tekom / tcworld 2012 Review: Content, Technical Communication and Translation Take Center Stage

tcworld

More than 3700 visitors converged on Wiesbaden, Germany back on October 23 – 25, 2012 for he world’s largest event in the field of technical communication, the tekom annual fair and tcworld conference 2012.

The conference program, given in both German and English, featured seven tracks for the international community. The English program covered: Content Strategies, International Management, Localization and Translation, Language Technologies, Mobile Documentation, Technical Authoring, Terminology and User Assistance. The Content Strategies track included a full day forum and workshops presented  in cooperation Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler.

Several hundred attendees flocked to a wide range of sessions dedicated to content strategy and technical communication.  Classes on offer included conducting a content inventory, planning for global projects, and creating device-agnostic, adaptive content for mobile devices.

The audience was particularly mesmerized by the visually-rich service repair manuals created by the folks at iFixit.com. CEO Kyle Wiens showed attendees how to build a mobile-ready service repair manual.

The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) once again hosted the GALA localization track, offering a variety of speakers addressing the hot topics of the day, including multilingual web, mobile apps, agile localization, quality assessment, and more.

Three key themes underpinned the  GALA discussions:

  1. localization is not something you do to content, it is content;
  2. localization is the indispensable means of accessing global products and services; and
  3. localization represents your brand, so it requires the same attention as all aspects of branding.

“Localization is increasingly at the center of content, rather than on the periphery. GALA continues to stress the importance of linking technical communication with localization to improve the global user experience,” remarked Hans Fenstermacher, CEO of GALA

In addition to great presentations, tekom lived up to its reputation as the marketplace for technical communication. More than 200 exhibitors participated in the fair, which on its own attracted 1,200 visitors (not including the conference attendees). Many exhibitors provided popular tool demonstrations, while others were there to answer questions.  Most of the companies exhibiting were German, but at least seventy-four of the companies exhibiting operate in European and international arenas, such as Adobe Systems, MapCap Software, and Moravia.

tekom, together with partner associations, international guests and exhibitors were present in the Trade Fair, taking advantage of the opportunity to establish or renew contacts with experts from different countries and learn about the challenges that technical communicators face in other regions of the world. This year, associations from the United States, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, France, India, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia were represented.

“tekom/tcworld proved again to be an excellent conference and exhibition. The participants are engaged and very interested in expanding their knowledge of new technologies and new ideas.  We find that to be especially true when we talk to them about translating content for humanity,” said Rebecca Petras, of the Translators without Borders organization. “They overwhelmingly want to learn more about our charity and our goals. We will continue to see tekom /tcworld as an important place to meet decision-makers throughout the content, technical writing and translation industries.”

When asked about the differences between the tekom/tcworld conference and fair and other conferences, especially when it comes to the conference’s large number of attendees, Dr. Michael Fritz, CEO of tekom and tcworld GmbH, answered, ”Maybe the most striking difference is that it is really international, although many visitors come from German-speaking countries. And then there’s the Expo – really big professional booths with more than 200 companies from all around the world.

“Why is it so big? Obviously people like to visit this market place, learn and do business there. Our empirical data show that there are round about 83,000 people working in the tech comm field, in Germany alone,” Fritz continued.

The conference also offers many opportunities to network with people from all over the world, such as the official tcworld International networking dinner, held in a swanky restaurant in downtown Wiesbaden, and an after-conference party.  Many companies also hold ‘booth’ parties and arrange happy hour in the nearby restaurants.

tekom is Europe’s largest trade and professional association for technical communication, with current membership of more than 7700. The Association’s work is conducted by 180 volunteer members in collaboration with the professional staff.  The organization focuses on the development of the field of technical communication profession and the professional support of its members, while its economic activities, such as tcworld and tcworld India, have been outsourced to the tcworld GmbH.

For more information regarding tekom/tcworld events please visit http://conferences.tekom.de.

Julie DiRosa

Julie DiRosa is International Project Manager for tcworld GmbH

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