International Documentation Project Reflections: Week 4

Just a quick update here. If you haven’t read the last post, you can view that here.

There wasn’t much of anything to report for this week as we’ve completed everything on the English side of things at this point.

Team France was able to translate our document and there was a bit of decision making going on as far as certain words that needed to be modified so our editor Peter, had to go in and rearrange some words (there was a lot of technical words that didn’t have a specific meaning in French). I also learned that translating from French to English is tougher, and it makes the document longer because you have to break down words or substitute words. This can also be an issue when translating the document back into English as once the words are translated, the document may not even make sense.

I remember when I did my online internship with a Libertarian political and social news website PanAmPost that focused on Latin America, I had to translate articles from Spanish to English. The difficulty with that was there were lots of articles that were pulled from various countries in Latin America, and many of these countries used a variety of different Spanish dialects. Many of the words didn’t show up in the Spanish dictionary. Luckily, we had people on our team who were native Spanish speakers and others who were familiar with those dialects.

I managed to speak with my team here at UCF and we had a discussion about the blog posts and other topics. We all didn’t know what else to write about but I think by the time we finished discussing everything, we’ll all end up with about several paragraphs in our latest post. 🙂

Until next time!

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International Documentation Project Reflections: Week 3

*See last week’s post for details on the last group meeting.

Two awesome things happened. First, I didn’t have to deal with jury duty. It was canceled. And second, we finished our document early! Our completed documents were scheduled to be sent over to the French team today (Feb. 20), but our group worked so diligently, we managed to turn in our drafts last Thursday and by Saturday, the drafts were completed and submitted to the French team. They started working on the document immediately.

I had trouble with my draft due to the fact that it was way over the 250-word limit (not by much it was at like 338 or something). I have a tendency to be long-winded when I write due to the fact that I like details and I hate leaving things out, all without trying to sound too wordy and ambiguous (I noticed that I have been using this word a lot since I started technical writing. Some words just tend to grow on you. I hardly used this word previously). Being long winded is something as a technical writer that I still have difficulty with, even though I do like taking complicated instructions and making them easy for people to comprehend.

Peter our editor managed to get my section close to 250. He chopped about 70 words and took out a quote that I had used. It was a great decision on his part and worked for the sake of the document. I think the reason why I struggled with length was because I had trouble trying to find exact topics on usernames and user privacy so I had to just find username tips and suggestions. Later on realized that I was over thinking the assignment. This is something I tend to do a lot. Having anxiety doesn’t make things any better. I find it ironic that I like taking difficult things and making them simple, but on the other hand, I can make things more complicated than it should be. This is something I need to work on. This assignment opened my eyes to this more so than ever.

I’ve been fortunate to have been placed with a group that is very hardworking, but also very easy going. No added stress. This week the French team will be working on translations. Our final document was a little over 1,800 words and they are instructed to use “Simplified Technical English”. One of the members reported that it’s taking them longer to do because of this specification. This is one process that I am looking forward to seeing play out. Having to translate something in English is difficult in itself, but having to do it from a technical standpoint is another…

International Documentation Project Reflections: Week 2

There hasn’t been anything major that happened group wise since my last post. It was a pretty busy week for me. I had two tests I had to study for, three important meetings (one major one being for my internship – which went awesome), among other things.

Our groups managed to get together to discuss our roles, what we can do, etc. We also decided to break up the sections of our “Guide to Identity Protection When Creating User Accounts” and I ended up doing a section on usernames and privacy. This included whether to use e-mail addresses as usernames, how do you select usernames without giving way too much personal information, and so forth.

Our (unofficial) project manager/official group editor, Peter who is with the Irish group decided that it would be feasible for us to have at least 250 words per section, so we would cap the entire document at 900 or so words so the French team will be able to translate it with ease. I pretty much became the unofficial project manager for my group as well. Two of our members were behind a bit, but we managed to get them both caught up. One was sick, and the other had Internet issues and it was just a hectic week for her. She wanted to do a Google Hangout, and I was hesitant at first since I’m camera shy, but I sucked it up and went with it because I knew she wanted to/need to get caught up. Well, what was suppose to be a 30 minute session, turned into 2 hours. We talked about school and everything under the sun. We didn’t just use this time just to discuss school and other things, we were also waiting to see if any other people from our group would want to join in on the conversation, and they did.

We set an internal deadline for turning in our portions by this Thursday, Feb. 16, with Friday, Feb. 17 being the latest so Peter could edit the document and send it out to the French group by Monday, Feb. 20.

For the upcoming week, our group will probably just focus on getting our drafts completed and submitted. I still have more to worry about though. I may have jury duty on the 15th, and I’m hoping it will be canceled. :/

That’s it for this week!

International Documentation Project Reflections: Week 1

First blog post! YAY!

When I entered this class I was just expecting to learn about working with international groups and technical communications. We had touched on several things in previous courses about gestures, gender roles, etc. However, I was surprised to learn that we would actually be getting real-world experience working with technical writers in other countries. And by this being an online course, I think it makes it even worthwhile and exciting. I was enthusiastic because this would be a good way to learn more about communicating and editing/working on technical documents with students in different countries and who have different cultures (in this case, Ireland and France), various work practices, and languages and dialects. This approach would not be as personal, but more so on an academic level, so that was interesting and a bit intimidating at the same time.

So, this week we officially got the ball rolling in my ENC 4262 International Technical Communications class on our documentation project. I turned in my Country Report (got an “A”) and then I contacted my group. I had introduced myself to them the same week as we had to select our groups, so I reached out with a follow-up e-mail discussing group roles, my pros/cons, things I’ve done with past groups, experiences, etc. My teammates followed suit. Earlier in the week, I received an e-mail from our teammates in France and Ireland, and my teammates and I were welcomed with opened arms. We’ve already chosen a topic (A Guide to Identity Protection When Creating User Accounts) and decided over the weekend to think about it, our roles, how we’re going to divide up the work, how we’re going to communicate, etc.

There was an event that occurred on Friday, and after this had happened, it gave me a lot to reflect on as far as working with groups. On Friday, there was a machete attack that was deemed as being investigated as an act of possible terrorism at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Our French group was close to where the event happened. We’re all connected to the WhatsApp app and I had read back and forth about what had happened between the French and Irish group. They were okay and not in harm’s way, but it just goes to show you how things can somewhat affect you even if you live thousands of miles away, and only know people from a business/academic standpoint. It had me worried even though I’ve only known them for a short period of time.
This made me think about how would an event like this (if God forbid, it did get to a point where people were injured and killed), how would it affect the relationship within our group? How would it affect communication? Would the project get completely halted? I wonder sometimes in real-life situations how students and business people collaborating with others in places where war or political troubles is always constantly happening deal with these issues. I’m not saying that this will happen within my group, but it still makes me wonder about the “what ifs…?”

That’s it for this week!