Blog: Content writing and content strategy insights

Writing translatable English: resources to get you started

The goal of global English is to be intelligible. Not to speak or write impeccable Standard English but to communicate our meaning successfully to people whose English is different from our own.


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Global English is the foreign language that most technical writers need

Global English for Global Business by Rachel McAlpine

Learning Global English is more use to most technical writers than learning a Foreign Language. And easier!

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Cross-cultural communication: globalizing English web content

Kyoto path: cross cultural communication

A few years ago I went to a terrific seminar on cross-cultural communication. I was shocked to discover that only a few of the audience were from the business world. Why's that shocking? Because the topic is relevant to every web site—not just those for EFL teachers, ESL and ESOL teachers, refugees and immigrants.

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International business English on the Web: put it on your bucket list

You could put Contented online writing courses on your bucket list—but don't wait too long! We teach international business English on the Web: and you need those skills right now.

This year we've given presentations at conferences in three countries, for technical writers, government web site managers, local government web teams and community volunteers. Each time, we take along our little pink bucket.

So far, the little pink bucket has never been used to build sandcastles or put out a fire. Instead it's where people drop their business cards in the hope of winning a copy of Write me a web page, Elsie! and a chance do the Contented Diploma in Web Content courses free.

At the STC India conference last week, the lucky winner was Vinish Garg, President and CEO of Congratulations, Vinish!

Nice to win but why wait? Our next newsletter will announce an end-of-year holiday special. Watch for it and grab it.

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Vocab alert: "Diploma" has multiple meanings

In Australia, "diploma" has a precise meaning, one that implies a pretty serious study programme. You wouldn't embark on an Aussie diploma lightly.

It's not like that all over the world, however. Internationally, a diploma can be anything from a post-graduate 2-year course of university study to a short, solid professional development qualification, like ours.

Oops, that's another international terminology trap! "Professional development" in New Zealand applies to all professions, but in some countries is used mostly by the teaching profession.

Our Diploma in Web Content is an integrated bundle of 10 discrete short courses. You can complete the work and pass the tests (hopefully) in about 10 hours; you're enrolled for 3 months so you can benefit fully.

We use the word "diploma" because:
~ there's no international agreement on what a diploma should be
~ we need to differentiate between a 10-course diploma and a single 1-hour course.

Get it? Our Diploma is a short, focused, practical study programme that easily fits into the working life of busy professionals. You can do it, starting tomorrow and finishing within 3 months.

Nevertheless, terminology is a real problem, because in Australia the word "diploma" seems like a nonsense for a qualification that takes 3 months. Credibility suffers.

We're thinking that for Aussie graduates we might provide an alternative version of our hard-copy Diploma, using words that make sense in their work environment. But what phrase should we use?

"Professional Development Diploma"?

We need your advice please!

Photo: (c) Tokyo Institute of Technology in spring.

Google warns book authors... in print

Google's advertisements in newspapers around the world, including Niue and the Cook Islands, amuses the New York Times writer Noam Cohen and many others.

But the reason for the retro ads is a bit scary.

Google, the online giant, had been sued in federal court by a large group of authors and publishers who claimed that its plan to scan all the books in the world violated their copyrights.

As part of the class-action settlement, Google will pay $125 million to create a system under which customers will be charged for reading a copyrighted book, with the copyright holder and Google both taking percentages; copyright holders will also receive a flat fee for the initial scanning, and can opt out of the whole system if they wish.

Take it or leave it, o ye copyright holders: if you don't like it, opt out... provided you noticed that advertisement in the first place. I'm personally all for Google's grand plan for my own works, in principle, but this strategy is rather like being judged guilty unless found innocent. I want control over my own works and who publishes them.

And if it comes to a battle between a Niuean poet and Google, I wonder who would win? Hm, that's a tough one. But give me a couple of days and I'll figure it out.