Technical Communication

This is a blog where I want to share my experiences as a Technical Writer. Just like we experience many things in life which we wish to record somewhere. Likewise, I wish to share them here.

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Location: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Third STC Learning Session, Hyderabad

Date: May 7, 2005
Venue: Nokia India Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad

Topic: Internationalization for a Global Village

About the Speaker
Gurudutt R. Kamath is a technical writer and trainer based in Mumbai. He has 20 years of experience writing user manuals/online help. He has conducted several training programs for companies such as L & T Infotech, Aptech, and CSC (Noida). He has been published in Intercom, Indus, and several other STC publications. His DocuMentor column in IT People/Express Computer has encouraged many to take up technical writing. He was the Founder President of the India Chapter of STC and the Founder Owner of the TWIN mailing list. He has contributed several articles on technical writing in the Indian press. His views have been published in the Indian press and on several Web sites in the form of interviews and quotes.

The Session

Gurudutt R. Kamath talked on the different dimensions of :

  • Internationalization: Rationale for Internationalization
  • Writing for the International Market
  • Formats for Internationalization, and
  • Writing for Translation
The session gave a good introduction of the concepts of Globalisation, Internatinalisation, Localisation and Transaltion of Help Documentation.

Things I learnt
For every lecture I attend, i try to get some one-liners which can help me recall the lecture whenever I need it. The one-liners for this topic are-
  • Internationalization is nothing but making a software product/application - “World-ready”.
  • Use of Global English helps in making a product - Internationalized which can be Localized later.
  • Rule: A sentence should convey only one meaning across the globe.
  • Making a glossary of terms for local languages would help in Translation and Localization.
  • There should be consistency and ease of tranlation in the Glossary.
  • Localization is making the software product/application "locale-specific".
  • Truly global applications should be culture-neutral and language-neutral.
  • Locale-specific factors include - Culture, Language, Script, Currency, Calendar, Date, and Address format.
  • Culturally sensitive or locale-dependent objects should be identified and separated from the source code.
  • Separating locale-sensitive elements from other code allows easy translation.
  • The examples used should be International/Local, as required.
  • Use of Semiotics (the study of signs and symbols, what they mean and how they are used) is important.
  • Visual Information should be used carefully as different cultures may perceive different colors, signs and pictures, differently.
  • Appropriate Styles, Guidelines and checklists should be used during developing an Internationalized or Localized product.

Here's a link to a presentation on Internationalization which i prepared and presented at my organization. You will need to download the presentation to your machine to view it. Have a look at the presentation and mail me if you have any questions or suggestions.


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