TCUK 2016 will be held 13 to 15 September 2016 at Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre

The ISTC is delighted to announce that the Technical Communication UK (TCUK) conference 2016 will be taking place at Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre on 13 to 15 September 2016.

Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre is located midway between Cambridge and Milton Keynes, at the edge of the historic market town of St. Neots.

It is the largest, privately owned business and leisure destination in northern Europe, and it is set in 380 acres of rural countryside (30 acres bigger than Hyde Park).

Meeting room in Wyboston Lakes

Aerial view of Wyboston Lakes

We’ll be updating the website over the coming months with details on the speakers, presentations and how to book.

This year’s theme is:

From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator

RWS Translations – Bronze Sponsor Interview | Chris Rayner (Group Marketing Manager)

Chris Rayner (Group Marketing Manager)

Chris Rayner

TCUK: What factors encouraged RWS Translations to come to the TCUK 2015 conference?

CR: This is a new conference for RWS and a combination of the profile of the attendees, the distinguished speaker line up and programme content all appear to be a good match for our specialist services. We are anticipating a really successful few days!

TCUK: Every year at TCUK, we deliver presentations related to a special focus topic. This year’s special focus topic is ‘Breaking the Boundaries in Technical Communication’. Are there ways in which RWS Translations can help technical communicators “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

CR: RWS provides accurate and professional translations of any source material, regardless of the subject matter or language combinations. Those sectors where innovation and breaking new ground is important to their business, know they can rely on us for complete accuracy. Our panel of qualified translators are all subject matter experts in their chosen fields which ensures that the source texts are completely understood, and that all industry-specific terminology is rendered precisely in the finished translation.

TCUK: We live in a global economy where technology is constantly changing – how does RWS Translations deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by these changes?

CR: RWS is one of the top 10 language service providers in the world and has over 600 staff and offices worldwide and are able to support clients with our range of comprehensive services. As organizations constantly strive for innovative, interactive and engaging ways to communicate, we can support their ambitions in any language and any file format. Whether it is translation, interpreting, audio recording, voiceovers, video dubbing, subtitling, DTP or graphics localization, our project teams have the experience to match clients’ creativity.

TCUK: What products and services will RWS Translations be showcasing at TCUK 2015?

CR: We translate a wide range of materials for the sector – and we will be demonstrating how we meet stringent industry requirements and produce accurate and professional translations, regardless of subject matter or language combinations. Our clients are often in highly regulated industries including technology, sciences and professional services sectors and translations can include software user manuals, aeroplane specifications, financial reports and legal contracts, insurance policies, marketing and communications materials etc all of which are subject to stringent quality control procedures. We were one of the first language service providers to gain ISO certification and pioneered the development of robust quality control procedures.

TCUK: What are RWS Translations most looking forward to at TCUK 2015?

CR: We are looking forward to meeting delegates and speakers as well as other exhibitors. As a specialist language service provider we have found that spending time talking to the people who work in technical communications can be stimulating and provide us with invaluable insights.

SDL – Platinum Sponsor Interview | Andy Bromley (Director Structured Content Technologies)

About SDL

SDL has been innovating for more than 20 years. A leader in global customer experience – with a completely integrated cloud solution for content management, analytics, language and documentation, SDL solves the complexity of managing a brand’s digital footprint as it grows across multiple languages, cultures, websites, devices and channels. Seventy-nine of the the top 100 global companies work with SDL to help them create authentic, in-context customer experiences that drive demand and loyalty.

Learn more about SDL

SDL | Customer Experience Cloud

Experiences customers have with a brand impact how they will do business with you now, or in the future. SDL Customer Experience Cloud helps deliver a personalised experience to customers that shows you understand them at every point in their journey. SDL CXC can help turn customers into loyal and brand advocates with its solutions for Analytics, Social, eCommerce, Campaigns, Web, Documentation and Language.

Learn more about SDL CXC

Andy Bromley | Director Structured Content Technologies


Andy first became interested in the potential for content technologies when as a Law undergraduate (15 years ago) he built a website for Law students to share content and revision tips.

Since then he has had the responsibility for content strategy and technology implementations at a number of leading content and content technology companies including Lexis Nexis, Oracle and now SDL.

Andy Bromley in interview with TCUK

TCUK: Thank you for sponsoring TCUK 2015. Tell us why SDL is sponsoring the Technical Communication UK Conference…

AB: Firstly let me say that it has been a great privilege for us to participate as a sponsor of TCUK over the last few years and we are honoured to have the chance to do so again this year. We always look forward to the chance to catch up with old friends, and of course make new ones at TCUK  events.

One of the most important considerations for us in sponsoring the TCUK conference is that for a couple of days we are able to get out of the office and away from the whirlwind of our everyday responsibilities. To spend time with our fellow professionals dedicated to thinking and learning about technical communication. It is an opportunity for personal and professional growth that every year sends us back to our jobs with more inspiration, passion and knowledge of the subject that we care about.

TCUK provides a fantastic platform for this to happen and we wouldn’t want to miss the chance to participate.

TCUK: Every year TCUK delivers focused presentations on a special topic. This year’s special focus is ‘Breaking the Boundaries in Technical Communication’. Can you give some examples of how SDL products and services help technical communicators to ‘break the boundaries’ in their professional work?

AB: I was especially excited about the topic of this years conference. Technical communication is on the verge of taking on a much higher profile and strategic role within every organisation and I think we – technical communication professionals – need to be on top of these things so that we can guide our organisations through the changes that they will need to make.

