A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)

Ever wonder about that mysterious Content-Type tag? You know, the one you're supposed to put in HTML and you never quite know what it should be? I've been dismayed to discover just how many software developers aren't really completely up to speed on the mysterious world of character sets, encodings, Unicode, all that stuff.

Spolsky, Joel. Joel on Software (2003). Articles>Language>Standards>Unicode


An Academic Strikes Back: Transgressing the Genre of Bureaucracy

The rhetorical event described in this article shows that the rhetor can introduce an alien genre into a community of practice and createa kairotic moment.

Tachino, Tosh. Newsletter of the CASLL (2003). Articles>Language>Rhetoric


American Translators Association

Welcome to the American Translators Association. This site will help you learn more about the American Translators Association and the translation and interpretation professions. Please give us your feedback. Thanks for visiting ATA's Website.

ATA. Organizations>Language>Translation>Localization


Amusing Blunders  (link broken)

For fun, Asterisks.com shares some amusing blunders collected by editors.

Asterisks.com (1999). Humor>Language>Writing>Localization


Ask Dr. International  (link broken)

This online column is devoted entirely to internationalization and all of its related issues. Dr. International's focus is in the area of his actual work, the Windows International group (responsible for the global support in products such as Windows 2000 and Windows XP, but anything international that is related to Microsoft products can be fair game here!

Microsoft. Resources>Language>Localization


Ask mb: What the TK?

Confused by wacky mag-world jargon? From the lede to the kicker, with a nut graf in between, here's mb's handy glossary.

Mitchell, Celeste. mediabistro.com (2003). Articles>Language>Publishing>Writing


Assessing “Translation Readiness”: A Maturity Model  (link broken)   (PDF)

The importance of competent translation is becoming increasingly evident. Many companies are unsure of how to deal with the conflicts of high volume, fast turn-around and reasonable cost. We propose five levels of “translation readiness” or maturity: Reactionism, Quality Awareness, Consistency, Long- Term Solutions and Continuous Improvement. These levels indicate an organization’s ability to manage high volumes of translation more quickly while keeping costs under control. While recognizing the uniqueness of each organization, we propose that assessing the level of “readiness” can lead to improvements in quality, cost, and turn-around time.

Iverson, Steven P. and Heidi E. Kuehn. STC Proceedings (1998). Presentations>Language>Localization


Assessing Proficiency in Engineering English   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Though engineers around the world conduct their work in nearly every language on the planet, there are very few who never use English for some aspect of their job. The largest professional engineering organizations use English as their primary language; most of the world’s engineering publications are written in English; and nearly all cooperative ventures with multinational participation choose English for their common language of communication. Unfortunately, most of the world’s engineers are not native speakers of English and thus are considerably disadvantaged in professional terms.

Orr, Thomas. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication (2002). Articles>Language>Assessment


Association of Translation Companies

Founded in 1976, the ATC is, perhaps, one of oldest professional groups representing the interests of translation companies in the world. It is dedicated not only to representing the interests of translation companies, but also to serving the needs of translation purchasers.

ATC. Organizations>Language>Localization


Authoring and Documentation Workflow Tools for Haitian Creole: A Minority Language

Although research has been conducted by several institutes on how to process written text for minority and vernacular languages, no academic research project thus far seems to have produced a usable, functional, authoring or translation tool for end-user native speakers of these types of languages. On the other hand, a set of software programs has been in the making for twenty years outside of academia.

Mason, Marilyn. TC-FORUM (2000). Articles>Language>Localization>Machine Translation


Automating the Acquisition of Bilingual Terminology   (peer-reviewed)

As the acquisition problem of bilingual lists of terminological expressions is formidable, it is worthwhile to investigate methods to compile such lists as automatically as possible. In this paper we discuss experimental results for a number of methods, which operate on corpora of previously translated texts.

van der Eijk, Pim. Association for Computational Linguistics (1993). Articles>Language>Linguistics


Babel Not: Machine Translation for the Technical Communicator  (link broken)

Machine Translation, though useful in certain cases, is still not, and may never be the one-size-fits-all solution for translation needs. Any translation used for commercial or professional purposes must be at the very least checked and double-checked by human translators.

WTB Language Group (2005). Articles>Language>Localization>Machine Translation


Babelfish: Real-Time Machine Translation on the Internet

On December 9, 1997, Digital Equipment Corporation and SYSTRAN A.G. launched AltaVista Translation Service, the first European language translation service for Web content. For the first time, non-English speaking users can translate information on the predominantly English speaking Web in real time.

Ament, Kurt. TC-FORUM (1998). Articles>Language>Localization>Machine Translation


Back to the Future: Instructional Practices and Discourse Values   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

When I think of writing-across-the curriculum—especially when asked to look toward the future, I am drawn to looking back to my initial involvement in WAC in the mid-1970's.

Herrington, Anne J. LLAD (1997). Articles>Language>Writing Across the Curriculum


Benchmarking Translation Agencies   (PDF)

Whether you are new at the translation business or a veteran of many globalization projects, a benchmarking study of your translation supplier(s) is a worthwhile endeavor. In benchmarking, you compare suppliers against one another based on specific criteria. The suppliers’ performance in the study can reassure you that your current relationship is a good one, or can lead to you a more compatible agency.

