A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

International

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1.
#20904

ABC Intercultural Committee  (link broken)

The Intercultural Committee of the Association for Business Communication is a resource for the members of the organization: to promote awareness of intercultural and international differences and similarities; to foster excellence in intercultural business communication research; to honor and celebrate cultural diversity in classrooms, in businesses, and in corporations; and to allow for different culture-driven communication styles.

Association for Business Communication. Organizations>Business Communication>International

2.
#22641

Achieving International Communication Success  (link broken)

The world is getting smaller in terms of how fast information gets passed around and, at the same time, larger. Larger in the sense that there are new markets, new languages, and new cultures to understand, as we market and sell around the world.

Winters, Elaine. bena.com (1999). Articles>Business Communication>International

3.
#37428

Activity Theory, Speech Acts, and the ‘‘Doctrine of Infelicity’’: Connecting Language and Technology in Globally Networked Learning Environments   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article draws on activity theory, politics of the artifact, and speech act theory to analyze how language practices and technology interplay in establishing the social relationships necessary for globally networked teams. Specifically, it uses activity theory to examine how linguistic infelicities and the politics of communication technologies interplay in virtual meetings, thereby demonstrating the importance of grounding professional communication instruction in social as well as technical effectiveness. That is, students must learn not only how to communicate technical concepts clearly and concisely and recognize cultural differences but also how to use language and choose media in ways that produce the social conditions necessary for effective collaboration in globally networked environments. The article analyzes two case studies—a workplace and a classroom—that illustrate how the mediating functions of language and the politics of technology intersect as mediating tools in globally networked activity systems. It then traces the implications of that intersection for professional communication theory and pedagogy.

McNair, Lisa D. and Marie C. Paretti. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2010). Articles>Education>International>Activity Theory

4.
#24518

All Business Students Need to Know the Same Things! The Non-Culture-Specific Nature of Communication Needs   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article challenges the conventional approach to cross-cultural communication teaching that instructs students to adapt their communication styles to different cultures by providing them with details about the particular practices of these cultures. It argues for an approach that focuses on common principles of effective communication by pointing out some limitations of the current culture-specific approach and presenting a pilot study that indicates the commonality of communication needs. It suggests some ways to find a different approach for studying international communication and shows that some current research is, in fact, moving in that direction.

Goby, Valerie Priscilla. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (1999). Articles>Business Communication>International

5.
#33452

American English vs. British English for Web Content

Users pay attention to details in a site's writing style, and they'll notice if you use the wrong variant of the English language.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Usability>Writing>International

6.
#10145

Anthropology and International Education via the Internet  (link broken)

Tomoko Hamada and Kathleen Scott describe a collaborative classroom experience between students at the College of William and Mary and at Keio University, looking at the pros and cons of this international experiment. Their research helps to assess that collaboration, and draw conclusions that can be useful in understanding how people use technology to communicate, and how cultural differences affect that communication.

Hamada, Tomoko and Kathleen Scott. Journal of Electronic Publishing (2000). Articles>Education>Online>International

7.
#29625

Asian Cultural Backgrounds for International Technical Communication  (link broken)   (PDF)

The communication styles of Asian people have often been seen by Westerners as part of a single, unified 'Oriental culture.' However, there are observable differences in communication strategies among them, mainly Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans. The present research attempts to reveal the deep structure of their thinking and behavior that affects writing styles in international technical communication. Its purpose is to overcome stereotypes, and to understand better similarity and diversity within East Asian countries.

Otsuka, Yoshihiro, Kenji Hitomi and Eiichi Yubune. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>TC>International>Asia

8.
#24100

Attributing Meaning to Corporate Logos: A Cross Cultural Comparison  (link broken)   (Word)

Visual symbols are an essential part of corporate communication. The development of an appropriate corporate logo is an expensive and a time-intensive process. This study examines the meaning of visual form as perceived via corporate identity. Global economies demand that such symbols carry consistent meaning across cultures. 170 subjects from the U.S. and Hong Kong participated in a survey that identified positive business attributes associated with six logos. Another 60 subjects (30 from the U.S., 30 from Hong Kong) participated in focus groups and collectively discussed and collectively identified attributes as related to certain logos. Results indicate that there was agreement between and within groups on the perception of attributes with specific shapes. There were no significant differences between cultural groups.

