RE: Creating inch and metric tutorials (longish)

Subject: RE: Creating inch and metric tutorials (longish)
From: "Gilger.John" <JGilger -at- acresgaming -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 08:30:03 -0700

Use Framemaker to write your docs and take advantage of the Conditional Text
feature. All you would need to do is make your measurements english or
conditionally metric. Then you print or pdf a copy with the condition set to
english and a copy with the condition seet to metric.

John Gilger
Technical Writer
Acres Gaming, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: christine -dot- capazzi -at- mastercam -dot- com
[mailto:christine -dot- capazzi -at- mastercam -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, April 06, 2001 06:48 AM
Subject: Creating inch and metric tutorials (longish)

(Cross-posted to TechWhrl/STC MGT SIG list)

My team and I are running into a sticky situation with the printed tutorials
for our CAD/CAM software. We have four full-time writers and one part-time
writer. We currently create 7 printed tutorials (one for each product) using
only inch parts, tools, and parameters. Due to the increased level of
business overseas (it now accounts for 50% of our sales), we are becoming
aware of a need for metric tutorials. The interest is mainly coming from the
international dealers who translate our manuals after they are completed
(each country's dealer does translation - we just hand off the files when
we're done) but the noise is increasing from the rest of the world also.

The big question is - how do we incorporate metric examples into the
tutorials? We've had several suggestions, each of which has their pros and

1. Create one version of each tutorial first (inch or metric) and then
convert to the other measurement system. This sounds great at first, but
means we have to maintain twice as many publications in the future. We could
farm out the conversion to an outside consultant, but still a big strain on

2. Create half the tutorial in inch and half in metric. Could be a good
compromise, but the tutorial chapters get more complex as they go on. We
wouldn't be duplicating the functionality we show in each half. And the
international customers would completely skip over the inch examples,
thereby missing important functionality that we're trying to teach.

3. Create manuals only in metric and let the few countries that use inches
fend for themselves. Very tempting, but we're not sure that the US customers
would appreciate this switch. We're researching this now.

Unfortunately, we can't just provide examples that are formatted like:

Enter 0.5 (metric equivalent in parentheses)

because the examples need to use metric tools, parameters, etc. to be

Any other suggestions? How do your companies handle these types of
situations? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Christine Capazzi
Technical Publications Manager
CNC Software, Inc.
christine -dot- capazzi -at- mastercam -dot- com


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