tcworld is one of those conferences in the language services community you cannot afford to miss. And so, we were happy to attend the conference again in Stuttgart this year from 24 to 26 October. Not only is tcworld a great way to keep up with the new trends, but we were also happy to make our own contributions with presentations about neural machine translation and the use of video.

When we were not enjoying our sushi at the Asian Pavilion or talking to colleagues or customers, we were enjoying the abundance of great content that was offered at this year’s tcworld. We thought it would be nice to pick a few highlights and comment on recurring themes.

Video is the new normal

We said it before, and it was all over the place at tcworld: video is king. Today, YouTube is the second most popular search engine and internet users are consuming instructional videos at an unseen pace. At tcworld, there were interesting presentations about storyboarding and about creating whiteboard instructional videos. Our presentation by Sien Accou focused on practical tips and tricks to turn existing manuals into easy-to-consume instructional videos, and how technologies like automatic speech recognition and text to speech can help you with that.

Machine translation: a solution with many flavors

Fluency, accuracy, and time gains during translation are just some of the criteria for judging machine translation technologies. Today, Neural Machine Translation gets all the attention, but should we believe the hype? A wide variety of tcworld presentations dedicated to machine translation attempted to give an objective, well-balanced overview of the most current machine translation technologies, including Rule-Based Machine Translation (RBMT), Statistical Machine Translation (SMT) and Neural Machine Translation (NMT). Also, the presentation from our very own Tiene Vertriest did exactly that. The short answer to the question which MT technology to select is ** spoiler alert ** that it depends on the volume of training data, the volume of data you want to translate and the type of content you want to translate.

GitHub for technical writers

Software developers have been using GitHub for their code projects for years. Today, more and more technical writers discover GitHub as a collaborative writing platform. GitHub is a web-based repository for software projects. In GitHub, docs live with the code, follow the same workflow as the code, and are reviewed with the code, making it an excellent choice for version control of documentation files and management of issues. At Yamagata Europe, we have been experimenting with GitHub for quite some time. And after attending tcworld, we’re even more convinced of the usefulness of GitHub for technical writing.

New standards for technical authoring

tekom is currently developing iiRDS, a new standard for intelligent information. As a practical demonstration of the standard, tekom presented its open-source based tool chain from authoring in DITA to publishing to content delivery. We learned how to author DITA content with iiRDS metadata and use the DITA Open Toolkit to generate iiRDS packages. Yamagata Europe will definitely keep an eye on that project in the future.

Kudos to tekom

As much as we love the presentations, tcworld is also a great event to meet up with people you haven’t seen in a while – suppliers, customers – as well as to discover new people, new opportunities and new projects. Add to that the high quality of presentations and the possibility to directly interact with the presenters, and you have a conference you cannot ignore for next year. So, kudos to the organization and count us in for 2018!

Did you attend tcworld 2017? We would love to learn what your biggest takeaways and aha moments were. Leave a comment below.

Yamagata Represent