Bots, Content, and Commerce

Join us in Boston in November for this featured session and our other 32 conference sessions. Here Come the Bots: How Innovations in Artificial Intelligence Will Shape the Future of Content and Commerce Today’s online transactions are still largely web-based despite the proliferation of smartphones and mobile apps. And these transactions are often part of […]

This post originally published on https://gilbane.com

Categories: DITA

Gilbane Advisor 10-13-16 – Hive, WeChat, enterprise social, open images, marketing stacks

The Hive is the New Network This is a fascinating and thought-provoking read. To oversimplify enough to be obvious: The return on network scale is diminishing; future value will come from more purposeful, naturally emerging ecosystems that go beyond connecting and communicating. WeChat and Uber are examples, but there are also others and the details […]

This post originally published on https://gilbane.com

Categories: DITA

RSuite Celebrates Ten Year Anniversary!

Really Strategies - Thu, 2016-10-13 17:16


Audubon, Pa.— October 13, 2016—RSuite is celebrating a decade serving the global publishing community’s automation needs to meet the increasing demands of a multi-channel and multi-device world. With thousands of users around the globe, RSuite has provided the automation tools necessary to reduce time to publication by over 50%. Powered by MarkLogic, RSuite continues to evolve to meet the enterprise publishing needs of Fortune 1000 businesses, government organizations, non-profit associations and standards bodies.

“When we launched RSuite over a decade ago, we knew we were at the forefront of something exciting,” stated Barry W. Bealer, President and CEO at RSI Content Solutions. “Today our success is measured in our client’s ability to completely transform their publishing environment by leveraging the enterprise class capabilities we have built in RSuite.”

“RSuite has been a pioneering product in the enterprise publishing marketplace. Built on MarkLogic, RSuite has enabled customers to leverage the MarkLogic database platform to manage content at scale” stated Matt Turner, Chief Technology Officer, Media and Entertainment at MarkLogic. “We congratulate RSI Content Solutions for 10 years of success with RSuite and look forward to the next 10 years of working together and helping customers integrate data from silos and maximize the value of their content and data.”  

About RSI Content Solutions

For over 16 years, RSI Content Solutions has been at the forefront of implementing content management solutions for publishers, media companies, Fortune 1000 businesses, government organizations, and more. With headquarters outside Philadelphia, PA, USA, an engineering center of excellence in Chennai, India, and affiliate offices around the world, RSI has helped over 250 global organizations implement appropriate content management solutions. For more information, please visit www.rsicms.com.

About RSuite®

RSuite has been built specifically for organizations that need to publish to multiple channels and to serve as their centralized publishing solution. RSuite is optimized for the creation, management, repurposing and multi-format, multi-channel delivery of content by utilizing an enterprise?strength of MarkLogic. In addition to its strong XML capabilities, RSuite manages any and all forms of digital assets (MS Word, PDF, images, audio, video, etc.) and all of its associated metadata.

RSuite’s powerful and highly-configurable workflow engine allows customers to implement multiple workflows that incorporate both manual and automated tasks, such as transformations, packaging, delivery, and more. Customers are implementing RSuite to manage the end-to-end publishing process, from content creation through multi-channel, multi-format deliveries. For more information, please visit www.rsuitecms.com.

Categories: DITA

Gilbane Conference Keynotes Announced

Conference: November 29 – 30 and Workshops: December 1 Boston Fairmont Copley Plaza Join the digital marketers, technologists, and analysts leading the thinking and doing — making modern digital content and customer experience strategies a reality. Register and save your seat today Keynote presentations Wednesday, November 29, 8:30 – 10:00am Keynote panel – Industry analysts Wednesday, November 29, 11:00 – 12:00pm Register today to save your […]

This post originally published on https://gilbane.com

Categories: DITA

RSuiteUC16 Rewind

Really Strategies - Mon, 2016-10-03 12:30

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this year’s RSuite User Conference and Tech Day.  By all accounts, it was a raging success!


Quotes from This Year’s Event:

  • “Your clients just like you so much…”
  • “I found the user panels and case studies engaging and thought-provoking…”
  • “Free headshots? Epically great idea…so much better than free swag!”
  • “Leslie…You and your stable system….”
  • “1.8 million docs exported in just a few hours…”
  • “One-click eBooks!”
  • “No click eBooks!”
  • “RSuite automation helps reduce external composition costs by 80% while speeding production up by 2 weeks.”
  • “Globalization through centralization…”
  • “The number of people who have hearts in their eyes for @lisabos at #RSuiteUC16 is staggering.”

Special Thanks

A special thanks to our great panelists:

And also to our sponsors:




Thanks again to everyone for making RSuiteUC16 so fantastic…we look forward to an even bigger and better event in 2017!

Categories: DITA

Introducing Docs Like Code

JustWriteClick - Tue, 2016-09-27 03:22

I recently tweeted about a side project called Docs Like Code and wanted to tell you about it here. It’s a specifically-focused site where I can share my best practices and lessons learned about applying software dev techniques and tools to software documentation. I want to learn and teach at the same time as I keep exploring this space.

