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Published on October 18th, 2008 | by Rahel Bailie


Global Communication

Some recent work I’ve been doing has reminded me of some of the instructional materials I created as part of my long involvement with localization and internationalization of technical content. The periodic resurgence of localization as a hot topic is interesting to see; the processing technology is the same, but the theory really hasn’t changed.

Creating translation-ready content is useful, whether the translation happens or not, because there are sure to be plenty of ESL readers who will need to decipher the English version. Localized content draws on guidelines from the Plain Language movement, from Controlled Language (or Controlled English or Controlled Technical English), and from the field of translation. There are visual elements to consider, as well as design elements. No matter how small the localization or internationalization initiative, there are sure to be unexpected considerations. Here are some resources that make that point:

You Talking to Me?: Usability for Global Audiences on a Shoestring Budget

Reaching Global Audiences: Doing More with Less

Following the Road Untraveled: From Source Language to Translation to Localization

Yours Truly International

High-Quality Content that Communicates Across Language Barriers

Case studies in Controlled Authoring

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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

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