Wednesday, June 13, 2012

STC Summit Chicago - Summary of Sessions II

This is the second in a series of three posts about sessions I attended at the recent Society for Technical Communication (STC) Summit. In Part I of this series I reviewed presentations by David Sommer, Lisa Pietrangeli and Bruce Poropat.


Michael Fritz of tekom/tcworld GmbH spoke on ISO/IEC 82079 -- The International Standard for Technical Communication. tekom is a German organization similar to STC that has been working on this standard. The standard, which is more commonly used in Europe, includes sections on translation quality, as well as specifying that "instructions for use shall be supplied in the official language of the country of sale". We translators can use this language to advocate for translating materials that might otherwise remain only in the source language.


John Kohl of SAS Institute summarized his seminal book The Global English Style Guide in his presentation Introduction to Global English. His guidelines for writing for audiences across the world include: conform to standard English, simplify your writing style, use modifiers clearly and carefully, make pronouns clear and easy to translate, eliminate unusual terms and phrases, adhere to standard punctuation and capitalization, and use syntactic cues. Text that follows these rules is not only easier to understand, but is also easier to translate.


My own presentation, Writing for Global Audiences, was part of the Writing and Editing Progression. Progressions provide 6-10 concurrent 20 minute round-table discussions on various related topics. I provided a brief overview of both writing and formatting issues to consider when addressing readers who are not native English speakers, and outlined how to evaluate whether the text can be properly understood by its intended audience. I will post the text of my speech here later this month.


Next week: Presentations related to freelancing/consulting.

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