If you want to see a bit of how the site is put together, and how you can use GitHub to make web sites, join in. I have an email list you can join to get information as the site grows.

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; } /* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block. We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */ Enter your email address to learn about docs like code together

In the meantime, take a look at this quick less-than-five-minute look at how you can build Jekyll sites locally.

Categories: DITA

Understanding Accessibility

The Content Wrangler - Mon, 2016-09-26 21:23

CW-Language-Cover-v4-front-smallThe following content originally appeared in the book, The Language of Content Strategy, a collaborative effort from 52 top content strategy practitioners, edited by Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, and Rahel Anne Bailie, Chief Knowledge Officer at Scroll. The book, published by XML Press, is a collection of terms defined by contributors known for their depth of knowledge in that area of expertise. Each definition is accompanied by an essay that explains the importance of the term within the world of content strategy. This post, contributed by Char James-Tanny, is understanding accessibility.


Understanding accessibility: What is it?

Accessibility is the extent to which content is available, understandable, and usable by all, regardless of disabilities or impairments such as sensory, physical, cognitive, intellectual, or situational.

Why is it important?

Accessibility is a W3C Web standard and, in many countries, is the law. Accessible content is easier to use and maintain, more search-engine friendly, and increases usability and understanding.

Why does a content strategist need to understand accessibility?

One of the main tenets of communication is to know your audience, but this has not always been valued on web projects. When developers only tested sites in Internet Explorer on large monitors at small resolutions, their audiences suffered a less-than-stellar experience when using another browser, a mobile device, or larger fonts.

While you may want to create content that is available, understandable, and usable, the chances are good that you’re ignoring as much as 20% of your audience.

How can we make content more accessible to people with disabilities?

Accessibility happens during design, development, and delivery. Many content strategy best practices already address accessibility:

  • Use headings (with tags or styles, not manual formatting)
  • Use short sentences (fewer than 25 words) and short paragraphs (no more than three sentences)
  • Write in second person, active voice, and present tense
  • Use the best word, not the longest

Take these additional steps to create accessible formatting and markup:

  • Left-justify text for left-to-right languages and right-justify for right-to-left languages
  • Use the correct color contrast (3:1 for large text and 4.5:1 for other text and images)
  • Use relative font sizes
  • Restrict the number of font families to three
  • Size all images consistently
  • Make sure that online deliverables have full keyboard functionality
  • Add the alt attribute to images (unless they’re only decorative)
  • Add captions and transcripts to videos
  • Define the :focus pseudo-class in the cascading style sheet (CSS)

Addressing accessibility issues up front saves time and money

Creating accessible content starts with the initial design and continues through the development process. If you wait until the project is finished, it costs more. Roughly speaking, making a change during development costs $25 USD; during QA, $500 USD; after release, $15,000 USD.

Want to learn more about content strategy terms?

Buy a copy of The Language of Content Strategypart of The Content Wrangler Series of Content Strategy books from XML Press.

The post Understanding Accessibility appeared first on The Content Wrangler.

Categories: DITA

Understanding IP Addresses

The Content Wrangler - Mon, 2016-09-26 15:56

With a computer or other connected device, we can connect to billions of websites, apps and devices anywhere in the world with the click of a button. It works because, behind the scenes, everything on the internet uses the same set of rules that is known as a protocol. By understanding the basics of the protocol, we can see what makes the internet work.

Understanding How Addresses Work

You can send a letter to almost anyone in the world if you know a few basic things, like their house number, street, and city. And because you also have an address, they can write you back. That’s because most of the world uses the same rules for physical addresses. This is a kind of protocol.

The internet is no different. Instead of houses, the internet has billions of computers and devices. For information to get from one device to another using the internet, the device needs it’s own address. This is not a physical address, but an Internet Protocol address, or IP address.  IP addresses, like physical ones, link the whole network together.

Without IP addresses the internet could not function. They are essential. Unfortunately, because IP addresses are often hidden from view, we rarely hear or learn about them.

This video from our friends at CommonCraft reveals the powerful role they play on the web through a useful analogy involving traditional mail. It teaches:

  • Why rules or “protocols” are important in the basic functions of the web
  • Why traditional mailing addresses are an example of a protocol
  • How IP addresses are used to request and receive information on the web
  • Why there are two versions of IP addresses


The post Understanding IP Addresses appeared first on The Content Wrangler.

Categories: DITA

Semantic web semantics vs. vector embedding machine learning semantics

bobdc.blog - Sun, 2016-09-25 15:01
It's all semantics. Bob DuCharme http://www.snee.com/bobdc.blog
Categories: DITA

Gilbane post-conference workshops

Conference: November 29 – 30 and Workshops: December 1 Boston Fairmont Copley Plaza Join our highly-respected international experts for a deep dive following our two-day conference. Register and save your seat today! Thursday, December 1: 9:00 – 12:00 Thursday, December, 1: 1:00 – 4:00 Register today to save your seat!

