Joint CO Conference: Information Delivery by Apps & Co. (May 28, 2018)

Trisha Kovacic-Young, Austrian Association of Translation Companies

Changes in technical communication and localization are everywhere. What is trending now? 59 attendees heard some answers at “Information Delivery by Apps & Co.”

Information Delivery by Apps & Co. – new trends in technical content delivery with emerging technologies; mobile applications, chatbots and other user support solutions and aspects of their documentation and translation. This was the introduction to the day-long event on May 28, 2018 at the Károli Gaspár University in Budapest. The program was second in a series launched in 2017 in Vienna by tekom Österreich and tekom Magyarország, the AATC and proford, with the long-term goal of bringing people together from our two countries and two industries to learn from and share with each other. This year the day was organized by Ildikó Fehér from DTC Enterprise and it was perfectly orchestrated from beginning to end. We were guided through the day by Zoltán Riesz, Managing Director of Moravia IT Hungary. Special thanks go to our external sponsors Noxum GmbH and the Károli Gaspár University!

How to become a profit generator

Klaus Fleischmann (Kaleidoscope) kicked off the morning with an overview of changes in the localization and technical communication industries and a discussion about how LSPs and end customers should work together on in the mobile age. He highlighted three kinds of translation we will see in future: FAUT (fully automated useful translation), neural and high quality human translation. Where can technical writers work together with translators? For example, in terminology, managing smart content (because not all content needs top quality translation), defining collaborative globalization processes. We could contribute to the TAPICC efforts – Translation API Class and Cases Initiative. We should all be paying attention to the data about our localization:  if we can convince clients to monitor their translated click rates we might be able to interest them in localization “Return on Investment” and become a profit generator instead of a cost item!

"It’s all about people!"

Ágnes Czinkóczki, User Assistance Developer at SAP, explained that the quality of documentation is important because if it is poor users will question the quality of the product itself. Great user assistance aims to inform and motivate, providing a good user experience. It is best when the user doesn’t realize it’s happening! Her tips for documentation: work with developers, get on board early. Leave enough time to create good text and develop consistent terminology. Decide who owns the user interface (everyone along the chain seems to think they own it…), make a style guide – and even write a different one for mobile apps. Keep the development simple and useful, ensure translatability (always send an open format to your translators!), and TEST the product in every language. When writing error messages take care not to blame the user, i.e. it’s best not to use exclamation marks or shout. The bottom line is that people want empathy.

"Creativity is our privilege, let chatbots do the rest!"

Nikolett Nagy from the start-up Talk-A-Bot gave us a fascinating introduction to the world of chatbots. There are already 300,000 active chatbots on Messenger. There are 5 types: fully scripted, guided, NLP-based, context-aware and Artificial Intelligence. Talk-A-Bot combines different types, offering the best user experience. The hybrid type is popular, with a human behind it (after the bot says “I can’t answer that” several times in a row you are transferred to a human). Users want answers! Contacting consumers by messenger has a much higher click rate than by email these days. How is a chatbot created? Her tales of what happens when chatbots are combined with AI captivated the audience. But in fact, most bots are NOT artificially intelligent, they are pre-programmed. The way Talk-A-Bot works is to first do profiling (this improves cross-selling and focuses on the user). They need descriptions of the product and then it takes about a week plus a few days to give the bot his/her own appropriate character and avatar.  They respect the customer, discourage spamming, and are conform with the GDPR.

Dynamic Content

Márton Klausz from DTC Enterprise talked about improving the search experience of the modern user. He opened his presentation with a short history of technical communication and then discussed dynamic content, which is a personalized content for every user, it’s “when the software notices that you are returning to a website and the airline prices go up the second time you log on ”. We all want specific content, based on our actual needs. Of course, Google is tempting here. But companies should try to make their content searchable so people go to them and not to Google. He showed us how important it is to handle filtering correctly to find specific documents. Other tips: involve developers in technical documentation! Empower your documentation with metadata: fluid topics focus on the user. The future of dynamic publishing: when the elevator breaks the repair person climbs in, scans the barcode and is immediately directed to the correct repair manual. Predictive support brings you to a website where other people discuss similar problems. This can be blended with humans – so you might get a phone call saying, “if you have THAT problem, don’t start your car or it might blow up!”

A paradigm shift from supply-side to demand-side

Rob Gillespie, from Pearson Professional Development & Educational Consulting, is providing Information 4.0. We have just seen the fastest revolution ever: in 10-15 years everything has changed. Virtual machines were good, but “containers” are better: they are easy to create (and to destroy). Modularity: it is easier to have lots of small apps, although they should cooperate with each other. “Slutware” (gets around fast!) like Docker, Apache ZooKeeper. Smart factory dictates that technical writers don’t have lead time anymore: the order-to-delivery cycle has become too short. Molecular content can be formed and reformed into larger structures. We have gone through a paradigm shift from supply-side to demand-side, so the new reality is Content as a Service and it is basically slut content. We just have to live with this.

A few more words

István Eke, of SHC International, gave us an impressive demo of the speech recognition product they are developing. It can deal with punctuation and tags, integrates with Trados.

How will future technology influence our day-to-day lives? Lots of things are changing!

The day closed with a lively panel discussion between all the presenters and a very active audience, hosted by Zoltán Riesz. How will future technology influence our day-to-day lives? Some say the changes will be slower than we think, but the consequences more severe: in 5-10 years we will probably be doing something completely different. As far as content goes: we shouldn’t have to do boring stuff, because this can be automated. The good news is that since companies rarely decrease their budgets, it is likely that money earmarked for processes that are now being automated will soon be spent on more creative things! Change is also expensive for large corporations. For this reason, it will come from small companies.
We should tell our clients how we are using new technologies and not try to hide them. We discussed that regulation is certainly needed to keep some new technologies in check. Many of the participants worry about protecting and training our children – and our parents – to deal with it all, to find value in the offers but avoid the dangers. For example, it is important to tell customers when they are dealing with a chatbot and not a person. István Eke joked that in future he will write “I am a real person!” at the bottom of his translations.
Péter Ács’s (DTC Enterprise) takeaway from the day: the new technologies we heard about today aim to bring things together. We are not as much creating, as organizing content and directing it to the right users. But actually, said Klaus Fleischmann, all these devices and apps are just a hassle. Let’s skip it all and go straight to telepathy. The discussion ended with plenty of laughter as we decided on the perfect topic for our next event: “Telepathy and More!”



    The presentations are available in the download area (for members only).
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    Photo Impressions (Franz Steiner)

    Klaus Fleischmann
    Nikolett Nagy
    Lunch break
    Alert audience - right after lunch(!)
    Márton Klausz
    Rob Gillespie
    István Eke
    Panel discussion
    Happy hour