SDL has been tracking these trends for a number of years now and our products have been designed to support the dynamics of these changes throughout the documentation production process. We can give technical communicators tools that allow them to get on-board with the XML revolution and also a way to gradually show the rest of their organisations how to take advantage of the amazing work they are doing.

Specifically there are 3 key trends that I see driving the momentum that will break down the existing boundaries in technical communication…

  • Firstly there is a definite preference emerging from consumers for what I would call “educational content” as opposed to “persuasive content”. This means that technical and educational content will become the FIRST priority for every business.
  • Secondly our expectations as consumers for how easily we can access content has been set very high by companies such as Apple and Google. This means that if our organisations do not live up to the standards being set by these brands they will find it challenging to compete with companies that do.
  • Lastly the evolution of structured content standards and technologies, like DITA is making a compelling case for ALL content to be produced and managed in this way and when this happens I think the expertise Technical writers have already will become a highly prized asset within any business.

TCUK: Technology is constantly changing – what are your biggest challenges and opportunities?

AB: The rapid nature of technological progress is only part of the narrative we should engage with in relation to “change”. It’s absolutely fundamental that we also consider how our strategy – and I mean specifically our content strategy – needs to evolve and then how that strategy will interrelate with and impact on changing technology.

Having a strategy makes it a lot easier to figure out how to deal with the challenges and how to take advantage of the opportunities. And that’s what SDL has been doing now for several years.

Our structured content product family has evolved to first and foremost allow the implementation of a content strategy from one end of the content lifecycle to the other and only then to provide whatever the latest trending technological functionality may be.

TCUK: SDL is delivering a presentation at the vendor exhibition – what products, tools and innovations will you showcase at the exhibition?

AB: Many TCUK attendees will be familiar with our products by the “LiveContent” brand name.

About a year ago SDL completed a redesign and tighter integration of the LiveContent suite of products and we have renamed the new integrated version of the suite “SDL Knowledge Center”.

This new iteration of the product suite is more capable and advanced than ever before and will allow you to seamlessly implement a content strategy all the way from authoring through internal SME review and ultimately to put into place dynamic delivery and collaboration with customers.

We will be showcasing this new generation product at TCUK. Some of the areas where we have made great strides forward with our products, tools and innovations.

TCUK: TCUK 2015 is going to Glasgow, Scotland. What are you looking forward to at this year’s conference?

AB: We are looking forward to getting the feedback from TCUK attendees on include:  Content Optimisation and Collaboration; Rich Media; Rich Data; Mobile Delivery; Optimisation of Global content processes; Social content and last but by no means least Content Discovery.

TCUK 2015 | Adobe – Diamond Sponsor Interview | Rohit Bansal (Adobe TechComm – Product Marketing Manager)

About Adobe


Adobe revolutionises how the world engages with ideas and information. Adobe’s award-winning software and technologies have se the standard for communication and collaboration for more than 25 years – bringing vital and engaging experiences to people across media and to every screen in their lives, at work and at play.

Adobe’s heritage is founded in digital content authoring and publishing. Adobe built the category and remains the gold standard.

Learn more about Adobe

About Adobe TCS | Tech Comm Group

Adobe Technical Communication Group (TCS) delivers tools and services within the Print and Publishing Business Unit that aim to facilitate the end-to-end process of creating ground-breaking content – deploying it seamlessly across media and devices and achieving greater business success.

Learn more about Adobe Technical Communication Suite (2015 Release)

Rohit Bansal | Product Marketing Manager – Adobe Tech Comm Products


Rohit is a Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Tech Comm. He manages various aspects of the worldwide GTM for the Technical Communication product segment including FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Acrobat, Captivate and Technical Communication Suite.

He is also an expert in Digital Marketing and Social Media. Rohit previously worked within FMCG and Publishing industries.

Rohit Bansal in interview with TCUK

TCUK: Thank you for sponsoring TCUK 2015. Tell us why are you sponsoring the Technical Communication UK Conference…

RB: TCUK is the leading conference for technical communication professionals in UK. Adobe has been the primary sponsor of the TCUK event for the last few years. And we are happy to continue our association with ISTC.

TCUK: Every year at TCUK we have presentations of general interest to technical communicators, and presentations related to a special focus topic. This year’s special focus topic is “Breaking the Boundaries of Technical Communication” and we expect to have presentations on how technical communicators have gone beyond the normal confines of their jobs. Are there ways in which your company’s products and services can help technical communicators “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

RB: The technical communication landscape is evolving rapidly. The manner in which content is created, managed and distributed is changing even faster. The new 2015 release of Adobe Technical Communication products is in fact designed to help technical communicators deliver beyond the normal confines of their jobs.

With authoring and publishing support for RTL (right-to-left) languages, Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi, now in FrameMaker, authors can create content for a truly global audience.

Collaboration is also much better now, with smoother import of Word documents into FrameMaker and a form-like, easy-to-fill, simplified XML authoring experience for casual authors and SMEs. The multi-channel, multi-device publishing capability is stronger than ever ensuring that content can be delivered across platforms and devices.

Increased focus on publishing for mobile devices including apps, will ensure that content is distributed widely and consumed easily. The new dynamic filtering feature will help the technical communicators to serve personalised content to their users and help them empower their users to find relevant content faster.

As a company we will keep developing products which are tailored to meet the changing needs of the technical communication professionals.

TCUK: From your experience of TCUK, what would you like to say to our members in order to encourage them to attend this year’s conference?

RB: TCUK is one of the best conferences for technical communicators in the region. We have been sponsoring and attending TCUK year after year.

Anybody who wants to stay abreast with the current skills, latest industry trends and best practices in the technical communication field must attend this conference. It is a great place to connect with your customers as well.