This post originally published on https://gilbane.com

Categories: DITA

Gilbane Advisor 9-14-16 – Next computing platform, FB, Google, and Daily Beast

Dear Readers:  Hope you had a fantastic summer. We are back from vacation and our new school-year resolution is to publish more bite-sized issues more frequently – tougher curation and quicker delivery to you. Beyond the iPhone is the watch, as the next general purpose personal computer that is. I still think that has always been Apple’s plan, with fitness a […]

This post originally published on https://gilbane.com

Categories: DITA

Five Things I Learned about Information Architecture from Abby Covert

The Content Wrangler - Wed, 2016-09-14 15:40

Information architect Abby Covert is one of the most distinguished thought leaders in the field of information architecture. Over the past few years, she has introduced and promoted several innovative ideas designed to help us transform “informational messes” into well-structured and useful information. Eager to share her thought-provoking ideas with others, we are pleased to feature her in this recorded webinar, How to Make Sense of Any Mess.

This article highlights a few of Abby’s ideas that, in my opinion, make her work so meaningful and engaging.

One: We all play a role in architecting information

For those who are not familiar with Information Architecture (also referred to as IA), it is the structural design of shared information environments. That’s one technical definition. Abby has a few definitions of her own that provide more clarity:

  • How to arrange something to get a specific intention.
  • The way we choose to arrange the parts of something to make it understandable as a whole.

information architecture

Seen from this vantage point, everyone participates in the architecting of information.

Most of us spend our lives in what Abby calls “places of information.” These “places” include conversations, print media, digital communications, organizational meetings, etc. If you think about it, everything is a place of information, and we constantly play an active role in shaping it (receiving, transforming, creating, organizing, and transmitting information).

To avoid contributing to what Abby calls the “mess” of information that plagues the world, upgrading  our IA skills can only help us improve what we already do on a daily basis, which is “architecting” information.

information architecture mess

Two: Everything we do exists amid a multiplicity of nested architectures

Take a look around and you will see intertwingled architectures of physical and non-tangible structures. Your computer screen presents a 3D architecture that guides and enables action. The room containing your computer offers yet another architectural scheme. So too does your building, your block, your neighborhood, your city, etc.

The same intertwingularity applies to information. The information you create by way of interpretation is data actively transformed through your immense cognitive architecture. It is what Abby calls the “huge map of knowledge” which you carry around in your brain and superimpose over every bit of information you receive.

Navigating these complexities in a collective setting, such as the workplace, can be difficult. As Abby states, “The majority of messes we face are made up of information (and people).” We are all part of a collection of informational ecosystems. Our ability to successfully contribute to these ecosystems demands our awareness of their structure and our skills in navigating or arranging their parts.

Three: There is no such thing as “true” information

One of Abby’s favorite examples is the categorization of vegetables. Are tomatoes, avocados, and squash vegetables or fruit? If you’re a grocer or a shopper, these items are veggies (after all, they’re savory like most other veggies). But if you’re a botanist or a science teacher, of course, they’re “fruit,” as they match all the scientific criteria that qualify them as fruit.

If you ask yourself what the “true” categorization is, Abby will rightly tell you that “there is no such thing as true information… only spin.” In other words, “meaning” is not a universal principle. It is a mode of perception that people have in common or to which they agree. How something works and what it allows us to do is far more important than any “true” meaning devoid of relevant function. With that said, we may all agree that strawberries are berries (even if they are not) and that bananas are not berries (which they are).

Four: Information is not content

information architecture

Content can produce information, but so can the lack of content. Another of Abby’s favorite examples is a photo of two types of cookies behind a display case. Suppose you wanted to buy a cookie and noticed that there were seven oatmeal raisin cookies but only one chocolate cookie. Why might there be only one chocolate cookie left? Is it more popular? Or did the baker make more oatmeal raisin cookies anticipating that it may sell out? Is the chocolate cookie not as fresh?

In this example, Abby clearly differentiates content from information. Information is the meaning(s) you derive from content or the lack of it. The cookies in the example envelop several potential meanings, some of which may contradict one another. Your interpretation of content or data is what transforms it into information. Your “map of knowledge” intersects and combines with select facets of content upon which you create (rather than “find”) meaning.

Five: Try using alternative ways to categorize something

information architecture

In a short flip board style video titled What do you mean?, Abby playfully demonstrates how the structure of information can change the meaning of information. Change a term’s categorization according to its different facets, and you change how it is perceived and potentially used.

In an organizational setting, it may be helpful to try categorizing products or services in at least two different ways. For example, Abby states that many businesses categorize products by department. But what if you were to categorize a product by customer persona, task, cost, revenue potential, competitors, or other customer-driven uses? By using alternative forms of categorization, your views and actions toward a given product may change.

In conclusion, this article barely scratches the surface of what Abby has to offer regarding information architecture. Her talks and published materials are very inspiring, thought-provoking, and actionable. Check out Abby’s recent webinar, How to Make Sense of Any Mess.

The post Five Things I Learned about Information Architecture from Abby Covert appeared first on The Content Wrangler.

