Re: books on localization process?

Subject: Re: books on localization process?
From: Bill Burns <bburns -at- scriptorium -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2001 22:04:04 -0600

Hi, Julie.

Hi, does anyone know of some good books on the localization process as it
pertains to tech pubs?

More articles than books, really. The most commonly cited source that I know of is Nancy Hoft's *International Technical Writing*. If you go to her web site (, she has quite a list of resources.

I contributed a chapter to *Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation* on approaches to international documentation. One of my biggest beefs with material that I've seen on writing for international audiences is that much of it promulgates certain myths about translation (for example, that you have to retrofit your writing style to accommodate translators by avoiding certain parts of speech). A refreshing change from this is an article in this month's *Intercom*, "Is your documentation translation-ready?" It focus on some very practical ways that you can reduce problems during the localization process.

Just be careful. There's a lot of bull being slung out there, and you should become familiar with the industry terminology. Writing for a localization process is not the same as writing for a machine-translation process. I think that's where many of the myths arise. Also, most of the material on this subject focuses on print design. Very little of it talks about how you can really mess up a help localization process by using things like KLinks and button-bar formatting or how your choice of tools can force localization groups to do a lot of extra work. Design flaws in the source content can cause more serious problems because they tend to multiply in the target (translated) content.

Bert Esselink also has some titles out on software localization. You can find out more about his work at

Bill Burns, Senior Technical Consultant, Scriptorium Publishing
The WebWorks Publisher Cookbook now available
bburns -at- scriptorium -dot- com - 208-484-4459


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Document management and version control: From: Glenn Maxey
books on localization process?: From: julie brodeur

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