TCUK: Every year, TCUK moves to a new location in the UK. This year – TCUK 2015 is going to Glasgow, Scotland – What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s conference?

RB: We are really looking forward to attend the conference in such a picturesque location and connect with even more customers and partners this year in Glasgow.

Silver Sponsor TCUK 2015 – Technically Write IT Ltd


Technically Write IT Ltd. (TWi) is an Irish company that delivers fully managed end-to-end documentation services, mainly to large hi-tech multinationals. Our clients choose us because they value quality and need a trusted partner who can scale up and down to meet their changing requirements. The TWi team consists of more than 50 writers, editors, and project managers who work on client deliverables such as technical guides, user manuals, online help, training material, e-learning, and white papers.

TWi, together with industry partners including IBM, EMC, VCE, and Tyco, is working with Cork Institute of Technology to create a new Masters-level programme in Information Design and Development. We are excited to meet with attendees at TCUK 2015 to validate our thoughts around course content and ensure that all key topics are covered, so that graduates are well equipped to meet the challenges of our evolving industry.

Bronze Sponsor TCUK 2015 – RWS Translations

RWS logo landscape Comm & Tech trans byline

RWS Translations for all your technical and commercial language support needs

RWS Translations provides accurate and professional translations of any document, regardless of subject matter or language combination. We provide translation and interpreting services for a number of sectors; technical and manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical, leading law firms and financial institutions across a diverse range of subject areas – technical specifications, operating manuals, legal and insurance documents, medical dossiers, marketing materials and company reports to name a few. Our extensive panel of qualified translators speak over 200 languages and are experts in their chosen fields, so your source text is understood and industry-specific terminology is applied correctly in your finished translation. All of which is subject to stringent quality control procedures.

Using in-country translators ensures that translations are localized to the relevant market, and an independent linguistic review provides additional assurance of quality.

RWS is committed to providing a cost-effective service. Online tools are used for placing and tracking orders, performing in-country reviews and translation memory software all streamline delivery. Please contact RWS Translations to find out how RWS can help your business.

Platinum Sponsor TCUK 2015 – SDL

SDL logo

Experiences customers have with your brand impact how they will do business with you now, or in the future. SDL Customer Experience Cloud helps you deliver a personalized experience to your customers that shows you understand them at every point in their journey. Learn how SDL CXC can help you turn customers into loyal and brand advocates with its solutions for Analytics, Social, eCommerce, Campaigns, Web, Documentation and Language.



TCUK 2015 | Acrolinx – Platinum Sponsor Interview

Steve Rotter photo

About Acrolinx

Acrolinx helps the world’s greatest companies create amazing content at scale.

The Acrolinx platform helps the world’s greatest brands create amazing content that’s on-brand, on-target and that drives results. Built on the most advanced linguistic analytics engine, Acrolinx software helps companies like Adobe, Boeing, Google and Philips create content that’s more en-gaging, enjoyable and impactful.

Learn more about Acrolinx

Steve Rotter | Acrolinx, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

An author, blogger, speaker and digital marketing evangelist, for over 20 years, Steve has been helping organisations drive marketing innovation with technology.

Prior to joining Acrolinx, he held executive marketing positions with Adobe, Brightcove, and Motorola.

Steve received an MBA from Northwestern University – Graduate School of Management – and volunteers on several NPO advisory boards including World Vision.

Steve Rotter in interview with TCUK

TCUK – Thank you for sponsoring TCUK 2015. What made you decide to come to TCUK?

SR – TCUK is the premier destination for content professionals in Europe. It provides a unique opportunity to learn, share, and network with some of the greatest technical com-munications experts in the world. Since Acrolinx has been serving the technical communications market for over a decade, this was a must-attend event for us in 2015.

We’re looking forward to engaging with the amazing line-up of speakers and attendees, and sharing how Acrolinx is helping the world’s greatest brands succeed with technical communication.

TCUK – Every year at TCUK, we deliver presentations related to a special focus topic. This year’s special focus topic is Breaking the Boundaries in Technical Communication. Are there ways in which your company’s products and services help technical communicators to “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

SR – The boundaries that once existed between technical communications and the rest of an organisation’s content have disappeared. Today’s customers don’t see org charts, they see content.

With the explosion of digital channels, the historical constructs of “pre-sales” and “post-sales’ content no longer matter as every piece of an organisation’s content can impact top-line revenue and customer loyalty.

At Acrolinx, our mission is to help the world’s greatest brands “speak with one voice”. That means ensuring that all of a company’s content, whether it’s from marketing, sales, or technical communications, is on brand and on target.

TCUK – Technology is constantly changing, so what are your biggest challenges and opportunities?

SR – Our biggest challenge is also our biggest opportunity. It’s helping companies understand the massive changes that are taking place with content and marketing-related technologies. We invest a lot of time educating customers and prospects and sharing best practices with them.

When we do our job well, it opens their eyes to all of the potential upside of using a really effective content optimisation platform.

TCUK – From your experience of TCUK, or from what you’ve heard about TCUK, what would you like to say to our members in order to encourage them to attend this year’s conference?

SR – In a world where 70 percent of the buyer journey takes place through digital channels, the role of technical communications has never been more critical. TCUK will help technical communication professionals expand their vision and influence within the organisation.

TCUK – Acrolinx is delivering a presentation at the vendor exhibition – what products, innovations or tools will you showcase at the exhibition?

SR – We’ll be showcasing a technology that most people don’t even know exists: a software platform based on 100+ man years of R&D that can actually read your content and guide writers to make it better by suggesting tips to enhance their style and tone as well as to ensure the consistency of their use of terminology.