Martinson, Barbara and Sauman Chu. University of Alberta (2003). Design>Graphic Design>Visual Rhetoric>International

9.
#33681

Avoid Culturally Specific References

One of the tenets of good technical communication is to avoid culturally specific references, especially if your material is to be translated into other languages. But what’s a culturally specific reference? In simple terms, it’s a word or phrase that has meaning for members of a cultural group, but has limited meaning, no meaning, or some other meaning for people outside that group.

CyberText Consulting (2009). Articles>Writing>International>Technical Writing

10.
#31618

Avoiding Global Misunderstandings   (PDF)

When we think of miscommunication across national boundaries, the mostmemorable blunders often relate to problems with translation. Butthere are far more subtle pitfalls thatcan occur. Here, Angela Sinickas shares some of the common mistakes that can lead global communications to miss the mark.

Sinickas, Angela D. Sinickas Communications (2004). Articles>Business Communication>International

11.
#31364

Avoiding Wrong Turns in the Shrinking Global Village

With the global village growing smaller every year, more and more communication professionals are taking on assignments that span a wide range of countries and cultures. Cross-border responsibilities require that you constantly expand your horizons and learn about new places and people. At the same time, it can be more than a little daunting to get up to speed on each country’s business and social conventions—and when the two do and don’t mix.

Bird, Shelley. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Business Communication>International>Cultural Theory

12.
#18828

Basic International Technical Communication   (PDF)

International technical communication is the profession of the present and most definitely of the future. Businesses around the world need technical communicators who are skilled in communicating with a multicultural audience and who are comfortable working as members of international teams. This workshop introduces you to some basic skills you need to master to be successful as an international technical communicator. The skills this workshop focuses on are: performing an international user analysis, identifying cultural bias, generating a glossary for translators, and designing a page with translation and the international user in mind.

Hoft, Nancy L. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>TC>International

13.
#27982

Best of Show -- Winners of STC's International Competitions   (PDF)

Read about the Best of Show winners of the 2005•2006 competitions in international technical art, international online communication, and international technical publications. Also, meet the winner of the international student technical communication competition.

Intercom (2006). Articles>TC>Document Design>International

14.
#23602

Bits and PCs: Designing Icons for Software Interfaces   (PDF)

When creating icons for internationally-marketed software products there are many factors that the icon designer should consider. Whilst the users' needs are paramount, other considerations will influence the final designs. These include the technical requirements and established visual design style of the operating system, legal issues and the avoidance of culturally sensitive images. The process for gathering information, designing, and building icons is also important. To assist the icon designer there are many valuable resources available, these range from reference books, to web resources maintained by the major platform providers, and published International Standards addressing software icons and symbols.

Hodgkinson, Richard N.P. STC Proceedings (2003). Design>Graphic Design>International

15.
#19394

Border Crossing: The Role of Design Research in International Product Development   (peer-reviewed)

At a time when theorists write of globalization as a global and local process, businesses can little afford to make assumptions about customers, even in traditional markets. This paper addresses the importance of applied design research, in the context of globalism, to the initial stages of product development. Products are understood here to include three-dimensional objects like appliances and furniture as well as communication products like software. Current debates about cultural identity in the context of widespread travel and global media are outlined. The possibility for research to identify the criteria of cultural appropriateness and acceptance of products is explored, and an argument for applied research as imperative for product design in today?s international business arena is advanced. The essay concludes with an appendix outlining an array of relevant research methods.

Roberts, Melody. AIGA (2001). Design>Web Design>International

16.
#14386

Bridging Cultures: Working Overseas   (PDF)

Working in another country can be a rewarding, exciting experience. Preparing for an overseas job, however, involves more than sorting out visas, work permits, inoculations, and currency exchanges. You must also learn as much as possible about the host culture in order to avoid some of the more unpleasant “cultural pitfalls” discussed in this session. Once you are aware of these issues, you can reasonably assess whether an overseas project is right for you.

Guren, Leah. STC Proceedings (1998). Presentations>TC>International

17.
#10349

Building a Truly World Wide Web: A Review of the Essentials of International Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Though the Web knows no borders, linguistic, cultural, technological and legal barriers have confined most of the Web's growth to the United States. Only by addressing these challenges will Web authors reach a truly worldwide audience. This review of contemporary literature examines the current demographics of Web usage and the challenges these demographics reveal. Next, I describe some of the prevailing maxims guiding Web authors, and other technical communicators involved in the creation of World Wide Web content with the intent of reaching international audiences, and explain how and why these approaches are effective. Finally, I address contemporary thought on what can be achieved by making the World Wide Web a true international medium.

