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Going Online: Helping Technical Communicators Help Translators

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What can technical communicators do to design documents that are easier, and therefore less costly, to translate without sacrificing quality? Nearly all writers/designers concern themselves primarily with the users of the document, the primary audience, when considering translation while overlooking the secondary audience-the translators. If the source document is not written with translation in mind, translation costs can escalate. Writers/designers can, though, help reduce the translators' cognitive load by supporting them in solving language and cultural problems. In this article, we will explain why technical communicators should help translators, and we will offer some tips to creating "translation friendly" documentation. We will also describe the research and design process involved in creating an online tutorial on writing and designing for translation which was developed for a local Twin Cities company. Although we discovered during the course of our research that there is not one generic approach when it comes to translation, we believe this tutorial can make the translation process work more smoothly.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1999

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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