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.”


1/06 initiative kickoff
conferences, vendor demos

3/07 reorganization joined UA and localization services

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

* 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
* 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


* 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


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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