Categories: DITA

Sponsor Shout Out

Really Strategies - Fri, 2016-09-09 16:41

As we continue to prep for RSuiteUC16, I wanted to dedicate this post to 3 companies who are helping to make it all possible:  our sponsors.



For over a decade, organizations around the world have come to rely on MarkLogic to power their innovative information applications. As the world’s experts at integrating data from silos, MarkLogic’s operational and transactional Enterprise NoSQL database platform empowers our customers to build next generation applications on a unified, 360-degree view of their data. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, MarkLogic has offices throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Here's a short video by our CTO, Lisa Bos, about MarkLogic and our long-standing relationship with MarkLogic:



Klopotek is a leading international provider of software and consulting services for publishing and media companies. More than 350 publishing houses with 4,400 imprints around the world rely on Klopotek products. The company makes an ongoing, significant contribution to discussions, ideation, and networking in the industry, with the declared goal of inspiring modern publishing and media companies.



XTM International develops XTM, an award-winning online TMS, available via the cloud or on your own servers. The centrally shared TM, terminology, workflow and translator workbench are all accessed via a browser. XTM is cost effective, easy to use, includes filters for all common file types and is built for collaboration. Our global customers range include some of the world’s largest LSPs and enterprises.

Take a minute to visit these companies on the web and follow them on Twitter.  After that, make sure you register for the RSuite User Conference so you can meet these companies in person!

Register Now


Categories: DITA

You Have Content. Now What?

You’re running full-speed ahead with your content bucket full and your heart bursting with the need to share it with the world. But, you may need to hit the breaks for a moment and think about the tools needed to help you move forward in a way that will deliver the best digital experience to your customers. Register now to join us […]

This post originally published on https://gilbane.com

Categories: DITA

You Have Content. Now What?

You’re running full-speed ahead with your content bucket full and your heart bursting with the need to share it with the world. But, you may need to hit the breaks for a moment and think about the tools needed to help you move forward in a way that will deliver the best digital experience to your customers. Register now to join us […]

This post originally published on https://gilbane.com

Categories: DITA


Really Strategies - Fri, 2016-09-02 15:07


For those attending this month’s RSuite User Conference, I’m excited to announce one of the best perks:  free consulting!  And not free-consulting-only-if-you-happen-to-grab-the-right-person-at-the-right-time; you can actually get a private, one-on-one, face-to-face session with a knowledgeable RSuite engineer to talk about anything you want (at least from an RSuite perspective.)

If you’re looking for advice, have a feature request, need an answer to a question, etc., this is your chance!  You will find a sign-up sheet at the registration table when you check in that morning that will allow you to reserve your meeting time.


  1. When do these sessions happen? These “Ask an Engineer” meetings are available all day on Thursday, September 22nd, as part of the RSuite User Conference (NOTE: no sessions will be held during Wednesday’s Tech Day event).  Registrants will have a variety of options available throughout the course of the day, some during breaks and others concurrently with RSUC group sessions.
  2. How long do sessions last? Conversations are slated for 30 minutes.
  3. Can I sign up ahead of time?   Sessions can only be scheduled the morning of the event.
  4. Can I request a specific engineer?  Yes.  You will be able to choose an engineer and a meeting time based on availability.  Because we have a limited number of meeting times available, you should plan to arrive early.  Sessions will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Register Now


Categories: DITA

How GE Healthcare Streamlined Content Production and Slashed Expenses

The Content Wrangler - Thu, 2016-09-01 10:00

By Karl Montevirgen, special to The Content Wrangler

We think of efficiency as a state toward which all businesses continually strive. And, when efficiency boosting efforts produce dramatic results—say, cost reductions per unit of 94% while simultaneously increasing market expansion by 230%—we take notice. The results of such efforts are nothing short of fantastic. They make us wonder aloud, “How the heck did they do that?”

Stellar results are nothing new to the documentation team at GE Healthcare’s Global Ultrasound division. Over the past 15 years, the team has been hacking away at inefficiencies—knocking them down one at time. If there’s anything we can learn from their experience, it’s that efficiency can be achieved and optimized for maximum benefit given smart choices. The adoption of new processes, effective technologies, and collaborative environments, combined with a spirit of persistence, can yield tremendous benefits.

Snapshot: Fifteen years ago

In 1999, GE Healthcare’s documentation team produced documentation for five globally distributed products in 10 languages. Each product required its own unique set of technical manuals in three formats: digital, print and CD-ROM. The documentation team was comprised of six disparate writing departments producing content for three different global manufacturing centers.

The time required to produce source content—and subsequently, to translate it—added four to six months to the global product launch timeline. The cost to produce and translate this content was estimated at roughly $1,000,000 per manufacturing center—about $0.25 per word.


Snapshot: Present day

Fast forward to today. GE Healthcare’s translation costs have been substantially reduced—roughly $60,000 per manufacturing center, or about $0.008 cost per word. That’s a reduction of 94%! What makes this impressive is that these results were derived from changes made by the team to increase efficiency and productivity—all during a period of rapid business expansion.