We’ll also be sharing the latest results from our Global Content Impact Index, where we analysed and rated the content for over 340 top brands from around the world. The results are quite surprising.

TCUK – TCUK 2015 conference is going to be in Glasgow for the first time – what are you looking forward to the most at this year’s conference?

SR – Being inspired by a combination of top thought leaders in the industry, leading-edge sponsors and technology vendors and, of course, all of the passionate attendees.

If we can squeeze it in, we’d love to check out the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Glasgow Science Centre. Oh, and we’re also looking forward to trying some haggis!

TCUK 2015 | SCHEMA – Platinum Sponsor Interview

Sebastian Göttel
Sebastian Göttel


Complex documents made easy!

SCHEMA GmbH was founded in 1995 in Nürnberg. Since then, they have continued to develop and strengthen their market position. Today, Schema is one of the leading providers of editing and content management systems. They offer standardised software, consulting, and services for the professional management of information.

Learn more about Schema


TCUK: This year’s special focus topic is “Breaking the Boundaries of Technical Communication”. When asked the reason Schema are returning to TCUK, Sebastian Göttel – Director of Sales at Schema replied:

SG: ”TCUK is a good place for meeting Tech Comm professionals in the UK. We do not know of any other event that is comparable to this event.

Personally, I love the way the event combines aspects of a conference with mindful insights into upcoming trends and a social meeting place with other professionals. I have met some very interesting and very amiable persons through TCUK.”

TCUK: Are there ways in which your company’s products and services can help technical communicators “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

SG: “We see a shift from focusing on creating technical documentation in the most efficient way to the intelligent distribution of technical content.

The right content must be available for the exact target group, at any given moment, in the needed version and in the adequate format. Editorial processes that end in the creation of a PDF file no longer meet these requirements.

The market for CCMS (component-based content management systems) is growing to include Content Delivery Systems (CDS) that will change the way Tech Comm departments are connected to their recipients, regardless of whether they are the internal service organisation or the customers.

Delivering content to mobile apps, portals or social media is just one aspect. By controlling the delivery process, Tech Comm departments can even start to systematically and efficiently collect feedback from the field. Content Delivery Systems can be built as a custom-made solution.”

TCUK: What would you say to our members to encourage them to attend this year’s conference?

SG: “If you are a Tech Comm professional and want to share best practices and discuss upcoming trends without crossing the Sea, this is the place to go!”

TCUK: TCUK is going to be in Scotland for the first time. What are you looking forward to at this year’s conference?

SG: “It is our first official event in Scotland as well. We are looking forward to meeting new people and learning more about the people that form the ISTC.”

TCUK15 speaker – Andrea Ames to give a workshop on “Content Experience Leadership: Transforming Your Organization for Content Excellence”.

Andrea Ames will give a workshop on “Content Experience Leadership: Transforming Your Organization for Content Excellence”.

Andrea Ames

High-value content is a critical business asset, but our clients and employing organizations often don’t realize the impact content can have on the overall customer experience — in particular, on purchase decisions and revenue, customer loyalty, and customer advocacy (the new business nirvana). And those who do recognize the impact typically have little or no skill and experience as content professionals. What to do?

Join Andrea for an exploration of the content ecosystem (content, experience, culture, process, and technology), and the critical factors across the ecosystem that can enable teams to design and deliver high-value content, communicate that to the business or client, and measure the impact.

In this workshop you will learn about:

  • A framework for practicing content experience strategy, design, development, and delivery
  • A set of principles, methods, and models for creating, curating, and presenting content
  • The factors that are most likely to enable your success — such as metrics and stakeholder communication — and strategies for planning and implementing these

TCUK15 Speaker – Andrea Ames to give a keynote presentation on “Boundaries? We Don’t Need No Stinking Boundaries!”

Andrea Ames will be presenting on “Boundaries? We Don’t Need No Stinking Boundaries! or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Change”.

Andrea Ames

It’s no surprise to those of us working in technical and scientific fields — in fact, just about ANY field — that technical communication is (and always has been) changing. In our industry more than any, the only constant is change. And that change makes boundaries a very ambiguous concept. Sadly, human brains are wired to be habitual, and change makes us uncomfortable. But to move beyond survival in our industry to thrive and find great success, you must become comfortable with ambiguity and learn to love change.

This keynote will help you to get started or to progress along your already change-embracing path. Expanding on the style of David Letterman and the Late Show Top Ten List, Andrea will describe her top 10 ways technical communicators should drive change and break boundaries.

TCUK15 keynote speaker – Andrea Ames

Andrea Ames is one of the keynote speakers at TCUK15.

Andrea Ames
Andrea Ames

Andrea L. Ames, M.S., is a Senior Technical Staff Member and Enterprise Content Experience Strategist/Architect/Designer in IBM’s CIO, where she enables strategic use of IBM’s high-value content assets for the most client delight and success and highest IBM business impact. She is a Fellow and past President (2004-05) of STC, a Distinguished Engineer of the ACM (the first technical communicator to achieve this distinction), a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a member of numerous other professional associations.

She is the Program Chair for, and designed and teaches in, the UCSC in Silicon Valley certificate programme in technical communication; has published two award-winning technical books and numerous papers and articles; and speaks regularly at conferences and professional organisation meetings.

TCUK15 keynote speaker – Murray Cox

Murray Cox is one of the keynote speakers at TCUK15.

Murray Cox

Murray Cox is a strategy director at Pancentric in London – a digital consultancy that uses service design to drive digital transformation with the aim of helping businesses provide services that make people’s lives better. His background is in quality news journalism, and he made the move to digital in 1998.

