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Published on January 11th, 2009 | by Rahel Bailie


The impact of content convergence on localization

I’ve been talking about content convergence for a while now, and have been watching the impact of this change on the adjunct processes connected to the design, production, and execution of content. I use the word execution rather than “publish” deliberately, as sometimes the push of content wouldn’t be classified as “publishing” at all, despite the content being created and/or transformed from its incoming format into something consumable by a reader. Sometimes the reader is human; sometimes it’s another software application, where the content is passed through, absorbed, and then spit out for consumption somewhere down the line.

Other times, the mid-stream transformation is done by humans, and ingested back into the system for further transformation. Localized content fits in this area, and the implications can be far-reaching. The drive to package content into neat little bundles, so that they can be re-used in multiple contexts, is difficult enough to carry out for a single language or homogeneous market. Writing to satisfy the complexities of multiple languages or localized markets creates exponential challenges. Further complicating the situation is the fact that the people charged with transforming your content are usually outsiders, and probably haven’t been included in the sessions that taught the concepts and developed the architecture for the new content order within your organization. Not only do your translators have to figure out how your content convergence strategy is intended to work for you, they have to figure out how to retain the accuracy and flavor of your intent across languages and cultures. It’s a tall order, and an aspect of content convergence often overlooked.

There’s an article, Anticipating the Impact of Content Convergence, in the January/February 2009 issue of Multilingual Computing that elaborates on some of the things translation professionals, and their clients, need to consider as the nature of content undergoes a profound change.

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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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