Arnold, Mitchell D. Technical Communication Online (1998). Articles>Web Design>International

18.
#29541

Business Communication Needs: A Multicultural Perspective   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

How should we teach international business communication? What role can multiculturalism play in the business communication classroom? Can we identify a set of business communication requirements that are valid across different cultures? This article enters this discussion by presenting a small empirical study of the business communication needs expressed by postgraduate students in a North Cyprus university and comparing it to similar studies conducted in the United States and Singapore. The findings reveal some interesting correspondences between the needs expressed by students in these different countries. In addition, the multicultural environment of the North Cyprus university studied suggests that multicultural interaction increases students' sensitivity to the need for a nonethnocentric approach to international communication. The findings also indicate that respondents in multicultural settings may be more inclined to engage in groupthink because of their heightened awareness of cultural differences and their wish to avoid conflict.

Goby, Valerie Priscilla. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2007). Articles>Business Communication>International

19.
#34883

Business Communication Needs: A Multicultural Perspective   (peer-reviewed)

How should we teach international business communication? What role can multiculturalism play in the business communication classroom? Can we identify a set of business communication requirements that are valid across different cultures? This article enters this discussion by presenting a small empirical study of the business communication needs expressed by postgraduate students in a North Cyprus university and comparing it to similar studies conducted in the United States and Singapore. The findings reveal some interesting correspondences between the needs expressed by students in these different countries. In addition, the multicultural environment of the North Cyprus university studied suggests that multicultural interaction increases students' sensitivity to the need for a nonethnocentric approach to international communication. The findings also indicate that respondents in multicultural settings may be more inclined to engage in groupthink because of their heightened awareness of cultural differences and their wish to avoid conflict.

Goby, Valerie Priscilla. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2007). Articles>Education>Business Communication>International

20.
#14391

Cases in International Technical Communication   (PDF)

Solve complex and real cases in international technical communication with your peers. Have fun, learn a lot, and meet interesting people while you’re at it!

Hoft, Nancy L. STC Proceedings (1998). Presentations>TC>International

21.
#14217

Commentary on International Learning   (peer-reviewed)

This article, subtitled “Audience Analysis and Instructional System Design for Successful Learning and Performance,” by Margaret Martinez is a must-read for all committed to seeing to it that technologies keep their promises and achieve their potential. There is a propensity among technology proponents to disregard, or at least to minimize the importance of, individual differences among learners and the impact of differences in learning. While the research design, execution, and fi ndings are significant it is important to recognize this work for what it is—a meaningful addition to a less-than-adequate body of knowledge. In our (still) instruction-centered educational environment it is still frustratingly diffi cult to elicit recognition that we are all different in many ways and that includes how we learn. Ms. Martinez has provided us with a contemporary update on individual difference data which flows well from her excellent historical review.

Russell, Thomas L. Journal of Computer Documentation (2000). Articles>Education>Instructional Design>International

22.
#31704

Communicating for Diversity

Increasing diversity in the workplace and general marketplace is making it increasingly difficult to communicate effectively - whether you're a medical communicator, a procedure writer, a freelance copywriter or a web content writer. This article looks at two main types of barriers to effective communications - global barriers and gender barriers - and then provides insight on the tools available that can help overcome these communication barriers.

Harris, Kerri. Writing Assistance (2006). Articles>Business Communication>International>Gender

23.
#13095

Communicating with International and Multinational Audiences   (PDF)

Preparing technical documentation is always a challenge. The challenges in preparing technical documentation for a multinational or international audience are even greater.

Stewart, Sharon D. and Sara M. Stohl. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>Communication>International

24.
#18950

Conducting International Usability

As business on the Web matures, organizations increasingly pay attention to the first two Ws in WWW -- World Wide. Companies with international sales offices crave a distinct Web presence in each locale to demonstrate seriousness in that local market. Multi-national companies often use intranets to unify global teams. Maintaining global consistency requires centralizing these Web efforts (usually within corporate headquarters), yet this must accommodate distinct approaches to working which vary from region to region. User testing is a valuable tool in such situations, but how does one conduct user tests internationally? This essay draws from my experience leading an international user testing project, and I hope you can learn from my mistakes and successes.

Merholz, Peter. Adaptive Path (2002). Articles>Usability>International

25.
#33186

Conducting International Usability

User testing is a valuable tool, but how does one conduct user tests internationally? This essay draws from my experience leading an international user testing project, and I hope you can learn from my mistakes and successes.

Merholz, Peter. Adaptive Path (2003). Articles>Usability>Testing>International

 
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