Re: Re: FWD: Preparing a translator test

Subject: Re: Re: FWD: Preparing a translator test
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- rmi -dot- net>
To: <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 10:46:11 -0700

I just left a contract with a very large (~4000) company and here's how the
writers were managed (no translators). In brief, we were distributed to
individual teams but coordinated through a central manager. Details and
benefits below.

The writers supported IT in four locations, three in the same city and one
out of state. IT consisted of lots of separate divisions, QA being one and
TC being another. All the writers reported to one manager (herself a writer,
this is key), but they were then "matrixed" (I assume this is some sort of
management term) to the client managers. The client manager directed the
actual work, while the writing manager managed the personnel issues and
reporting and all that. This was beneficial to the writers in several ways:

1. They had a manager who understood exactly what they were about, and how
writing actually works.

2. The writers have organized peers when they need to work out a writing
problem. Programmers tend to look at you oddly when you try to talk to them
about page layout.

3. Because both managers are peers, the writers have someone to fight
battles for them.

4. The writers are a recognized entity within the company.

5. There is power in numbers to say, "this is the professional standard,
these are the tools, these are the methods."

6. Distribution to individual teams lets the writers work more closely with
the product they are writing about.

Without delving too deep into or reopening other recent threads, my
*personal* preference for a working environment is to work closely with the
developers--they're the ones who'll teach you what you need to know to
write--and the actual product. I also want support from peers. Now that I am
the only writer in an 8-person startup, I'm looking to this list and other
forums for that support. In a large company with more than one writer, a
central manager can provide that supportive structure.

My 2 cents.

Lisa Wright
Technical Writer
LiWright -at- rmi -dot- net
----- Original Message -----
From: <anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Cc: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Saturday, March 11, 2000 6:37 AM
Subject: FWD: Re: FWD: Preparing a translator test

> -Thanks to all the ones who responded to my mail, it was of great help.
> I subscribed to the LASTRA list as Traci suggested (thanks Traci!), and
> now I need your help with something else.
> As I told you in my previous request I am a translator working as a
> technical writer, the company I am working for wants to hire more
> translators (by the way from English to Spanish and viceversa) and I
> was asked to help in elaborating a test for the prospective employees. I
> work in the IT department doing work instructions for the BaaN IV system
> for the department.
> My boss told me that some of those translators will work as technical
> writers, as I do, and that the company is planning to group them in the
> QA department. He doesn't agree with that and asked me what did I think
> about it. Since I am new to this profession I don't know for sure what
> will be better. I would say it will be better to be all of us together
but I
> am not even sure that these translators (future technical writers) will be
> helping me.
> So anyway, what I need is to know how are you grouped in your company?
> If there are writers for IT and QA and other departments and work together
> in the same location or are distributed within the departments? In other
> words what is your situation as a full time on site technical writer? How
> is a group of technical writers coordinated managed and distributed the
> work within a company? What is the common practice?
> Please help!
> > At 04:34 PM 3/1/2000 -0700, anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com wrote:
> > >I would like to know if there is any translators subscribed to the
> > >If there is any, have you been given a translation test previous to
> > >contract? How was you experience? Any recommendations on how to
> > >administer tests for prospective translators?
> > >
> > >I work for a company that needs to contract translators, I am a
> > >but work as a Technical Writer, so they asked me to prepare a test for
> > >prospective candidates. I have never being in that situation, any help
> > >will be very much appreciated.
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