Automating Style Checks in FrameMaker Using SDL AuthorAssistant

Poornima: Content..god’s plenty we have- white-papers, marketing collaterals, literature for the company Website, and more than all, that gigantic core Help. Do I ensure quality, style, standard for all that stuff; well I’ve a part-time editor, but to be honest, I can’t say all’s well.

Dorothy: Writers, I’ve a score of them; also I manage the Technical Support team that provides hundreds of app notes.. Editor, well, I don’t have the budget to recruit one.

Esther: I’ve an editor, but she has to edit content created by writers distributed geographically, most of them writing in their own local variety of English..

Lamentations of three FrameMaker experts after their requests to the management to subscribe to a paid style and grammar check service were identically turned down. Poor quality and lack of consistency are also having a rocketing impact on their localization costs. And they do not have a clue of what to do.

In varying degrees, your writing teams would also be having similar concerns. But, as this blog explains, if you are a FrameMaker 9 or FrameMaker 10 user, your concerns do not hold valid. SDL AuthorAssistant, a free plug-in for Adobe FrameMaker provides solution for most of the style, grammar, and consistency issues by automating quality checks.

Why automate style and grammar checks?

Automating style checks helps when you do not have the resources (editors) to review all the documents or the calendar time to squeeze in editorial review rounds before your final doc freeze. Having said that, even with a constant increase in the number of things an editor needs to remember, it is tough to do an air-tight editorial in shorter timelines. Especially, if you have a huge number of style checks and multiple word lists, some may be company specific, some specific to the product suite, and some specific to the product itself. Having an automated style checker can greatly reduce the number of misses and provide consistency across product documentation sets, across cross-geographical writing teams, or when you have multiple writers working on the same book or document.

What is SDL AuthorAssistant?

SDL AuthorAssistant is a quality assurance tool for documentation. If you are using FrameMaker 9 or FrameMaker 10, you can install this free plug-in to check documents for corporate writing styles and standards as well as standard spelling and grammar. You can automate most of your style guide rule checks and linguistic checks.

Using SDL AuthorAssistant, you can

  • Verify correct grammatical usage, such as avoiding passive voice or future tense.
  • Standardize frequently used acronyms.
  • Check wordiness, lengthy sentences, deprecated terms, misused words, and other style issues.
  • Check against previously translated content, so that you can improve content reuse and reduce the downstream costs of localizing content.

Read on to find out how you download, install, configure, and use SDL AuthorAssistant with FrameMaker in the following bloglets: