A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

TC World

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Authoring Teams Become More Geographically Dispersed

Working with people from around the globe has become common practice for both authoring teams and technical documentation professionals. A recent survey conducted by SDL investigated the development of global authoring. The results were compared to surveys from 2007 and 2006. They reveal trends in working methods and shed light on the effects of globalization on global authoring.

Hurst, Sophie. TC World (2008). Articles>Writing>Collaboration>Teleconferencing


The Biggest Challenge is Determining Where to Go

Outsourcing has become a solid strategy for organizations looking to improve productivity and reduce costs. Today, companies are no longer asking “should we do this?” but rather, “what region makes the most sense?” Outsourcing Institute’s Frank Casale shares why a successful partnership starts with ‘transformation mindset’ and what factors should be considered when outsourcing offshore.

Achille, Jeanne. TC World (2009). Articles>Management>Outsourcing


Can You Explain that Again? DITA for Beginners

DITA is a difficult thing to explain to the uninitiated. It is difficult because we expect it to be a product or a technology, when it is actually a standard and a methodology. DITA provides an approach to technical writing that embraces best practice ideals such as modularity, single-sourcing, and content re-use. The reasons for moving to DITA are business-focused.

Self, Tony. TC World (2011). Articles>Content Management>XML>DITA


Challenging and Being Challenged: Westerners' Encounter with the Indian Culture

Historically India attracted a lot of Western attention due to its different and complex culture, its spiritual philosophy and rich natural resources. Obviously, this attraction had both positive and negative effects. However, during the many centuries of colonization the country tried to safeguard its unique cultures and value systems. Nowadays, India as a country with a booming economy and a relatively stable democratic system looks even more promising to the West. All this explains the growing stream of foreign tourists, business people and researchers.

Groznaya, Elena and Pranjali Bandhu. TC World (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Regional>India


Change Management – An Underestimated Success Factor

Although the creation and translation of technical documents are essential parts of the product lifecycle they still play a subordinate role in most international organizations. Many companies are therefore leaving these tasks to an outsourcing provider. To ensure a smooth collaboration and guarantee high quality technical documents, the outsourcing process needs to be planned and supported thoroughly.

Grosser, Sabine and Rob Heemels. TC World (2008). Articles>Content Management>Outsourcing>Technical Writing


Comprehensibility as an Economic Factor

How can you guarantee a clearly understandable user manual? Is it even possible to measure the quality of technical documents or does comprehensibility merely depend on the reader? To answer these questions for the Porsche AG, content analysis provider semiotis³ developed a model to help measure the quality of documents.

Eybe, Angelika and David Messelken. TC World (2009). Articles>Documentation>Usability>Assessment


Conflict of Generations: Business Culture of Contemporary Russia

Doing business in a foreign country and encountering an unfamiliar business culture can be a complex and strenuous activity. Even more so, if the country is torn between three different business cultures and mentalities. This is the case in contemporary Russia.

Groznaya, Elena. TC World (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Regional>Russia


Current Financial Crisis and Latin American Translation

In the current global financial crisis, Latin America has at least one advantage over most parts of the world. Crisis mode is the norm, rather than the exception, and presumably this means that people here consider what is happening to the world economy far less threatening than people in Europe and North America. The region is also one step removed from the closely interconnected economies of the western world, which means that the impact of the crisis has taken longer to see tangible effects. But does that mean Latin America is a safe haven from woes of the global financial crisis? I think not.

Bengtsson, Teddy. TC World (2009). Articles>Language>Localization>South America


Dispelling the Myths of Machine Translation

It is not surprising that myths, half-truths, and misunderstandings abound regarding machine translation: It seems as if the experience most players in the translation field have with this technology does not go beyond toying a little with one of the free online translation tools. Almost every week, I come across an article informing its readers either that machine translation is and always will be a complete waste of time or that machine translation, while being a waste of time today, might actually be useful some time in the distant future. In the hope of setting the record straight, here is a closer look at some of the most common myths about machine translation.

Muegge, Uwe. TC World (2008). Articles>Language>Localization>Machine Translation


Ensuring Quality in Outsourcing

Business Process Outsourcing has become a leading business model of our time. While the increasing pressure to cut cost is still among the primary drivers for this trend, today quality has become a major issue when it comes to choosing an outsourcing partner. Here is an overview of standards and models that help measure and improve the quality of outsourcing services.

Rouget, Roy. TC World (2009). Articles>Management>Outsourcing>Assessment


Formats for Electronic Books

In the publishing sector, e-books have been the hottest topic at least since 2009, even if multimedia has now come to be included under the keyword "enhanced e-books". In the USA, sales figures show that electronic books are picking up steadily. Technical documentation, too, is a field that is exploring the possibilities offered by e-books. "Technical" e-books are not sold, to be sure, as they are in the case of the conventional publishing industry, but the "tradition" of online help has been around for quite some time in this domain. E-books and their file formats thus extend the spectrum of the already existing formats.

Welsch, Ursula and Uwe Matrisch. TC World (2011). Articles>Publishing>Online>eBooks


The Growing Sector of Technical Communication in India

Over the past decades, technical communication in India has grown from an unknown profession to an indispensable part of many industries and sectors. A testimony to the maturity and significance of this professional field is the tremendous growth of the so-called TWIN community, representing the Technical Communicators of India.

