switch your computer on or off = do either </li></ul><ul><li>Save and/or send a file = do ??? </li></ul>
  16. 16. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W5. Standardize your terms and phrasing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use each technical term to represent only one object. Use the same term to refer to objects of the same type. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Flat-panel display </li></ul><ul><li>Flat-panel monitor </li></ul><ul><li>Flat-screen display </li></ul><ul><li>Flat-screen monitor </li></ul><ul><li>Widescreen display </li></ul><ul><li>Widescreen monitor </li></ul>
  17. 17. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W5. Standardize your terms and phrasing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use the same phrase to describe the same action. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To adjust the display settings, you must access the options menu </li></ul><ul><li>Alter the paper handling options by accessing the options menu </li></ul><ul><li>At the options menu, you can manipulate the timer settings </li></ul><ul><li>To change the display settings, go to the options menu </li></ul><ul><li>To change the paper handling settings, go to the options menu </li></ul><ul><li>To change the timer settings, go to the options menu </li></ul>
  18. 18. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W5. Standardize your terms and phrasing. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop terminology guides and style guides to support your standards (or adopt existing style guides, dictionaries, and standards). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider using a controlled vocabulary to limit the number of terms used in your documents. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W6. Avoid non-technical language when writing technical documents. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid jargon, slang, idioms, and colloquialisms (i.e., use language that all of your audiences will understand). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Cutting-edge technology. (latest) </li></ul><ul><li>Machine translation boils down to … (relies on) </li></ul><ul><li>A handful of hot new features (many popular) </li></ul>
  20. 20. How to Write for Global English Users <ul><li>W6. Avoid non-technical language when writing technical documents. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use clear, precise language when writing instructions or when describing things </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use the handy carrying case to store your stuff </li></ul><ul><li>Twist the object on the back cover… </li></ul><ul><li>Use the handy carrying case to store your accessories </li></ul><ul><li>Twist the screw on the back cover… </li></ul>
  21. 21. How to Design for Global English Users <ul><li>D1. Always consider your primary audience and its needs. Then consider your secondary audience and its needs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are your primary readers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where will they use your documents? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will they use your documents? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What problems do they need to solve? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are your secondary readers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How are they different from your primary readers? </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. How to Design for Global English Users <ul><li>D2. Design for translation—even if you don’t plan to translate the document. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Translated text may be 30-40% longer than the original text. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide clear navigational aids that don’t require translation (e.g., use numbers or colored tabs to denote chapters). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t embed text in your graphics. </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. How to Design for Global English Users <ul><li>D3. Use a neutral style in graphics and photos. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try to include photos or graphics that are relevant to a global audience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid images that are stereotypical or ethnocentric. </li></ul></ul>Readers associate images with many things: Gender Roles Religion Physical Challenges and more… Ethnicity Age Cultural Mores Nationality/Politics
  24. 24. How to Design for Global English Users <ul><li>D4. Make technical illustrations clear and universal. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use clear line illustrations that show single ideas, actions, or assembly steps. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be consistent with proportions, orientations, and labels. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use standardized or widely-accepted symbols, shapes, and styles to represent objects and actions. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. How to Design for Global English Users <ul><li>D5. Avoid offensive colors or designs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Color has different meanings to many cultures—choose your combinations carefully. </li></ul></ul>Death (Mexico), bloodshed (Africa), danger (US) Passion (US), love (Greece), luck (China), truth (India), holiness (Israel) Red Death (China), mourning (Taiwan) Purity (US), leisure (UK), victory (Africa), rebirth (India) White Death (UK), grief (Germany), mourning (Brazil) Formality (UK), respect (Mexico), sophistication (US) Black Unpleasant meanings Pleasant meanings Color
  26. 26. How to Design for Global English Users <ul><li>D5. Avoid offensive colors or designs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a color palette that coordinates with the corporate colors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid gratuitous use of color (e.g., for “decoration”). It is better to have a blank page in a manual than it is to offend or confuse your audience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research the possible meanings of logos and designs. </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Summary <ul><li>Global English is the lingua franca for a large portion of the world’s population. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of English users in the world are non-native speakers. </li></ul><ul><li>If you write documents to support both global English users and translation , you will create documents that can be understood and used by a larger number of people. </li></ul><ul><li>Design documents with global audiences in mind to enhance usability. </li></ul>
  28. 28. Thank you for attending Creating Technical Documents in English for Global Audiences
  29. 29. Resources <ul><li>Graddol, David. English Next . 2006. British Council, UK </li></ul><ul><li>Graddol, David. The Future of English. 2000. British Council, UK </li></ul><ul><li>Kohl, John R. The Top Ten Global English Guidelines. 2005. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina, USA </li></ul><ul><li>Singh, Nitish and Pereira, Arun. The Culturally Customized Web Site: Customizing Web Sites for the Global Marketplace. 2005. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, UK </li></ul><ul><li>The Top Ten Global English Guidelines , is © 2005, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.  All Rights Reserved.  Reproduced with permission of SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC </li></ul>

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