At the end of last year we surveyed our members about our regular Watercooler Webinar chats and what topics you’d like to discuss in 2012. We had 18 respondents.
Most people replied that they would prefer to discuss internationalisation and global work issues (82%) covering producing documentation for international audiences and working with teams/companies located globally. Fewer (18%) were interested in discussing localisation and translation issues covering adapting documentation to regional needs and translation project issues.
Top internationalisation & global work topics to discuss
The survey gave a list of five proposed topics for discussion and here are the results in order of preference:
Global harmonisation of documentation standards across different writing groups in a company
Getting started in terminology management
Collecting metrics about our documents
Impact of mergers and acquisitions on documentation and writing teams, particularly if the teams are located across different countries
Making a business case to get a new tool for doing documentation
Internationalisation & global work topics proposed by respondents are
Embedded information in globalised software
Content structure differences across languages and locales
Why tech pubs is the logical department to lead these tasks
Top localisation and translation issues topics to discuss
The survey gave a list of four proposed topics for discussion and here are the results in order of preference:
Doing more with less when translating manuals – let’s talk money.
European Union directives and their impact on documentation.
Absent best practices – Most localisation problems start with the English source documentation.
The impact can poor content and layout on localization.
Stepping into the House of Babel. What to consider when starting to get our documentation translated.
When to hold the chats
We also asked about when you’d like to hold the chats. Most of you (44%) preferred the second week of the month to hold the chat. Wednesday was the most popular day (50%) but Tuesday and Thursday scored well too (39% each).
Two times were favoured for the chats: 16:00 CET (10:00 am EST) and 17:00 CET (11:00 am EST). Both scored 56%. Third most popular time was 18:00 CET (12:00 EST) scoring 50%.
Our next chat
So for 2012, we’ll be holding our Watercooler Webinar chats on Wednesdays, the second week of the month. Later in the afternoon seems the best time, either 16:00 or 17:00 CET. Over the next couple of months we’ll discuss the two top topics selected, Global harmonisation and Getting started in terminology. These results also give us good ideas for webinar presentations by invited speakers.
Our next Watercooler Webinar chat will be on Wednesday, 8 February. Details will be sent out to members shortly.
Here are a few New Year Resolutions you might like to add to your personal list:
Visit the Europe SIG’s updated web site regularly
This is the easiest resolution to keep because you’re here already – just take a look round our brand new site and come back as often as you can. If you’d like to contribute, please contact our web manager, Karen Mardahl (email@example.com)
Renew your STC membership
Although money is tight for everyone this year, STC membership gives you access to a worldwide community of technical communicators, writers, editors, illustrators, and educators, that you simply can’t get anywhere else. If you want to keep moving forward with your career, can you afford to let your professional affiliation lapse?
Volunteer to help the STC Europe SIG
You can get even more out of your STC membership not only by staying a member of the Europe SIG, but by giving up a little of your own time and effort to help the SIG move forward. We are still STC’s youngest and smallest Special Interest Group, and we need as much help as we can get. Being a SIG volunteer means that you help decide what kinds of activities the SIG promotes, and how we communicate with our members. So please, even if you can only manage a couple of hours a month, do get in touch. If you’d like to help with the SIG elections please contact Derek Torres (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you’d like to help with anything else, please contact me (email@example.com) or Jen O Neill (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The challenges faced by technical communicators in Europe, which include meeting the imperatives of multi-language publications, ensuring conformity with a changing regulatory environment, and working in diverse cultures and languages (and perhaps different versions of English), are often greater than those felt by their colleagues in other regions. But dealing with Europe-specific issues is also increasingly important for technical communicators outside Europe due to the advancing globalisation of industries, technologies, and marketplaces. The STC Europe SIG is one of the ways in which these challenges can be addressed.
The Europe SIG seeks advance the purposes of the Society by working with individuals and groups across Europe to promote technical communication. The Europe SIG can give STC members who are based in Europe a collective voice in what happens in their region and will seek to establish a dialogue with existing organisations, such as TC-Europe, in a spirit of sharing and co-operation and not as a competitor. Its establishment also creates an enduring framework for trans-European initiatives such as conferences and the Europe-wide technical communications competition. It aims to help share information between members on dealing with the challenges and opportunities of working across Europe. The Europe SIG’s goal is to complement, not compete with, the activities of geographical communities in the region.
If you’re interested in joining a team focussed on European issues related to technical communication, then join the Europe SIG. Membership of the Europe SIG is open to any STC member who is interested in European technical communications issues, irrespective of where they are based.
For further information about the SIG, contact the interim co-managers: Jennifer O Neill (France Chapter) writer at jennifer-oneill.eu David Farbey (UK Chapter) david at farbey.co.uk