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Information development

Knowledge organization 15%

 

Effective information management (IM) involves

the process of collecting, storing, managing and maintaining information in all its forms. Information management is a broad term that incorporates policies and procedures for centrally managing and sharing information among different individuals, organizations and/or information systems throughout the information life cycle.

Information management is typically achieved through purpose-built information management systems and by supporting business processes and guidelines. Moreover, IM also focuses on how that information is shared and delivered to various recipients, including individuals and different computing devices such as an organization’s website, computers, servers, applications and/or mobile devices.

Document management

Automated workflows (review, approval), version control, metadata, co-authoring, online publication, websites

SharePoint XML, HTML

ISO 10244 Document management — Business process baselining and analysis

Map production - geographic information systems

Maps for data analysis, e.g. for epidemiology

ArcGIS and QGIS

Technical documentation

Preparing for a trade show, delivering to those critical first customers, finalizing CE-marking... suddenly your documentation must be ready!

  • Manuals, procedures (SOPs), work instructions, brochures,
  • API and database references, online hjælp, FAQ...

For many smaller and medium-sized companies and start-up businesses, hiring a full-time technical writer is too expensive an option - the need is too intermittent. A freelancer can be the solution.

But how can you explain something you do not understand? If your technical writer doesn’t understand your technology, he or she will need more support from your developers, have lower productivity and produce lower quality.

The right technical writer can do more than just write user-friendly text - he or she can relieve your developers of more of your documentation. A task that most developers usually want to spend as little time on as possible and which they aren't trained for - a combination that often results in imperfect documentation and low productivity.

The challenge is to find a freelancer who understands your technology!

If I don’t have the right technical knowledge myself to help with your documentation, my large network includes many technical writers, one of whom likely will meet your requirements.

 

And even more - after many years as a documentation manager, my network also includes copywriters, graphic designers, and translation companies - enabling me to act as project manager for your entire documentation task. From start to finish. No matter how large.

For smaller and medium-sized companies and start-up businesses, this means you can transfer all your documentation tasks to me and that you only need to coordinate with one person.

And only in those periods where you need help!

Technical writer

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Automating documentation

Writing is a creative task, which makes it hard to automate. However, methodologies and technologies are available to help companies avoid having to reinvent the wheel every time a new product needs to be documented.

In an established production environment, most new manuals are created by copying a previous manual. Clearly, this has a major cost advantage, but there are often two significant quality disadvantages:

  • Any quality problems in the original manual are duplicated to the new manual.
  • By the time a manual has been reused for several subsequent generations of a product, the manual's design is probably no longer suited to requirements of the new product's users.

And in the real world, there's never enough time to edit the recycled manual and rebuild it to reflect the new reality.

The solution to this problem is to create "modular" manuals, in which sections with unchanging content and sections with dynamic content are maintained in separate documents ("modules"). Two complementary methodologies in particular are notably helpful for this purpose:

  • Single-source publishing
  • Information Mapping

I can help you implement these methodologies in your documentation for long-term savings. Incidentally, implementing these methodologies in your existing documentation is a task well suited for "offshoring".

Translation

There are literally hundreds of thousands of freelance translators and thousands of agencies to choose from. So, what factors must you focus on when choosing?

The right translator

In spite of the fact that bad translation can be a total disaster (it can easily make a joke of your business or insult a potential customer), poor-quality translation is all

too common. Yet almost invariably, you have no way of knowing if that translation to Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, etc. that you have paid for has an acceptable quality.

To ensure quality: Firstly, your translator must not only be trained and educated, but he/she should very preferably be a native speaker with knowledge of your business's special terminology. Secondly, your translation must always be proofread by a native speaker. Finding the right skills among thousands of translators is difficult.

The right price

Translation is a very competitive business and market prices are usually reliable.

However, computer-aided translation (CAT) can offer major savings in translation costs, and all professional translation agencies and translators use CAT. So if you are not being offered discounts for repeat translations, you are very likely paying too much!

The right solution

I can recommend translation agencies whose quality, prices and terms you can have 100% confidence in.

However, agencies are always more expensive than freelancers. So if cost is a concern, I can find freelancers for almost any language through my network who will submit CVs and perform test translations for your evaluation.

As part of my service, I can also get your existing source documents and translations matched, and build up translation databases to support CAT-automation of your future translation jobs.

You can also use structured documentation, e.g. DITA, to reduce your translation costs through better control over what text you need to send to translation. I can advise you on DITA and help you implement it.

Or I can offer you a turn-key solution - leave everything to me!

Software development documentation

Maintaining documentation for developers can be a massively time-consuming job if done manually. Fortunately, there are tools and ways of automating this work:

Documentation generators - Includes automated extraction of code comments and production of API documentation. Also used to support continuous publication.

Auto-generated Database Documentation - scripts to produce database documentation in HTML or XML, auto-generated ERDs, etc.

Call me to discuss your requirements.

Print-on-Demand

I can help design a production process to support print-on-demand, enabling you to have your manuals printed in small production runs at locations around the world, significantly reducing both printing and shipping costs.

Information development
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