Ramamurthy, Ramesh. TC World (2009). Articles>TC>Community Building>India


Holidays for Every Occasion

At the time I’m writing this column, it’s that “happy” time in the United States between the Thanksgiving holiday in late November (the fourth Thursday of the month) and the impending Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Well, the “happy” part is debatable, as this period has become characterized by the absolute chaos of shopping, the challenges of winter travel and the “holiday crunch” in the workplace to complete as much as possible before most everyone disappears for a week or two.

Edwards, Tom. TC World (2008). Articles>Collaboration>International


Improving Software Usability Through Embedded User Assistance

Integrating user assistance into the software interface is one of the best ways to increase the usability of your software application and thus make your customers more satisfied and successful. However, embedded help has the reputation of being difficult to develop and execute. Let’s take a look at a solution that makes it possible to quickly include an embedded, dynamic help pane in a software interface.

Bleiel, Nicky. TC World (2009). Articles>Usability>Software>Help


Intercultural Management at Škoda Auto

The merger of Škoda Auto and Volkswagen AG in 1991 compelled the tradition-bound Czech company for the first time to face the challenges of internationalization. Today Škoda is the largest industrial undertaking in the Czech Republic as the company sells its products in 100 countries worldwide. The Joint Venture with VW is regarded by the company as a successful marriage between the systematic, methodical and dependable approach of the Germans and the creative, improvising and proficient disposition of the Czechs.

Bila, Lenka. TC World (2008). Articles>Management>International>Case Studies


International Team Management

The last half century has seen enormous change impacting the way we work. The world is shrinking with advances in information technology playing a crucial role in facilitating the global expansion of organizations. International teams are now a common phenomenon with many large organizations structuring their workforce according to function rather than geography. Successful organizations do not hesitate to move their talents around the world to ensure that they have the right skills and knowledge in the right location when necessary. But what does it take to manage such a culturally diversified and geographically dispersed team?

Wellings, Cathy. TC World (2009). Careers>Management>Collaboration>International


Internationalizing Your Content: Authoring with Localization in Mind

Localization is the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language and culture. Internationalization is the precursor to localization and involves the process of planning, designing and implementing a culturally and technically neutral product, which can easily be localized. Internationalization helps decrease translation cost and speeds up time-to-market by addressing crucial technical, aesthetic, cultural, and linguistic issues at project start-up. It also has the unique advantage of streamlining not only the localization of your content but authoring in general.

Pietrangeli, Lisa. TC World (2009). Articles>Language>Localization>International


Interview with Michael Fritz

Dr. Michael Fritz is manging director at tekom. tcworld spoke with him about the effects of the global financial crisis on the organization and the technical communication sector as well as about tekom’s increased efforts to collaborate with organizations internationally.

Melville, Corinna. TC World (2010). Articles>Interviews>Technical Writing


Interview with Patrick Lambe: “Real Value Comes from Building Relationships”

An enormous amount of knowledge resides within international organizations. But how can the knowledge management (KM) team unlock this information and make it available to a large number of employees around the globe? How much knowledge should actually be shared and what kind of experience should not be passed on because it might hinder innovation and creative thinking? In an interview with tcworld KM expert Patrick Lambe answered these and many other questions.

Melville, Corinna. TC World (2009). Articles>Interviews>Knowledge Management>Organizational Communication


Interview with Robert Gibson: "Communicate Consistent Messages"

Being active in 190 countries around the world, mergers and acquistions are part of the business routine for the engineering conglemerate Siemens AG. A smooth integration process is vital for business success. Supporting this integration process is one of the tasks of Robert Gibson, senior consultant for training and projects at the Siemens headquarters in Munich, Germany. tcworld spoke to him about the challenge of integrating new corporate and national cultures.

Melville, Corinna. TC World (2008). Articles>Interviews>Business Communication>Workplace


Interview with Thomas Kaeslin: "Show Willingness to Adapt to Local Customs"

Thomas Kaeslin is Vice President and Director of ABB’s Robotics Division in Japan. Having lived and worked in Japan for ten years – with no fixed plans of returning to his home country Switzerland – he is well-integrated and holds rich experiences in the Japanese day-to-day business life.

Melville, Corinna. TC World (2008). Articles>Interviews>Regional>Japan


Invisible Difference: The Deep Culture of Japanese Values

Some visitors to Japan are disappointed. The images on tourist posters – the graceful curves of a temple, the enigmatic smile of the geisha – are hard to find in this industrialized, high-tech, post-modern society. “Westernization” is everywhere. Geishas and Samurais do not walk among the skyscrapers of the Shinjuku district in Tokyo. For foreigners doing business in Japan this perception gap can be a challenge.

Shaules, Joseph. TC World (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Regional>Japan


Layout of Japanese Documents

In order to provide guidance to those involved in the preparation of documents for the Japanese market, a special Japanese layout taskforce has developed the “Requirements for Japanese Text Layout”. Here is an insight into the content.

Graham, Tony. TC World (2009). Articles>Document Design>Localization>Japan


Listening to Social Media for Improving Technical Content

Technical writers can no longer ignore social media. Valuable (and not so valuable) information about your company, its products and possibly even its instruction manuals is being exchanged here on a daily basis. So how can you extract the clues from the chatter?

Calbay, Raymond. TC World (2014). Articles>Social Networking>Content Strategy>Other...


Managing Culture Change Within the Context of Mergers and Acquisitions

The generic term “mergers & acquisitions (M&A)” appeared for the first time at the end of the 19th century in the United States. In times of increased global competition, M&A activities have reached all regions of the world and are not solely concerning large enterprises. However, with many M&A projects never reaching the synergy effects that were expected of them, the successful integration of one company into another remains a challenge.

Bialek, Chantal. TC World (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Workplace>Policies and Procedures



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