05 August 2013

Lucy does it again!

FT columnist  Lucy Kellaway has written another one of her marvelous takes on language, this time under the heading Abuse of language that keeps going forward.

Some quotable quotes:
  • UK civil servants have been banned from using 30 ugly words. There will be no more “delivering” – unless pizzas are involved; no more “empowerment” or “facilitation”, and nothing will ever be “key” again, apart from things that fit in locks. “Going forward” – another banned phrase – there will be no more “fostering” without children and no more “driving” without steering wheels.
  • a blog with the title “Your Company is Only as Good as Your Writing”. (see posts below)
  • ...  a reminder of how business people are addicted to abusing meaning, syntax and metaphor, but to show that Mr Wiens is wrong: there is no link between business success and talking like a regular human being. 
  • The sad truth is that words matter to only a few of us, and we get unreasonably agitated when people use them badly. 
  • If there is no business link between language and sales, there is no point in exhortation ...
Highly recommended.
I agree with Lucy when she says that "there is no business link between language and sales", except in the rarest situations, possibly including the aims of people like Mr Wiens, iFixit, along with some journalists, technical communicators and   translators, among others.

Visual is better

The post immediately below (A different type of resource) led me directly to the Dozuki site.

Companies considering projects involving multilingual manuals, should think first about reducing the volume of text in the source documents while carefully standardising the terminology and style. Visual documents offer tremendous potential in this respect and the people at Dozuki appear to know what they're talking about.

The site explains:
Dozuki makes innovative documentation software for everything from work instructions to product support.

A different type of resource

The Harvard Business Review article entitled Your Company Is Only as Good as Your Writing by Kyle Wiens of iFixit contains the following short sentence explaining what Mr Wiens' company does: For the last 10 years, iFixit has been writing and hosting free, open source repair manuals for every thing.

Translators working into English on items for which iFixit has written an open source repair manual thus have access to a remarkable resource by a company that has invested a great deal in high-quality technical communication. Sound promising?

If you have an opportunity to use this resource, please let me know what you think.

Translation and disruption #5

If the translation industry is indeed on the brink of disruptive innovation some of the things that may happen could include: change will ...