How big an expansion? GE Healthcare’s product line grew from five to over 50 products. Translated content expanded from ten to 33 languages. The company added six more global manufacturing centers, each with a medical focus, each bringing new products to market, and each producing related content.

In the face of that expansion, GE Healthcare reduced translation cycle times by one-third—from 16-24 weeks down to six to eight weeks.

We’ll take a look at the decisions—advanced information management methods coupled with appropriate technology—made by the team that led to these significant increases in content production efficiency. But first, let’s take a look at the challenges.

 Inefficient workflow diagram

Identifying workflow inefficiencies

Jeannette Eichholz is the leader of Global Ultrasound Documentation for GE Healthcare. Prior to kicking off GE Healthcare’s content production transformation, Jeannette and her team scrutinized the company’s content creation and translation processes, which they found to be highly fragmented, cumbersome, and unnecessarily costly.

The Problems: Silos, Formats, Multiple Channels

  • Information was locked up in silos—there was no access to centralized content, preventing writers from working on projects collaboratively.
  • Sharing, viewing, and providing comments about—or suggesting changes to—content was difficult and inefficient.
  • Content and layout were co-mingled, making it nearly impossible to reuse or repurpose.
  • Content formats diverged over time—and among different writing teams—creating additional incongruities.

These challenges were difficult to overcome in part because different products were being developed simultaneously in manufacturing centers around the globe. Products—and thus, product content—were constantly being tweaked up until the product launch date.

As a result, product content—and translations—were always late, delaying time-to-market.

Setting Goals: Faster, Better, Less Expensive

To overcome these challenges, the documentation team established goals aligned with the division’s business imperatives.

  • Project cycles had to be shortened to facilitate simultaneous global product launches.
  • Quality and compliance with global regulatory requirements had to be ensured.
  • Costs had to be controlled.
  • Content workflow had to be seamless and highly collaborative.

 The solution

The Solution

It became clear to Jeannette and her team that GE’s documentation efforts needed a major overhaul. The first of her key decisions was the introduction of structured content in a standard markup language. This approach allowed writers to focus on creating accurate content while a separate team built style sheets that automatically formatted the content to fit specific output types.

This decision had several important benefits. First, content became much easier to repurpose for use in multiple channels. When the team needed a new output or distribution format, they could quickly build a new style sheet. Second, content became much easier to reuse; simply link to the desired content, even if it was built by another team. Third, the approach was scalable across the entirety of GE Healthcare. So long as everyone adopted the same markup language and techniques, content was unchained from proprietary tooling and file formats, allowing it to move easily between people, machines, and software applications.

The second key decision: Jeannette and her team adopted a component content management system.

Adopting a Component Content Management System

A “component” content management system (or “CCMS”) operates on a much more granular scale than a document-based or web content management system. A CCMS manages components of modular content, typically encoded with XML tags. Writers create thousands or even millions of these modular, topic-based components, and the CCMS handles the rest—preservation of cross-content links, access control, version control and revision history, packaging for translation, assembly for direct output as documentation, or export for distribution to other systems.

Jeannette and her team chose the Astoria CCMS, a component content management system designed to serve companies producing high volumes of content, content with high variability, and high velocity (the 3 V’s). It seemed the right match for a division that was under pressure to regularly produce content for products (new and existing) distributed in multiple languages across highly regulated global markets.

GE Healthcare realized a number of benefits by adopting the Astoria CCMS. Because content components could exist independently and in singular form, they could be single-sourced and automated for reuse and repurposing in multiple formats. Single-sourcing with Astoria also eliminated manual duplication efforts, which in turn eliminated content inconsistencies. When writers made changes to a single component, Astoria automatically propagated the changes across all documents containing that component. It became easy for writers to share, view, and comment on content at a pace that was close to real-time through a single portal and repository. Not only did this speed up the content workflow, it replaced siloed efforts with a collaborative environment.

Adding Translation Memory to the Mix

Jeannette and her team made a third technology decision: incorporate translation memory based on structured content. The effective use of translation memory is often hindered by the format of the source-language content. Jeannette and her team recognized that in moving to a format-neutral markup language for content, they would need to develop a comprehensive translation memory (TM) database based on format-neutral content. GE’s current translation process attests to the success of this adoption: 95% of all translations are done via translation memory (automated reuse) with 5% of the remaining efforts directed toward translating new, unique content.


The Results: Return on Investment

The adoption of the CCMS and TM resulted in a tremendous paradigm shift in processes and roles, in addition to increased return on investment.

All content was globally accessible and shared on-demand; none of the documents were writer-owned which meant that content was openly reviewed on a regular basis.

Six writing silos morphed into a single global writing team that continually expanded. Individual budgets were combined into one shared budget, adding the responsibilities of collaborative budgeting, planning, and developing to the roles of each technical writer.

Teams were able to write and translate continuously up until product launch; all translations were completed at about the same time as the English source content. This allowed for simultaneous product launches across global markets.