Since then he has worked in both the UK and Australia for leading media brands like the BBC, Australian Associated Press, Special Broadcast Service and MSN. Since leaving the newsroom he has delivered projects as a digital and content strategist for Renault, Nissan, Honda, HSBC, Barclaycard, Avis, Budget, Jumeriah, Etihad and Oracle among others.

His interest in service design grew out of the fact that many organisations still don’t think hard enough about their customers and their context when designing communications. Murray believes the outside-in approach offered by design thinking and service design has truly transformative power, that it helps people get upstream of problems and that it is a great way to focus on creating value for customers and companies alike.

While not a technical communicator, Murray believes service design is a concept that technical communicators must be aware of when dealing with complex or regulated matters.

TCUK15 keynote speaker – Chris Atherton

Chris Atherton
Chris Atherton

Chris Atherton is one of the keynote speakers at TCUK15

Chris is a Partner at Equal Experts, where she engages in user research and user-centred design to help clients transform their software delivery processes. Originally from an academic psychology background, Chris got interested in how people process visual information on screens, and subsequently ran off to join the software industry. Since then, she has worked with a variety of clients and organisations including Skype, the BBC, and GOV.UK. Chris tweets (some would say too much) at @finiteattention.

TCUK15 speaker – Pallabi Roy to present on “Redirecting the “Help” to a Product Networking Site”

Pallabi Roy will be presenting on “Redirecting the “Help” to a Product Networking Site”.

Pallabi Roy

“Traditional technical communication settings tend to provide the customer with large volumes of documentation for a product. But with product interfaces becoming increasingly easy and user-friendly, isn’t comprehensive documentation a waste of time and resources, and moreover, isn’t it an outmoded concept in an Agile setting? To tackle these issues, I will present a talk on how we can replace the traditional “Help/Manual” approach with a networking site built around the product.
In my presentation, I will explain the scope, challenges, and solutions of building a product networking site. Technical communicators can post the product updates directly on this site rather than updating a guide or a help file. It will be a cost- and time-effective approach as it will bolster “minimalism,” eliminate the need of “authoring tools,” and improve “time to market.” It will also be an interactive approach as the customer can share his feedback and raise a query directly on this site. With growing popularity of networking sites among the users, it will prove to be a trending approach to technical communication in the coming years.
In a recent project, I implemented this approach for two customers, and the response that I got was overwhelming. In my presentation, I will talk about these two use cases, challenges that I faced while putting this approach in place, and how I got over these challenges. I anticipate this approach can do more to expand the boundaries of traditional technical communication.”

TCUK15 Speaker – Ellis Pratt to present on “Creating an academic course in technical communication”

Ellis Pratt will be presenting on “Creating an academic course in technical communication”.

Ellis Pratt
Ellis Pratt

We’ll look at the issues around developing an academic course in technical communication. We’ll look at what should be taught, the issues around academic rigour, how the course content can be delivered, and whether there’s the demand for courses such as these. We’ll also look at the courses currently offered by universities and professional bodies overseas.

TCUK15 Speaker – Ellis Pratt to present on ” Help in the User Interface – a case study in first user interaction and embedded Help formats”

Ellis Pratt will be presenting on  “Help in the User Interface – a case study in first user interaction and embedded Help formats”.

Ellis Pratt
Ellis Pratt

One of the problems with online Help is users have to stop what they’re doing and go to the online Help. In this session, we’ll look at two ways you can stop breaking the user’s flow – by providing “first user interaction Help” and “embedded Help”. We’ll look at some of the different ways they are applied in software. We’ll also look at a project we worked on that involved implementing these forms of Help into a Web-based SaaS application.


TCUK15 Speaker – Ron Blicq to present on “Achieving the Right Colo(u)r”

Rob Blicq will be presenting on “Achieving the Right Colo(u)r”.

Ron Blicq

Preparing a document that will be published separately in the US, UK, Canada or Australasia means tackling many more differences than just changing the spelling and general terminology. Factors involve punctuation, word choice, tone, use of ‘local’ expressions, interpretation of meaning, culture of the country, subjectivity and objectivity, page size, and numerous minor yet not insignificant items. Readers who encounter expressions that can be misinterpreted or simply not understood may downplay the importance of the information or comment disparagingly on the writer’s capability as a communicator.

TCUK15 Speaker – Raymond Gillespie to present on “Putting experience to the test: moving from Tech Comm to Software Testing”

Raymond Gillespie will be presenting on “Putting experience to the test: moving from Tech Comm to Software Testing”.

Raymond Gillespie

Can you—a technical communicator—become an effective software tester? What skills will you need to develop? What necessary skills do you already have? What added value can you bring to the testing team? And as a newly-qualified tester, what useful lessons can you share with your Tech Comm colleagues?
In November 2014, Raymond Gillespie decided to find the answers to these questions by leaving the world of Tech Comm to become a software tester at Nokia. Ten months into the experiment, Raymond is ready to try to answer these questions and share some illuminating anecdotes about his experience.

TCUK15 Speaker – Magda Caloian to present on “Building a DITA pilot project”

Magda Caloian will be presenting “Building a DITA pilot project”.

Magda Caloian

You are considering migrating to DITA and would like to see a proof of concept, but don’t know where to start? Bring your laptop to the DITA Pilot workshop and you’ll see how quickly you can get started. We’ll just follow a few steps:

  1. Design phase:
    • Identify use cases and task analysis
    • Outline the information model and its modules
    • Set up the project structure
  2. Production phase:
    • Writing the topics and the map
    • Publishing PDF and HTML
    • Reviewing

It does not take long to be productive in DITA and to prove its value to your team. Take a running project back to the office with you and turn the DITA business case into reality with a demo for your colleagues.


