A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

International

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1.
#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

2.
#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

3.
#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

4.
#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

5.
#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

6.
#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

7.
#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

8.
#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

9.
#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

10.
#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

11.
#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

12.
#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

13.
#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

14.
#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

15.
#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

16.
#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

17.
#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

18.
#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

19.
#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

20.
#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

21.
#35069

conneXions: International Professional Communication Journal   (peer-reviewed)

The journal is dedicated to promoting and developing efficient and effective single and multimedia communication and its constituent communities in local, national, international, and global worksite and civic settings. The publication's major topics lie at the intersection of International Professional Communication.

ConneXions Journal. Journals>Business Communication>TC>International

22.
#27736

Constructing Public Support: EU Communication Challenges for the Process of Integration   (PDF)

This study aims at providing a new perspective on the question of public spheres and the European Union. Previous studies on public sphere and the European Union dealt with general trends and patterns of news reporting in Europe, the national prospective of mass media reporting, or with mass media as vehicle of political participation and as a form of media culture, but few have tried to understand what journalists think about EU information and how media relations could be strengthen in order to increase public discourses. This study is based on findings of a current research project about EU communication strategies in Finland and in Italy. Specifically the statistical data gather in these two member states shows the necessity to improve media relations between EU institutions and their press offices and national mass media. In this paper I will discuss about the role of mass media in enhancing public debate on EU, the different types of public spheres for the European Union and their implications and EU’s necessity to strength public debate and citizens’ participation to its decision-making.

Valentini, Chiara. Chiara Valentini Communication Management (2006). Articles>Communication>International>Europe

23.
#31457

Corporate Social Responsibility and Globalization: A Reassessment

Social responsibility, in one form or another, has been on the minds of businesses for over 100 years. By running a business that the community, local and global, can be proud of, corporations are able to create a climate of compassion that could likely translate into consumer support. Some have argued that adopting CSR standards allows companies to build brand value by imbuing their brands with ideas, emotions and beliefs that appeal to consumers. The cost of building brand value with social responsibility initiatives is usually cheaper than trying to achieve the same effect through advertising and public relations.

Frost, Randall. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>International

24.
#37136

Cross-Cultural Blunders in Professional Communication from a Semantic Perspective   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Cross-cultural blunders caused by inappropriate use of language are a common problem in international professional communication. They cause misunderstanding, lead to business failures, and tend to be offensive at times. Such blunders may occur in business ads, slogans, products names, and instructions. Understanding their causes and finding solutions to them are of importance in international professional communication. By examining specific cases, the article analyzes the causes that lead to such blunders from a semantic perspective and concludes that indiscriminate use of the semantic meaning of a word, a lexical form, lexical sound, numbers, color words, and animal names of the target language is the major cause of causing cultural blunders in international professional communication. Along the way, the article also offers solutions to the problems identified.

Zhu, Pinfan. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2010). Articles>Business Communication>International>Language

25.
#29637

Cross-Cultural Considerations for Designing International Internet-Based Learning   (PDF)

As increasing numbers of multinational corporations, consultants, universities, and instructional designers create Internet-based learning (IBL) courses or require courses to be taken via the Internet, not all are aware of the need to adjust their design expectations and assumptions due to cross-cultural considerations involved in such online courses. Eight critical considerations discussed in this paper include the following: language, culture, technical infrastructure, local/global perspective, learning styles, reasoning patterns, high/low context communication, and social context. Recommendations are listed for low-context designers to design with more cultural sensitivity for global learners and also for high- context learners who take low-context IBL courses.

Vawn Tinney, Mari, Joanne P. H. Bentley and Bing-Howe Chia. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>Education>Online>International

 
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