Information Management News
A monthly e-newsletter from The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM)
If you would like to receive the CIDM e-newsletter in plain-text format, visit https://www.infomanagementcenter.com/subscribe.htm and choose the plain-text format.
The United States and the World are in the midst of the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. No one of working age has ever witnessed such an event. The DOW as I write has just fallen through the 7,000 point level or one half of its highest level just 17 months ago. Investors have lost half of their wealth. Corporations have lost half of their value. Some, AIG for example, have lost as much as 99% of their value, or, they no longer exist. Real unemployment in the United States, depending where you live, is well over 20%.
In July 2008 the TAUS Data Association (TDA) was established by 47 founding members representing some of the largest buyers of localization services, language service providers, and technology companies. TDA is a not-for-profit member organization bringing together the translation memories and terminology of the global translation industry. The resulting Language Data Exchange Portal is a high quality, open, and secure language database for the benefit of all.
There is no question anymore that DITA can fundamentally improve an organization’s ability to reach and penetrate global markets. But too often DITA is simply presented to management as a means to “save translation costs.” There is a subtle but vast conceptual difference between “translation costs savings” and “expansion of global markets” even though both describe one and the same benefit. This question of labels would not really matter were it not for the fact that words shape how management perceives and ultimately funds a DITA initiative. Misnaming benefits can undermine the perceived value of an initiative that is strategic, and ironically compromise the funding and hence very success of a project. “Translation cost savings” is not strategic, “expanding global markets” is.
In the last four or so years numerous whitepapers and articles have been written about DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) praising its advantages over other information-management methods and advising technical communicators keen to adopt it, on how to win the hearts of their managers. DITA’s features and unique design have been discussed at many technical conferences where the advanced-thinking technical communicators gathered to hear directly from the leading experts of the benefits, best practices, tips, and tricks. A very active mailing list on Yahoo has been created to help the newcomers to the DITA world get needed advice from their peers who have already spent some time dealing with known and unknown issues surrounding DITA and DITA-OT (DITA Open Toolkit). The Swinburne University in Melbourne (Australia) even pioneered a uni course on structured authoring with the main focus on DITA.