Category Archives: Localization

Article Review: Improving Translatability and Readability with Syntactic Cues

John R Kohl, “Improving Translatability and Readability with Syntactic Cues,” Technical Communication 46, no. 2 (May 1999): 149–166.

The information John Kohl provides in this article can be applied to more than just translation, as it also benefits individual technical writers who write to create clear, unambiguous (and better translatable) documents.

Even though the focus of the article is on translation, or documentation being read by users whose first language is not English, this article also offers many Continue reading


1 Comment

Filed under Article Reviews, Localization, Technical Writing

Using Latin abbreviations in technical writing

Some professions continue to use Latin abbreviations because of tradition, the need for precise terms, or to represent an appearance of knowledge (probably stemming from a misguided effort to create an ethos of “learnèd”).

Along with medicine, the law, and academia, technical writing has traditionally used Latin abbreviations because of their scientific accuracy–instead of using a translated substitution, technical documents would rely on the objective and universal meanings of Latin phrases. For instance, searching for “Latin abbreviations in technical writing” will Continue reading


Filed under Localization, Technical Writing

A day in the life: Technical Writer – Coordinating translations

Coordinating translations

My company has offices in 128 countries, on 5 continents, and we localize our products into 31 languages. My Technical Communications department, located in San Diego, manages the translations of our support documentation into 8 languages using a Knowledge Management System (KMS). More specifically, I coordinate (among other things) the translations for one of our two North American market’s languages—Spanish.  On reading this, one might ask, “¿Dónde has aprendido español?” To which I would reply, “What?”, because I don’t speak Spanish…

UPDATE: February 2013

Also see my Slideshare presentation from Lavacon Conference: Using Internal Resources to Coordinate a Multi-Language Information Management System

The presentation discusses the successes and setbacks that I encounter as a technical writer who develops content in English and then coordinates the translations to the other supported languages. My company does not outsource translations; it uses internal and external translators (for example, employees in global offices) to localize content to their specific markets. The presentation explains this process and discusses how a technical writer can successfully coordinate global translations using an IMS. Continue reading


July 25, 2011 · 2:43 pm