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Comments for Scriptorium

The Content Strategy Experts

Last Build Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:16:28 +0000


Comment on Is Google Translate good enough? by Joseph

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:16:28 +0000

Hello Bill, Good post. Google Translate is good but sometimes it translates words which do not actually work in real life in terms of pronunciation. I have a Spanish friend and I often talk with him by using Google translate. Sometimes it works properly but sometimes AI is simply unable to translate words which I can found useful. Content quality always defers time to time even the same I practically experienced for my work. It's a good effort but needs some more efforts to develop.

Comment on Cleaning up your product content lifecycle by Sarah O'Keefe

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:17:34 +0000

Hi Shubhada, If you're looking for information beyond general best practices, we offer consulting services in this area.

Comment on Cleaning up your product content lifecycle by Shubhada

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 09:45:56 +0000

I am an Information Coordinator for a product of 1.4 GB docset. The Writers work in different locations across the globe. Need pointers to reduce the docset size.

Comment on Does Markdown fit into your content strategy? by Larry Kollar

Sat, 10 Feb 2018 04:35:17 +0000

Maybe. I'm writing a smallish (maybe 50 topics when complete) book in LwDITA as a personal exercise, and so far I haven't felt the need to uplift any of the topics out of MDITA. Yet. Granted, I'm using a bookmap to organize the thing, Still, the beauty of LwDITA is the ability to match the format of each individual topic to the required complexity. I'm not ignorant of the power (or the drawbacks) of an XML=based publishing system. At work, I'm ankle-deep head-first in the muck of a DITA conversion, and spearheading several of the sub-projects including the plugin and file conversion. Over the last few years, I've gone from being a lone writer in one part of a medium-sized company to being part of a global team, and the entire company is still trying to adjust to the new mindset. I first heard about LwDITA in April, at the CIDM conference in San Diego. If DITA-OT 3.0 had been available then, I probably could have made a case to use LwDITA to ease us into the transition (especially since I wrote a transform to pull Author-It XML into Markdown + ditamaps). Lately, I've been thinking about writing a transform to turn OPML outlines into bookmaps. Dare me, and I'll do it. Throw in a craft beer, and I'll throw in reltables. :-)

Comment on Is Google Translate good enough? by Bill Swallow

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:35:12 +0000

A song from The Smiths comes to mind (How Soon Is Now)... I'd say in some cases, soon *is* now. It depends on what you need, which begs the question, "What is the definition of 'good enough?'" The API provides MANY more NMT pairings than the conventional web service, but the results are still not 100%. But are the results "good enough?" They might be if you don't need 100% accuracy, or are OK with doing an editorial pass on translated content (which is always a good idea regardless how how content is translated).

Comment on Is Google Translate good enough? by Tim Slager

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:21:16 +0000

I think the key question is, How soon will it be good enough? From there we need to know how that will affect our processes.

Comment on Is Google Translate good enough? by Bill Swallow

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 15:02:46 +0000

Hi Rosemarie, I think the web form still uses phrase-based MT for Polish, which is less than optimal. The (paid) API does provide NMT for Polish <> English.

Comment on Is Google Translate good enough? by Rosemarie

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 14:41:27 +0000

I've tried to use Google Translate to go from English to Polish with horrifying results. More often than acceptable, a *negative* was omitted from a sentence. That's kind-of important! It also frequently mangles personal pronouns and gender. Luckily, I only use it for inter-office communications, where the recipient understands that I am still something of a student in the language.

Comment on Does Markdown fit into your content strategy? by Bill Swallow

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 16:15:08 +0000

Hi Larry, All very true. But I still think Markdown will be a disposable source format, even in the context of Lightweight DITA. Markdown just isn't contextually rich enough on its own, and isn't built for robust reuse. What you get is M > LwDITA, not M <> LwDITA. That is, LwDITA is the master, maintained source. M just feeds new content into it. Further, LwDITA may be fine for some needs, but it's still not contextually rich enough to handle more robust publishing requirements.

Comment on Does Markdown fit into your content strategy? by Larry Kollar

Mon, 05 Feb 2018 14:58:42 +0000

"All those variants" turns out to be not so big a deal. The only time it would become a problem is if you're sharing raw Markdown (your variant) with some other group (their variant). Commonmark ( is a good choice if that's an issue. It's more likely, though, that you would be sharing the HTML output instead. All the variants I've tried (personally, I think MultiMarkdown is a good choice for technical writing) generate the cleanest HTML I've ever seen that wasn't written by hand. My fiction-writing workflow uses Markdown -> HTML. From there, I can feed the same HTML to an EPUB formatter, or run it through an XSL:FO script I wrote to format a PDF. It takes less than half an hour to produce publish-ready copy. But I digress. For technical writers, I know two scenarios where Markdown really works: 1) You're working in a sprint-based development environment, where you need to get it done fast. Bonus points if the engineers are feeding you raw copy in Markdown already. 2) You have to do some of your work on mobile devices. Few if any mobile apps support XML or even HTML, but all you need is something that can edit raw text. There are mobile apps like Byword that are Markdown-centric. Lightweight DITA includes Markdown as an input format, and (as you probably know) DITA-OT 3.0 supports it. I see exciting times ahead.