CO meeting (joint event): Content Supply Chain – Latest Technology for Technical Writers and Translators (May 12, 2017)

Ildikó Fehér, tekom Magyarország

49 people (30 of them tekom members) came to the Austrian Chamber of Commerce in Vienna to join the transnational conference organized by tekom Österreich, tekom Magyarország, AATC and Proford.

Welcome Session

The program was kicked off by the representatives of the four organizing parties. First tekom Österreich was introduced by Franz Steiner, then Ildikó Fehér presented some details about tekom Magyarország. Following Ilidkó's short presentation, Miklós Bán shared information about Proford, the Hungarian Association of Professional Language Service Providers. Last but not least, Trisha Kovacic-Young concluded the welcome session and introduced AATC, the Austrian Association of Translation Companies.

Lost in Localization? – Language Technology for Technical Writers and Translators

At the start of her presentation, Martina Fischer (GORNIK translators for industry GmbH) shortly introduced GORNIK translators for industry. The company focuses on translating technical documents and software for clients mainly from the fields of industry and telecommunications.

Her presentation covered topics from a practical perspective relying on their extensive knowledge in translation-friendly technical writing, terminology management and localization of graphical user interfaces. Her examples were based on real problems faced during translating real technical documents.

For technical documentation, she discussed what guidelines they have for technical writers, what to take into account, what to avoid, how to apply translation-oriented wording in technical texts. For software localization, we discovered together how to apply translation oriented labels and other GUI texts and learnt why internationalization is useful. Last but not least, for terminology lifecycle management, participants received good tips on how to develop consistent terminology, what to keep in mind when handling the continuously growing term bank of a certain client or domain.

At the end of her presentation, Martina summed up the main points of how not to get lost in translation and how to bridge some gaps between technical writers and translators. One good example she mentioned was to develop style guides between vendors and language service providers on how to formulate certain text parts like titles, error messages, check boxes, option fields.

It was easy to follow Martina as she explained the challenges of software localization by means of many examples. She even included some Hungarian examples in her presentation.

Preparing Single-Source-Publishing Projects for Localization

At the beginning of his presentation, Meinrad Reiterer (MEINRAD.CC Communication Consulting GmbH) shortly introduced himself and his company. As an introduction to the presentation's topic, he quickly covered what the main concepts of single-source writing and publishing are, like single sourcing, localization, internationalization, globalization. After definitions, we jumped into benefits, challenges and process views. Meinrad also shared many tips and tricks participants can use in their projects.

Two important take-aways from Meinrad's presentation were:

  • Always coordinate with your language service provider (LSP)! It was an important message Meinrad emphasized and we should really all take the good advice.
  • Meinrad gave a tip on using MadCap Capture, which offers easy screen capturing and image editing. It makes it easy to incorporate images into textual content, re-cropping, re-capturing images, adding and managing captions and many other things. Also, the user can enter call-outs and import them to a CAT tool and work with the textual content of image files.

Standardize and Connect – Boosting interoperability, automation and innovation with industry APIs

Klaus Fleischmann (Kaleidoscope GmbH) started his presentation with a short introduction of Kaleidoscope and himself. The main theme of his presentation was how collaboration, automation and interoperability can be supported and boosted with APIs.

Systems and tools within the translation/localization industry work with different file formats and interfaces. Connecting and harmonizing these proprietary formats, interfaces and APIs tie up increasing resources in maintaining complex systems. Therefore, GALA (Globalization and Localization Association) has started TAPPIC, a community initiative to standardize APIs and interchanges to enable all stakeholders to reduce the cost and effort involved in automation. Before reviewing TAPPIC (Translation API Class and Cases) in detail, Klaus also shared some information about COTI (Common Translation Interface), a standard created by the producers of component-based content management systems in Germany. The purpose of the COTI project was to create a common translation interchange standard for exchanging translation data between content management and translation memory systems.
Afterwards, Klaus shared some exciting details about the TAPPIC project, which focuses on providing a basic subset of API use cases and actual API classes along with sample implementations that all parties in the translation industry can base their developments on.

The presentation focused on the current status of the TAPPIC initiative and Klaus invited all participants to actively contribute as TAPPIC is an ongoing collaborative community effort open to anyone who wants to get involved.

Using memoQ for Linguistic Source Text Control

In his presentation, Meinrad Reiterer shared some useful hacks for controlling terminology and quality in your source texts and to save translation cost.

