Multi-Lingual and Global Support Considerations
The majority of the Consortium members operate in global, multi-lingual, multi-cultural environments. Both the growth markets revenue and the sources of support resources are in emerging markets where the language and culture are different from those of the home office. Many companies in the high tech sector have standardized on English as the language for business, even though they are based in non-English speaking countries and serve markets and have employees in non-English speaking parts of the world.
This presents some big challenges when it comes to sharing knowledge on a global basis. As best we know, there is no easy answer. Cultural sensitivity and language translation are both difficult and expensive to maintain.
KCS as a methodology does not address cultural sensitivity but KCS does offer some relief in the area of multi-language support. If an organization adopts the content structure and style recommended in the KCS methodology of “complete thoughts, not complete sentences” then this creates the following benefits in a multi-language environment:
- Complete thoughts are often easier to comprehend than complete sentences
- The KCS structure gives meaning and context to the words and phrases in the article
The use of machine translation has increased dramatically over the past few years. It is not perfect but it is gaining acceptance as sufficient for support content. Following are some examples of how companies are leveraging machine translation:
- “Just do it” – Use machine translation for all support content in the knowledge base and translate it into selected languages. Intel uses machine translation to offer their support web site in five different languages
- “Demand driven” – Limited machine translation; only articles that have reuse get translated
- “The hybrid” – A hybrid approach of machine translation with a manual post edit for reused articles
- “Side by side” – Microsoft has found that offering the original article along side the machine translated article greatly increases user’s confidence and therefore use of machine translated articles
For more information on machine translation visit the Translation Automation Users Society at www.taus.com
KCS Articles in the knowledge base enhance Analyst training by allowing Analysts to find information that they may not have known prior to their search. For example, an Analyst might get trained on a product and then not have any contact with that product for several months. When a call comes in, the Analyst can search the knowledge base and find information that they forgot or may not have learned. This is what we refer to as “just-in-time training”.
Content as shown in KCS Version 5.3 Knowledge-Centered Support Practices Guide (2012) S3 [8.1-5]. KCS v5.3 was written and edited by Melissa George, David Kay, Greg Oxton, Rick Joslin, Jennifer MacIntosh, and Kelly Murray.
The entire suite of KCS topics is available in one location for FREE via my KCS video book/training course. These are designed to guide interested people through the entire KCS concepts and practices, as well as provide evidence of understanding for those involved in a Knowledge Centered Support program of work or implementation. All you need to is register!