Knowledge of authoring DITA topics is an advantage, but not a must.

Please bring your laptop.

TCUK15 Speaker – Darren Mitcham to present on DITA implementation

Darren Mitcham will be presenting on DITA implementation.

Darren Mitcham

Most of us hear over and over again all the positive aspects of a DITA-based publishing system: resuing content is good because it reduces overheads and in a global economy our localization costs will plummet.

How many of you have braved implementing one and what is the reality of such an implementation? I am a senior technical communicator at an American electronics company, Altera. We have travelled down this this bumpy road during the last three years. I’ll let you feel my pain and more importantly share ways to make your transition smoother.

TCUK15 Speakers – Anja Kellermann and Kelly White to present “Taking technical writing to the next level at SAP”

Anja Kellermann and Kelly White will be presenting “Taking technical writing to the next level at SAP”.

Anja Kellerman
Kelly White

As the cloud company, user experience is essential for SAP in attracting and retaining customers. User assistance is a key element of this and addresses how we help people to deploy, administer, use, and develop software. Key features include help directly in the interface, more multimedia content, the co-creation of content, and a presence in communities and social media.

This evolution of the technical writer to the user assistance professional leads us to ask:

  • How does this impact our tasks and responsibilities?
  • What training will we need?
  • With shorter release cycles and pushed upgrades, how will our internal processes change?

Platinum Sponsor TCUK 2015 – Acrolinx

Acrolinx logo

The Acrolinx platform helps the world’s greatest brands create amazing content at scale. Content that’s on-brand, on-target, and that drives results. Built on an advanced linguistic analytics engine, Acrolinx is the only software platform that can actually “read” your content and guide writers to make it better. That’s why companies like Adobe, Boeing, Google, and Philips use Acrolinx to create content that’s more engaging, enjoyable and impactful. Learn more at

Silver Sponsor TCUK15 – Mekon


Founded in 1990, Mekon are leading UK consultants and systems integrators. We are focussed on increasing the effectiveness of your content creation, management and delivery. Struggling with insufficient staff and ever increasing demand for output, organisations today require guidance to project success that incorporates best practice, risk management and customer‐ and ROI‐led planning. Mekon provide a well‐defined, end‐to‐end methodology and service that balances strategic guidance, and training with the technical capabilities to make a solution a reality.

Our customers are encouraged to focus on their customers’ needs first, and develop solutions that work for them and with the internal business context. We specialise in systems that allow reuse and recombination of content for flexible, scalable two‐way publication, across multiple formats and via the latest publishing media.

Extensive experience with all the major publishing, DITA, S1000D and XML technology vendors gives Mekon a unique and un‐biased insight into which technologies are suitable for specific client needs. We are one of the few organisations to successfully implement XML (DITA) in both the nontechnical enterprise content space and traditional technical and professional publishing. As a result, Mekon are ideally placed to help you use your content as a strategic business asset. To find out more:

Silver Sponsor TCUK 2015 – 3di

3di logo
“Complexity made clear”

3di has delivered technical communication and localization services to global companies, government organisations, and technology and software businesses for more than 12 years. Our in-house team of 30 is based near Guildford. Quite a few of us are attending TCUK as delegates.

Our customers and suppliers love working with us and keep coming back. The people we work with day-to-day like our friendly and reliable approach and our focus on quality — we don’t let them down. The people who pay the bills like our competitive rates and our focus on efficient processes — we save them money.

Visit our stand at TCUK to:

  • discuss your work and the challenges you face
  • brief us about projects you have coming up
  • tell us about your availability to work with us and our customers

Gold Sponsor TCUK 2015 – MadCap Software

Madcap logo

MadCap Software, Inc. is a trusted resource for the thousands of companies around the globe that rely on its solutions for single-source multi-channel authoring and publishing, multimedia, and translation management. Whether delivering technical, policy, medical, marketing, business, or human resources content, MadCap’s products are used to create corporate intranets, Help systems, policy and procedure manuals, video tutorials, knowledge bases, eBooks, user guides, and more to any format, including high-end print, online, desktop or mobile. MadCap services include product training, consulting services, translation and localization, and an advanced developer certification program.

Headquartered in La Jolla, California, MadCap Software is home to some of the most experienced software architects and product experts in the content development industry.

Platinum Sponsor TCUK 2015 – Schema

Schema logo

SCHEMA – Complex Documents Made Easy!

SCHEMA GmbH was founded in 1995 in Nürnberg and today has around 100 employees. SCHEMA ST4 is an XML-based editing and content management system, offering extensive features for all aspects of the creation, management, translation, quality management, publication and distribution of product information of any kind. SCHEMA ST4’s scalability makes it suitable for small editing teams as well as for company-wide solutions for information logistics. SCHEMA ST4 can be used as a standard product or a customer-specific solution. With the SCHEMA Content Delivery Server, information can be distributed intelligently to all common platforms, independently of SCHEMA ST4.

Our products and solutions are successfully deployed across various branches of industry to simplify ‘complex documents,’ including technical documentation, software documentation and help systems, catalogs, labeling for pharmaceutical companies, training material, solutions for specialized publishers, contract and bid management. SCHEMA ST4 is based on Microsoft .NET technology with Windows and web clients, and can easily be integrated and deployed into modern IT landscapes, as it supports the entire bandwidth of documentation standards (XML, XSL:FO, DITA, etc.). SCHEMA ST4 offers a broad line-up of interfaces (XML editors, MS Office, Adobe CS & FrameMaker, SAP, etc.). SCHEMA is proud to be an active part of a network of renowned partners, as this also enables SCHEMA to offer specialized solutions for its customers.

