STC 2008: Unifying Content Development and Localization at Palm

Sarah O'Keefe / ConferencesLeave a Comment

[Update: I forgot to identify the presenter, Jane Faraola of Palm.]

(Palm is a client of ours.)

The problem Palm faced was outright hostility between content development and localization. The origin of this was conflict because of late-breaking changes after the “declared” UI freeze. The content hand-off to localization might have to be repeated up to eight times after repeated UI freezes.

Things had to change — meetings were contentious and localization said at one point that they
“wanted to break our fingers.”

Timeline…

1/06 initiative kickoff
conferences, vendor demos

3/07 reorganization joined UA and localization services

investigate
big change, big impact
* adopt structure authoring, possibly a new toolset
* consider DITA
* select and implement a CMS
* select and implement TMS
* add staff to handle add’l workload
* select and implement a hosted PM tool

small change, big impact
* adopt structure authoring
* select and implement a translation management system
* select and implement a hosted PM tool

Challenges
* resistance from authoring staff
* lack of IT support
* product dev times with no room for error
* limited budget

They chose…small change, big impact
* structure authoring/FrameMaker 8
* adopt XSLT for conversion
* implement TMS

tried CMS pilot, but figured a year to implement
didn’t think CMS space was fully mature
FM/DITA had issues with tables, indexing
XML not the greatest tool for publishing printed doc
Palm timelines do not allow time to fail

head-to-head competition between LionBridge and SDL for TM tools

moved to str FrameMaker
October 07 loc tool

initial metrics
* FM7 to FM8 in less than two months
Success!
* TMS up and running in less than 5 weeks
6 months with a lot of hiccups
* lower overall authoring, DTP and conversion costs
Not yet. Authoring and DTP costs are holding steady, conversion costs are down.
* reduce loc timelines
Not yet. Only three months in, but optimistic

Rising requirements for localization…
2006 – 17% of deliverables in non-English
2007 – 30%
2008 – 35%

Integrating content dev and localization is a cost-effective approach to creating the highest quality multilingual deliverables

Active project management from both teams

Headaches

* more email
* more process
* continuous change
* pressure to “not touch the doc”
* defining ownership on a product

What’s still needed?
* effective tools to simplify localization
* simplify processes
* create great content for local markets instead of “just localize”

new mission statement
empower users worldwide to successfully incorporate stuff

English development versus localization staff = 1-to-1 ratio

SDL TMS is workflow automation. manages translation memory. very customized workflow.

Interesting overview of an organizational change that was needed to be more effective.

About the Author

Sarah O'Keefe

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Content strategy consultant and founder of Scriptorium Publishing. Bilingual English-German, voracious reader, water sports, knitting, and college basketball (go Blue Devils!). Aversions to raw tomatoes, eggplant, and checked baggage.

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