Finan, Jill. STC International TC SIG (2001). Articles>Language>Outsourcing>Translation


Benefits and Issues of Binary Localization

The process of localizing C/C++ Windows applications has evolved considerably over its relatively short life span. Due to the demands of fierce global markets, the localization industry has progressed from rather painful methods of localizing bulky and inconvenient source files to using highly sophisticated tools that allow for a quicker and considerably more efficient process of directly localizing binary files. Taking advantage of these localization tools and switching to a binary strategy has proven to provide many benefits that streamline and expedite the process of localization. The classic approach to localization involved translating hundreds of resource (RC) files and resizing dialogs using tools such as Microsoft Developer Studio. As newer builds of the same products started being released more frequently and translators' work became more repetitive, localizers started to take advantage of various translation database tools to help save translation time. While database tools with RC filters streamlined part of the translation process and allowed translators to begin their efforts sooner, it was still fairly tedious, time consuming, and error prone to resize graphical user interface elements separately for each build. Localizers therefore started to combine aspects of translation database technology and visual editing into tools focused exclusively on software localization. Currently, the localization industry is taking its next evolutionary step; leaving behind a tiresome and time consuming RC-based process for the quicker and cleaner process of directly localizing precompiled binary modules. Today's advanced localization tools promise to provide integrated localization solutions that allow translators and engineers to work directly with binaries saving enormous amounts of time and effort.

Syed, Sarosh. SDL International. Articles>Language>Localization>Software


Best Approach for Chinese into English Translation!  (link broken)

By managing large projects involving Chinese translation into English in the past two years, it has taught me that in handling this language pair, the ideal candidate is not native English-speakers, but native Chinese-speakers living abroad.

Zhang, Yi. WTB Language Group (2005). Articles>Language>Localization>China


The Best Machine

Several weeks ago, a supercilious colleague informed me that spell checkers and grammar checkers had rendered editors and proofreaders obsolete. When I attempted to explain that electronic grammar and spelling checkers are not reliable because they yield false negatives and false positives, she disagreed strongly. I went on to further explain that language is more complex than any computer can fathom, and that until artificial intelligence truly arrives, the best grammar checking program will continue to live between our ears. I am sorry to say that my colleague arrogantly declared that I was mistaken. I wrote the verse below in her honor.

Kasper, Rosa. MetroVoice (2002). Articles>Language>Word Processing


Best Practices for Globalization and Localization  (link broken)

Dos and don'ts from pros! This article advises on technical, cultural and political issues of software localization.

Microsoft (2004). Articles>Language>Localization


A Bomb or a Tobacco Pipe?

A good understanding of the subject matter or the access to a specialist is an important element in technical writing and translation. It is a quality issue that I don’t believe too many people in the business would dispute. In Brazil, however, the creation and translation of technical material has increasingly become a problem exactly because this factor is being overlooked.

Destro, Delio. TC-FORUM (1999). Articles>Language>Localization


Borders Are Not Barriers: Running a Multilingual Tech Pubs Competition   (PDF)

This presentation is aimed at all those who would like to either participate in a Technical Publications Competition in a language other than English or organize multilingual Technical Publications in their chapter. And we hope you will! We briefly describe why and how we came to organize multilingual competition in the France Chapter. There is some practical information but feel free to ask us questions. We will do our best to answer you.

O'Neill, Jennifer and Patricia McClelland. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Language>Assessment


Bug Reporting in Localization Projects  (link broken)

Don't turn down a project just because part of it requires work in another language. With a little forethought, you'll see that it's not "rocket science" after all, and that it's not so different from testing the original version of the product. In fact, the quality assurance team that works on the original version of the product is the one best suited to testing the localized versions.

Watts, Edward. STC International TC SIG (2005). Articles>Language>Localization


Building Language Theory   (PDF)

Technical communicators need information about the nature and uses of language. Developing a working theory of language helps technical communicators conceptualize the qualities of good technical writing. Theory development and its application are especially important considering how rapidly technology changes the nature, function, and means of technical communication.

Fink, Bonnie L. and Gary M. Heba. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Language>Theory


But, Having Said That, ...

A persistent rule of thumb in the programming trade is the 80/20 rule: '80 percent of the useful work is performed by 20 percent of the code.' As with gas mileage, your performance statistics may vary, and given the mensurational vagaries of body parts such as thumbs (unless you take the French pouce as an exact nonmetric inch), you may prefer a 90/10 partition of labor. With some of the bloated code-generating meta-frameworks floating around, cynics have suggested a 99/1 rule—if you can locate that frantic 1 percent. Whatever the ratio, the concept has proved useful in performance tuning.

Kelly-Bootle, Stan. Queue (2006). Articles>Language>History>Minimalism


Buying Maturity in Localization

The first time I heard about maturity models was when Lionbridge acquired an organization in India that was operating under CMM Level 5 certification. CMM, I learned, stands for Capability Maturity Model and is a framework that describes how organizations define and refine their key process areas. The framework, developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute, defines five different levels of process maturity, of which Level 5 (“optimizing") is the highest achievable level.

Esselink, Bert. GALAxy Newsletter (2006). Articles>Language>Localization



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