Perhaps in the past, the only folks in technical communication who had to worry about translation were those working for the very largest of companies, or in academia. These days, multiple language web sites, help systems, and a variety of materials printed in at least a few languages are the norm rather than the exception. At least that’s how it appears to observers of discussion boards, blogs and various tech comm and content management conferences and webinars. But adding translated content to already heavy workloads isn’t easy or quick, and we know that out in the trenches, best practices are often trumped by the realities of budget and time. So we wanted to use this week’s technical communication poll to gauge how professionals are currently handling translation and localization work.
Perhaps your organization is so small or specialized that you cannot or need not put much effort into translating content—Google translation might be good enough for the bean counters watching every dime. Or, you utilize translation services on a project or document basis, and manage the transfer of translated content to your production environment in a pretty manual (read copy & paste) fashion. Has your company invested in terminology management, machine translation or translation memory technology? If so how well integrated into your content production processes is it?
We’re also curious about what happens after you get the translated content. How does it get reviewed, not only for technical accuracy, but also for cultural appropriateness? If you’re lucky enough to be working in an organization that has integrated technology and processes, we’d love to hear how well your workflows handle management of content across multiple languages. Or if translation and localization is handled differently by the departments responsible for designing the product or marketing it.
Please take a few minutes to vote in this week’s technical communication poll, and provide some feedback on your current processes, challenges, and needs for information. We’ll try to address them as we look at “The Global in Globalization” during March on TechWhirl. And as always, feel free to start or respond to a thread on the email discussion list, or visit our section on localization to get up to speed.