Among the many customers already using solutions based on SCHEMA ST4 are: ABB, Agilent, Avaloq, Bosch, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bundesanzeiger, Carl Zeiss, Daimler, Deutsche Bundesbank, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Lindauer DORNIER, MAN, Miele, Reifenhäuser, Roche Diagnostics, Schaeffler Gruppe, Siemens, SMS Siemag, Österreichische Bundesbahnen, Ottobock Healthcare, Philips, STOLL, Voith, Wolffkran and many more.

Further Information:

Diamond Sponsor TCUK 2015 – Adobe

Adobe Technical Communications logo


Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information. Adobe’s award-winning software and technologies have set the standard for communication and collaboration for more than 25 years, bringing vital and engaging experiences to people across media and to every screen in their lives, at work and at play.

The impact of Adobe software is evident almost everywhere you look. Whether people are collaborating at work, transacting online, or socializing with friends, businesses use Adobe software and technologies to turn digital interactions into richer, high-value experiences that reach across computing platforms and devices to engage people anywhere, anytime. With a reputation for excellence and a portfolio of many of the most respected and recognizable software brands, Adobe is one of the world’s largest and most diversified software companies. All Adobe software offers unparalleled stability, innovation, and business value that technical communicators can confidently put their trust in.


The business world is expanding rapidly amidst increased globalization, digitization and mobile device penetration. In this dynamic and evolving scenario, the technical content we will deliver has to be contextual, consumable and actionable – and easily available at the right place, at the right time and in the right amount. Hence, the ways in which the content needs to be authored, enriched, reviewed, managed, and delivered are also changing. This means that today’s technical communication tools need to support all the above requirements—while offering the highest return on investment, the lowest total cost of ownership, and the fastest go-to-market. In response to the increasing demand for cost-effective, efficient, and versatile tools, Adobe Technical Communication team delivers best-in-class software, each providing multifunctional capabilities and flexibility.

Adobe’s Technical Communication group within the Print and Publishing Business Unit delivers tools and services that are aimed at facilitating the end -to-end process of creating ground-breaking content, deploying it seamlessly across media and devices, and achieving greater business success.

Adobe’s heritage is founded in digital content authoring and publishing. Adobe built the category and remains the gold standard. Our award-winning and market-leading software and technologies have set the standard for communication and collaboration for more than 25 years, and continue to shape the industry today.


Adobe’s Technical Communication products include the Technical Communication Suite, FrameMaker, RoboHelp, FrameMaker Publishing Server, FrameMaker XML Author and RoboHelp Server.

Adobe® Technical Communication Suite 5 is an integrated toolkit that streamlines your technical communication workflow end-to-end. Author XML/DITA content intuitively with Adobe FrameMaker 12. Enrich it with demos, quizzes, and videos using Adobe Captivate 8 and Adobe Presenter 10. Collaborate seamlessly via multi-platform PDF-based reviews and integration with CMSs and cloud storage. Deliver virtually anywhere using the best-in-class mobile and desktop publishing capabilities of Adobe RoboHelp 11.

Adobe® FrameMaker® 12 software is a complete solution for authoring, enriching, managing, and publishing technical documentation. Author with best-in-class XML/DITA and DTD support. Manage content using out-of-the-box integration with leading content management systems and Dropbox. Collaborate with PDF-based reviews, even on mobile devices. Easily publish to multiple channels, formats, and screens natively from within FrameMaker 12 at no extra cost, without any plug-ins.

Adobe® RoboHelp® 11 software empowers you to deliver differentiated content for different screens using multiscreen HTML5. Generate stunning responsive HTML5 output with a single click, even for legacy projects, or publish content in EPUB 3, KF8, and MOBI formats. Manage assets efficiently using Microsoft™ SharePoint and cloud storage integration. Collaborate smoothly with Shared Topics and PDF-based reviews. Wow users with customized headers and footers and embedded multimedia in printed documentation.

Adobe® FrameMaker® Publishing Server 12 is an enterprise software for automated multichannel publishing. Access publishing services remotely, and manage it with a comprehensive dashboard. Easily generate HTML5 output for multiple devices. Publish to EPUB 3, KF8, MOBI, PDF, mobile apps, WebHelp, CHM, and more formats. Leverage out-of-the-box support for Adobe Experience Manager, EMC Documentum, and Microsoft® SharePoint, or use the new web APIs to smoothly integrate with other CMSs.

FrameMaker XML Author 12 software offers best-in-class XML/DITA authoring with complete DTD support that’s simple enough for subject matter experts and powerful enough for experienced users. Easily author with an intuitive user interface and multiviews, and leverage MathML equation support. Manage content using out-of-the-box integration with leading CMSs and Dropbox. Collaborate with PDF-based reviews, even on mobile devices, and review and author simultaneously.

Adobe® RoboHelp® Server 9 software extends the managing and tracking capabilities of Adobe RoboHelp 11 software. Automatically build multiple sections of a project, and then publish as a unified online information system. Manage user rights and security, and take advantage of simplified deployment and content configuration. Track and analyze data navigation patterns and repeated search requests to optimize help content and enable powerful searches based on a wide range of variables.

Silver Sponsor TCUK 2015 – ITR

ITR logo

ITR International Translation Resources Ltd

ITR specialises in translating and localizing technical content. We provide our services to developers of software applications, online help systems, corporate websites, technical documentation and eLearning content.

Working in partnership with our clients across many different sectors, we focus on delivering professional translation services that guarantee complete end-user satisfaction in terms of linguistic accuracy, subject matter expertise and technical function.