No to be overlooked, writers’ jobs expanded as they were able to take on progressively broader roles and more difficult projects. Teams were able to dig deeper into content analysis and metadata strategy; conduct reuse analysis, and develop a formal content-reuse strategy. The writers were afforded the time to look more closely at their tools and technologies, deciding on technology upgrades or acquisitions that would further enhance productivity. They were able to better test and validate the quality of their content with end users. Most importantly, they are now in a position to plan a second phase of development geared toward maximizing their use of automation and intelligent content technologies.

The CCMS paid for itself within the first year of implementation. Translation memory software resulted in a flat-line of costs five years into use. Overall costs were significantly reduced while product-line and global distribution continued to increase and accelerate.

In recognition of these many benefits, GE Healthcare chose Astoria as the platform for its new Service Information Management System (SIMS) initiative, which ties together the contributions of over 200 writers across the company. The Astoria-enabled SIMS platform allows field service technicians to receive maintenance and repair information appropriate to individual skill levels—delivered dynamically on mobile devices. Astoria’s Branch/Merge and Electronic Signature capabilities ensure that only regulatory approved content is delivered to the field.

Rapid change comes with speed bumps

As with any major overhaul, GE Healthcare’s team had its share of challenges. Given the already rapid pace of the working environment, the implementation of change was, in Jeannette’s words, like “trying to change a tire while driving 100 mph.”

Having ventured into previously unexplored territory, the effort toward developing an actionable content strategy, selecting the right software tools and technology vendors, and then making a business case for the overhaul was a difficult task. Having subsequently received buy-in, the process of working with vendors, setting up the Astoria CCMS and the TM, and getting writers to operate in this new environments had its unique—albeit unsurprising—set of challenges and learning curves.

Jeannette offers up this advice for others looking to emulate GE Healthcare’s success.

Follow the 4 Ps:

  • “Always have a Plan B” (as things can always go wrong).
  • “Create a design that allows Plasticity
  • “Develop a Team whose overriding quality is Persistence.”
  • Choose a solution vendor who works like Partner.

In the end, the incremental steps carefully implemented by the GE Healthcare team yielded results that were remarkably exponential.

The post How GE Healthcare Streamlined Content Production and Slashed Expenses appeared first on The Content Wrangler.

Categories: DITA

Transcreation: Adapting Translated Content For Effectiveness

The Content Wrangler - Mon, 2016-08-29 14:39

Transwhat? That’s what most humans—and nearly all spellcheck programs—ask when they encounter the word, transcreation. In this post, an excerpt from the book Global Content Strategy: A Primer by Val Swisher, we explore the concept of transcreation and why adapting translated content for effectiveness is a necessary part of a successful global content strategy.

Transcreation: Adapting Translated Content For Effectiveness

These days, every employee produces content. In addition to the usual suspects–marketing communication writers, technical writers, course developers–software engineers write user guides, technical support engineers write frequently asked questions, and (shall we dare?) VPs of marketing write blog posts. Some of those folks work at your corporate headquarters. Others may work far away at your regional or branch offices. Those people may include sales reps, country-specific marketing communication folks, other engineers, and technical support reps. All those remote people are creating content that makes its way out to your customers and beyond.

“Oh no,” you may say. “They can’t do that. Everything must be sanctioned by headquarters. Legal insists on vetting all customer-facing content.”

Don’t fool yourself. I’ve seen sales groups in the Asia-Pacific region create their own slide presentations. European marketing people create their own datasheets and case studies, even separate technical forums, in other languages, for local markets.

Everyone, everywhere, is creating content. Now. As you read this.

The Good News

If it’s news to you that people throughout your company are creating content, it’s good news. Who understands the needs of a local market better than the people who live there and speak the language, literally and figuratively?

Imagine that you work for a company that has a presence in many countries. Your job is to create marketing campaigns that generate interest, spur emotion, and drive sales. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, maybe. My travels have taught me that emotion does not necessarily translate. Emotions themselves–love, for example–may be universal. Heck, I believe that my dog loves me. She truly loves me. But I digress.

Whether or not you agree that all humans (and canines?) share a basic set of emotions, I think we’d all agree that the expression of emotion varies widely from culture to culture. Values vary. Facial expressions of emotion vary. In September 2011, the American Psychological Association published a study on the perception of facial expressions to indicate emotion. Dr. Rachael Jack found that people from different cultures may perceive facial expressions differently. In her study, Perception of Facial Expressions Differs Across Cultures, she noted that East Asians and Western Caucasians differ in terms of the features they think constitute an angry face or a happy face.

 Faces -- adapting translated content

What Do Facial Expressions Have To Do With Creating Effective Content For Global Use?

A lot! If something as seemingly innate as a facial expression varies from culture to culture, then the words we use to express emotion may vary even more. After all, we have far more words at our disposal than facial expressions. And a good marketing campaign is all about emotion, isn’t it? Think about the best campaigns you’ve created or experienced. I bet they still evoke emotion, even if the product is long gone.

This reality presents a dilemma. How do you communicate a great, emotion-packed campaign across all the cultures that you need to target? While you might be able to translate the words, the campaign as a whole could be meaningless to someone a world away.