Meinrad's presentation showed some very useful and practical hints on using memoQ for source language control, pseudo translation for checking filter setting and reviews with two languages. He showcased these CAT tool hacks through demos.

Dynamic Content Delivery

Péter Ács started his presentation with introducing himself and his company (DTC Enterprise, formerly DEFTEC Europe). His main topic was dynamic content delivery. He discussed why we need it, why and how it can help to solve publishing issues, how to get to dynamism from current state and what the foundation is for our future.

Péter listed a number of problems technical communicators face in their everyday work, issues like slow content creation/translation, too much legacy content to deal with, content detached from audience, etc. After his initial list, Péter elaboratd on some more specific tech doc problems. But he not only dealt with problems, he showcased dynamic publishing as one solution to several issues mentioned. Participants received information about the main characteristics: of dynamic publishing including content in a database, uniform, central and user-centered access location, metadata-driven search, enabling continuous delivery, etc.

Péter showed the main features & functionalities of a dynamic delivery system, called Fluid Topics through a quick demo.

In the closing part of his presentation, Péter talked about some future potentials of technical documentation. For example how IoT-based content can change our lives or how predictive content & support can revolutionize content development and information usage.

Controlling Technology Along the Language Supply Chain

The panel consisted of Trisha Kovacic-Young, Martina Fischer, Meinrad Reiterer and Klaus Fleischmann, the discussion was moderated by Franz Steiner. First one seat was left empty at the table for a member of the audience to make the discussion even more interactive. Audience members cold come up with topic suggestions for the discussion and in the end the following list was compiled:

  • future trends in technical communication
  • cloud & technical writing
  • how machine learning can change technical writing

About future trends Klaus Fleischmann mentioned a couple of trends he sees coming or already reaching us like (1) consumers taking quality decisions whether to go for free, utility type of lower quality content for instant use or prestigious, boutique services and translation content (2) using actual content for marketing purposes (marketing not being shiny & glossy but more practical and information-packed). Trisha Kovacic-Young brought up the issue of data security and changing pricing. Marek Piorkowski (Text United) from the audience mentioned the rise of exotic languages as a potential trend that might be approaching us as more and more users come from territories where Western European languages might not be the best option for technical content. Klaus added a potential in translation from Chinese to English as so much technology now comes from China.
The discussion then jumped to how technical writing and translation can be made 'sexy & attractive' to young people to get them involved in this profession. We discussed how universities could be more involved and how the profession could influence what is taught at these institutions. This initiated a lively discussion with several participants sharing their views about the topic and also providing information about practice and their own experience in their countries (Austria, Hungary, Slovakia). Some were a bit skeptical about cooperation and improvement initiatives with the academia but others were more optimistic saying that as the university world is getting more and more competitive, it will be in their own interest that besides academic & scientific aspects they should also provide practical knowledge close to what different industries look for and cooperation between technology and linguistics will develop.
The next discussion topic was cloud & technical writing emphasizing the collaboration aspect and pulling content together from different sources. With agile SW development methodology getting more and more widespread, cloud technology becomes an integral part of technical communication.
The last topic of the panel discussion was machine learning. Klaus expressed his opinion that maybe we should not let society get as far as assuming that artificial intelligence/machines can replace humans. Machine learning can help in distilling information and making predictions based on previous patterns.

Happy hour

The day ended with drinks and a lively discussion among presenters and members of the audience. The Happy Hour was sponsored by AATC, participants could enjoy beer, wine and soft drinks while rounding up the day's program


A heartfelt THANK YOU to all speakers, sponsors and participants!

Speakers' Presentations

tekom members can download the speakers' presentations, attending nonmembers may request them via e-mail (by way of exception).

Lecture Hall (Wilhelm-Neusser-Saal)
Meinrad Reiterer @ Auditorium
Péter Ács, DTC Enterprise
Primarily Responsible Organizers (L to R): Ildikó Fehér (tekom Magyrország), Laszlo Kovacs (Proford), Franz Steiner (tekom Österreich), Trisha Kovacic-Young (AATC)
Martina Fischer, GORNIK GmbH
Klaus Fleischmann, Kaleidoscope GmbH
Panel: Martina Fischer, Trisha Kovacic-Young, Klaus Fleischmann, Meinrad Reiterer
Collage 1(2)
Meinrad Reiterer, GmbH
Info Corner
Happy Hour
Collage 2(2)