Position Statement for I18N Workshop

Teresa Mulvihill, t2a Communications

International Technical Communications and Today's Technologies

Introducing technical information to diverse cultures creates unique challenges in publishing. In the global economy, successful technical communicators cannot afford to ignore cultural influences on information presentation. Based on research, personal professional experience, and interviews with other publishers, this paper reviews effective ways to globalize and localize information using HTML, XML, WML, WAP, Acrobat, FrameMaker, PhotoShop, and other tools.

International technical communication requires extensive audience and task analysis. There are obvious factors such as language, spelling, time zones, standard paper sizes, and units of measurement that must be considered before beginning a localization project. However, technical communicators must also consider subtle effects, such as cultural interpretations of layout, colors, and symbols.

Technologies, such as XML, and applications, such as Adobe FrameMaker and Acrobat, simplify the localization process. XML allows publishers to single source information while presenting it in different ways depending on cultures and media. Using XSL and CSS to support different cultural layouts and color guides can ease localization and internationalization efforts.

You can find more information on my web site: http://home.earthlink.net/~tea2a/