For example, I love the Got Milk campaign, which was created by the advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board back in 1993. Milk mustaches on celebrities. It was, and continues to be, a popular campaign. When I think about it, I smile. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And it’s meaningless in many cultures. One intent of the ad is to make people smile when they think about milk. But because the meaning and emotion don’t translate, the ad fails in some cultures.

Consider the Kentucky Fried Chicken tagline Finger-Lickin’ Good! which got translated into Chinese as Eat Your Fingers Off!

For dozens of campaigns gone wrong, read The Little Book of Transcreation, by Louise Humphrey, James Bradley, Amy Somers, and Guy Gilpin. It will make you laugh (or cry if you were one of the poor souls involved in the case studies).

Enter, Transcreation

To create a global marketing campaign that evokes the desired response in every culture you target, you need to recreate the campaign–the words and the images–or every culture. This process is known as transcreation. Content that is transcreated is created for a particular culture, using the vernacular of that culture, often in a certain locale. Transcreation is more of a content development process than a translation process. Sure, transcreated content retains the brand logo and mark, the corporate colors, and so on. What it doesn’t necessarily keep is the message or expression of sentiment.

There are some great examples of transcreation on the web. Coca-Cola (www.coca-cola.com) has dozens of transcreated sites. Here are a few.

 Coca-Cola Website, United States -- adapting translated content

Coca-Cola website, United States


Coca-Cola website, Israel -- adapting translated content

Coca-Cola website, Israel


Coca-Cola website, Great Britain -- adapting translated content

Coca-Cola website, Great Britain


Coca-Cola website, Russia -- adapting translated content

Coca-Cola website, Russia


Coca-Cola website, Taiwan -- adapting translated content

Coca-Cola website, Taiwan


Coca-Cola website, Portugal -- adapting translated content

Coca-Cola website, Portugal


Coca-Cola website, Japan -- adapting translated content

Coca-Cola website, Japan

Coca-Cola is impressive in the amount of content they transcreate. They change not only the words but also the visuals and the layout – all to match the predominant culture of the target country. For example, the Japanese and Taiwanese sites have boxy layouts. These cultures are accustomed to seeing advertisements in a box format. Every site is customized.

This is great, isn’t it? They target every culture, every country. Wow!

The Bad News

There is bad news. (You knew it was coming, yes?) The bad news is that people all over the world are creating rogue content and sending it to your customers! Yikes! And you–the central point for all global content–may have no idea. You don’t know who is writing what, for whom, when, and for what purpose. You don’t know if the messaging is on target. You don’t know if the trademarks have been used appropriately. (Insert legal-team tantrum here.) You might know that those people are creating content over there. But get beyond the loose idea, and the picture gets fuzzy.

In all seriousness, it is a problem when nonsanctioned employees across the world go off and create their own content with no input, guidance, or knowledge from headquarters. It becomes a content management problem and, ultimately, a global content strategy problem. How can you plan your global content strategy if you don’t know about the content itself?

You can’t.

What Is The Solution?

The solution isn’t to mandate that all content come from headquarters. That idea won’t work. You are not going to get customized content to each region, specifically targeted to a local culture, properly localized, translated, or transcreated in time to meet every region’s needs. You can strategize and plan all you like, but it won’t work. No one knows a region as well as the people who live there.

The solution is to reach out to all your locations and involve them in the plan. As you plan your global strategy, take into account the various regions. Include them in your campaigns. Ask them if they plan to create their own content. Get to know your teams around the world. Invite them to share their plans with you. Share your plans with them. Ask how you can support them as you plan the global strategy for a product release, a website upgrade, or a sales campaign. Convince them that they can benefit from your efforts. Once everyone agrees with the plan, you can give them the freedom to use their knowledge of local customs to create targeted, culturally-appropriate material.

Then, make sure that the people creating the content know how to write. An engineer, for example, may lack the skills to write great marketing or sales copy, regardless of his or her native language. If you don’t have native writers located in-country, consider hiring a partner to do the transcreation instead. That way, you get the best writing, created in the language that you need.

Not So Fast!

Before you start adapting translated content for effectiveness, beware. The amount of organization, time, coordination, and, most of all, money required to create and update this type of extensive global presence is enormous. In all likelihood, you will need a separate creative team in each country. As products and campaigns are phased in and out, each team needs to plan and execute in lockstep. Otherwise, the sites look disjointed and unprofessional. The proliferation of visuals and taglines can be overwhelming. And you can only imagine the cost.

