Next stop Monte Carlo/GALA: Tech Comm Suite and Localization

Saturday, March 24 2012 @ 8:41 PM, By Maxwell Hoffmann

This isn’t one of those “don’t you wish you were me blogs.” Yes, I’m on my way to Monte Carlo for an exciting GALA conference on the lastest trends in translation and localization. Like my first blog, in a way it’s a trip “home” … back to translation agencies and the localizatin industry I worked in for 15 years.

I’m really looking forward to the conference, (have been to Monaco before.)  I know many of the presenters, and have worked with some of them. Content localization is changing at a swift pace. It is being influenced by many of the same factors that are driving development in Tech Comm: social media, quicker time to market and demand for delivery on handheld devices.

Travelling to the GALA conference in Monaco has made me stop and think about how much more “commonality” there is between language translation and “plain English” content creation than a few years ago.

Localization a high priority with our customers

If I thought that “leaving” the localization industry would somehow distance me from the needs of translation and localization, I was mistaken. Nearly every existing and potential customer I’ve worked with at Adobe has localization and global markets as a high priority. Localization cost savings is often one of the economic motivators that drives our clients to adopt Tech Comm Suite (FrameMaker and RoboHelp) as a solution. Both products, FrameMaker and RoboHelp, and the combo in Tech Comm Suite make highly accessible “single source publishing” solutions to a variety of priority formats.

 An insider’s look at Tech Comm Suite Publishing

Although I will be making a presentation that highlights Tech Comm Suite Monday afternoon, it won’t be just another product demo. I’ll be sharing my industry experience on how FrameMaker and RoboHelp significantly saved costs for customers in a variety of ways. There are many reasons for savings, but here are the major drivers:

  • Easy to use single-source publishing that quickly converts a variety of legacy files
  • DITA/XML authoring “for the rest of us” that substantially reduces development time, especially in the area of formatting. (Both FrameMaker and RoboHelp allow swift placement of logos, specific layouts and formatting that take exponentially longer stretches of time thorugh style sheet development.)
  • Highly reduced learning curve, especially with “specialized DITA.”

Key customer priorities in L10n

As a language translation vendor, one of the biggest customer challenges I observed in North America was the training investment required for the DITA or publishing “architect” …. who just might leave the company. With Tech Comm Suite, skill sets are distributed more economically over a broad base of experience levels. And it is possible to have a solution developed that does not make you dependent on that one consultant or inside “guru” who might become unavailable in the near future.

Regardless of the content authoring solution you choose, you should be concerned about two major issues: (a) how long will your newly trained staff be with you and (b) how long will your software vendor be around? Due to recent economic trends, most of us don’t have unlimited funds for consulting, training or retraining. In North America, our workforce has become much more transient than it was a few years ago. Per some of my previous blogs, many of my customers in the translation industry were heavily dependent on contractors, and attempted to negotiate strong relationships or long term contracts. The bottom line is, if your publishing solution is depending on a non-Employee, be careful.

More about that later. I’ll be posting several updates on trends and tips from the conference.

Now, if I could just get them to schedule the cocktail reception before my demo/presentation. In the meantime, “I’m in Monaco and you’re not.” Don’t you wish you were me?”

Just kidding.

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