seeking localisation advice for hybrid documentation

Subject: seeking localisation advice for hybrid documentation
From: "Elizabeth OShea" <Elizabeth -dot- OShea -at- emergesmart -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2002 18:08:00 +0100

Hi all -

I am seeking advice for a client. They produce documentation for a router
and its associated software. Part of this documentation is autogenerated
from a database that developers periodically update with new features or
changes to existing features. The other half of the documentation is created
manually and maintained outside the database. Currently they cannot put the
manually created docs into the database: there are a number of programming
issues around the db (an internal tool only) that they haven't the resources
to fix. Once the hybrid docs reach a certain stage in the production process
they are saved to VSS.

They need to localise this set of documents into French. A reseller in
France has offered to do this localisation. My client is trying to think of
the best approach for producing and maintaining the docs. Some of the
questions are:

Should they put the localised information into the database, specify that
it's the French docs, and then pull them when they need French
documentation? [Follow-up question: how do they update the info in the
database - none of the developers speak fluent French, and neither writer
can proofread it]

Should they have the documents localised every time there's a new software
release? [Issue: updates happen quite frequently]

How do they control the extra information the localisers have to add? The
embedded web on the gateway is not being localised, so the French
documentation will have to elaborate on what the English on the embedded web
means. Obviously many terms are already defined but, for example, they will
have to create a table giving the French equivalent to the English labels on
the LED lights on the gateway.

I will be compiling all responses to this into a single mail to forward to
my client. AS well as suggestions regarding the actual docs, I welcome tips
about the localisation process, because this is the first time this client
has localised anything.

A final bit of info that might be helpful: there are two writers: me when I
have time/they can afford me, and someone who works there full time but who
does docs when they need them and amongst all her other admin and quality
duties. The company used to have a 2.5 person documentation department but
is recovering from near-closure.



elizabeth -dot- oshea -at- emergesmart -dot- com

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