So what should a business – let’s say, one that generates less than several billion each year in revenue – do? Here are a few pointers:

  • Make your campaigns as universal as possible. This may be difficult to do, given that we just agreed that there is no universal way to evoke emotion. And removing emotion from marketing materials defeats the purpose. But you can still try.
  • Before you embark on any transcreation, have an infrastructure in place. By this, I mean a content management system, complete with tags and metadata, so that when you do come out with a new product, all the product images, for example, are stored centrally and can be easily found by all system users.
  • Document your workflows and processes. Multiple people will be creating content for the same product at the same time. Reuse where you can. At a minimum, help each content creator know what the others are doing. You’d be amazed at the confusion I’ve seen (or maybe you wouldn’t).
  • Prioritize the pieces to be transcreated. I know, sounds obvious. But it’s always worth saying. You might end up transcreating a top-level web page and maybe one level down (the pages that are one click away from the top level). And after that, you might direct people back to your home-language site (for example, English). In that case, make sure that the English pages are understandable to all your readers, including those who have English as a second language. Use simple words and phrases. Keep your sentences short.
  • Make sure that all of your content is searchable in the target language. If I’m viewing a Japanese page and want to search for something that happens to be on an English-only page, I still need to be able to search for it in Japanese. Or German. Or Swahili. Recently, I was shopping at a multinational company using their French website. I was interested in returning an item. I could not find any information in French on how to return the item. I tried searching every French term for return that I could think of. Instead, I had to search in English and be directed to the English returns page. Imagine how frustrating this would be for a customer who does not speak English. Tagging your English pages for multilingual search can be a huge task. Start with the most important terms. For example, I think it’s important to be able to return a product and I might not know the word for return in English. Add terms as quickly as you can after that.

What you should not do is take your new, witty, hip branding and assume that you can translate it into Farsi, Arabic, Mandarin, or any other language without evaluating it–the language, the images, the layout, the medium, and everything about it–for cultural appropriateness. You might end up creating one of those disasters that people like me write about.


Transcreation is a content development process in which content is created–and customized–for a particular culture, in a particular language, or for a particular region. Transcreated content is not translated from a source; it is a source. It does not necessarily exist in any other language.

Remember these two main points when adapting translated content:

  • Done well, transcreated content evokes the desired emotional response in cases where the original expression of emotion might not translate.
  • Employees all over the world are already transcreating content. They just haven’t told you.

While overusing transcreation can create expensive headaches, using it for the right content at the right time can yield excellent results.


The post Transcreation: Adapting Translated Content For Effectiveness appeared first on The Content Wrangler.

Categories: DITA

Converting between MIDI and RDF: readable MIDI and more fun with RDF

bobdc.blog - Sun, 2016-08-28 16:24
Listen to my fun! Bob DuCharme http://www.snee.com/bobdc.blog
Categories: DITA

What about Bob? (or why you won’t want to miss our customer panels at RSuiteUC16)

Really Strategies - Fri, 2016-08-26 15:19

I do a lot of research and reading on the topic of customer success.  As a result, quotes like these often find their way to a sticky-note, my computer desktop, or a post on Slack:

  • When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” (Robert Half)

  • “What’s important is the progression from an organization that targets customers to extract value from a customer base to a fully customer-centric firm that excels at delivering value based on a deep understanding of customers’ needs, wants, and desires." (Robert G. Thompson)
  • “Whatever your business is, talk to your customers and provide them with what they want. It makes sense.” (Bob Bowman)
Inspired by these quotes, one of the things I’m most excited about at the upcoming RSuite User Conference is our customer panels.  We have one panel to feature newer customers and another composed of veteran clients and I’m downright PUMPED about what I’m going to hear.

Of course, if you have some stake in RSuite, these sessions will be equally or perhaps even more valuable to you.  Below are 3 key reasons why YOU can get "stoked" about these customer panels, too.

Note: you may have noticed (as I did) that my quotes above were all by guys named “Robert.” Keeping in the spirit, I decided to organize my key takeaways below based on famous quotes by other guys named Robert!  So have some fun as you read and see how well you know these famous Roberts…

Two roads diverged…

Whether you’re ahead, behind, or on the same version of RSuite as the panelists, it won’t take long to see that no two clients use RSuite in the same way.  You can take advantage of this fact by getting this sneak peek into how these other organizations prioritize/incorporate new functionality and how they creatively solve many of the same challenges you face.  Attending these panels will give you an unprecedented opportunity to collect ideas and really understand how RSuite has made all the difference.

The best laid schemes…

Another common theme in every RSuite implementation is that enterprise software projects don’t always go exactly as planned…and that’s okay. These customer panels will show you, little Mouse, you are not alone! <grin> Whether you are still considering RSuite or are in your nth phase of development, the experience of others in these panels can become your guide – giving you a huge advantage in your next project and helping you to create success more quickly.

Gotta whole lotta love…

Probably the best thing about these sessions is that you get to hear about real results and real NUMBERS and why these customers LOVE RSuite.  Baby, I’m not foolin’…this technology is making a huge difference for clients in tangible ways and these sessions will get you pumped about the possibilities.


Join the RSI team and more than 100 publishing executives on Wednesday and Thursday, September 21st and 22nd.

The RSuite User Conference highlights include talks by RSI executives and product leaders, technical lightning rounds, and customer panels. Attendees will also have the ability to schedule one-on-one meetings with members of the RSuite engineering team. You'll have the opportunity to hear from both new and experienced RSuite customers, learn what their goals were when they first began using RSuite and learn what their successes look like today.

You can catch these sessions in the morning and afternoon.

Space is limited.

Register Now


Categories: DITA
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