ITR’s services

  • Translation and formatting technical documentation – all business languages supported
  • Software localisation, linguistic testing and test plan development
  • Online help localisation
  • Website localisation
  • eLearning localisation
  • Translation and localisation best practice seminars

Benefits of ITR’s services

  • For each technical field, ITR has a scalable, fully trained team of professional translators with subject matter expertise to ensure user acceptance of your products in your target markets.
  • All our translations are quality assured, whatever the language.
  • ITR’s professional and experienced project management teams work in partnership with you, providing a single point of contact for your project.
  • Comprehensive set-up procedures ensure that your project is carefully planned from the outset to meet all your requirements and avoid potential pitfalls.
  • The customised translation environment that we will build for your projects will result in consistent quality, lower costs and reduced timelines.
  • Our expert use of all industry-standard localization tools including translation memory systems ensures accurate and consistent translations with tangible cost benefits and time savings for you.
  • Our DTP specialists are expert users of all major publishing tools including FrameMaker, InDesign, RoboHelp and Flare.
  • We develop style guides and customer-specific glossaries to ensure consistency and approval of your translations in-market.
  • Our test plan development and full linguistic testing services for multilingual software projects will ensure that your products are optimised for your global markets.
  • Our effective management of in-country reviews results in prompt user acceptance of your products and supporting documentation.
  • Our rigorous quality control procedures result in technically accurate, consistent and fluent translations that support your penetration of global markets.
  • We provide a high standard of customer service and practise proactive account management, always looking for opportunities to introduce performance improvements, reduce costs and expedite turnaround times.

For further information, a quotation, or to arrange a personal visit to your offices, contact us today.

Contact details

Contact: John Fisher or Sally Haywood
Address: 4 Dolphin Square, Edensor Road, London, W4 2ST
Web site:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 8987 8000
Fax: +44 (0) 20 8987 8080

How to liven up your presentation with stories

Note: This article is one of a series originally written by Andi Lightheart in the run-up to TCUK 2014.

Andrew LightheartThere is one thing you can do which will make your presentation a whole heap more engaging, and it’s not too hard.

Before I tell you how, let me tell you when I notice this the most.

When I MC conferences, I get to hear a lot of presentations.

And you know what?

I can draw a line straight down the middle between the boring presentations and the interesting ones.

The one most reliable factor that allows me to do that?


Boring speakers don’t tell stories.

Interesting speakers? Tell stories. And not apocryphal stories. Not other people’s stories. Stories from their own life. Often small, everyday, recent stories.

One day I’ll tell you about my theory of the hierarchy of story, the worth of different types of stories in the context of a presentation. Suffice it to say for now that recent stories from your life have the potential to get people very engaged.

As human beings, we hunger for stories. So much of culture is built around story. Think about it. Novels. Movies. TV series. Stories are what we pay good money to read and watch.

Plus it’s the way that informal information is passed between people, and it’s what we hear from each other several times a day.

~ How was your weekend? Leads to: story.
~ How did your talk go? Leads to: story.
~ Did your Mum have a good time when she came to visit? Story. (No, really. Ask me. Bless.)
~ What do you think of the new guy? Story.
~ How was your meeting? Interview? Date?


Stories get people engaged like no other tool.

So if you want to get people involved in your presentation without you having to resort to silly gimmicks, you’re going to need to go mining your life for stories.

Don’t think you have stories to tell? You are mistaken.

Here’s a way to make this hard: Try and come up with ‘interesting’ stories. Or ‘funny’ stories.


First off, people don’t need your stories to be either interesting or funny. They need to them to be useful and appropriate (more about that in a minute).

Secondly, once you listen to ordinary people telling thousands of ordinary stories (as I have over the past ten years), you realise that what the speaker identifies as a ‘boring’ story is often what listeners identify as interesting. (Also, many people, at a dinner or a party, for example, who think they have an interesting story… Hmmm… “It’s quite an interesting story, actually…” SNORE.)

Stories (well-told, and I’ll help you with that aspect in a few weeks) hold people’s attention like little else.

There are two ways you’re going to use story: evidence and analogy.

Stories are very convincing evidence.

I used to teach managers job interviewing skills (as in, how to run an interview, not how to attend one). If you want to choose the right person, what you’re looking for again and again is real examples for when the person has used the skill in earnest.

Anyone can spout keywords (“I’m a team player.” “I’m a proactive problem-solver.”) But that kind of thing is easy to fake, especially if the halo effect kicks in because the person is nice-looking or charismatic.

It’s much harder to fake experience. When you ask about a particular example of when they actually were a team player, or proactively solved a problem, you can see that they really mean it.

All the time as an interviewer, you should be asking ‘Can you think of a time when you did that? What’s an example of that?’

It’s similar when you are doing a presentation. You’ll want to show the benefits of what you’re recommending. The most persuasive evidence for that is when you talk about how you benefited from it, or, maybe, when you helped someone else benefit from it..

At times, you’ll also want to warn people away from certain courses of action, so you’ll need stories of when you screwed up because you didn’t follow this advice.

If you want to show that you really know what you’re talking about, talking about a time when you did that is the most persuasive evidence.

If you share your experiences, people remember you as an experienced person.

Stories make very effective analogies.

There are times when you have to make your complex topic simple. One way is an analogy – an image from your listener’s life that brings out important points in a way that helps them understand.

If you can discuss something that happened to you that shares the qualities you want people to identify in your topic, they can’t help but find things clearer.

(Don’t worry – I’ll give you some clues when we return to stories in a couple of weeks about how to use stories as analogies in a powerful way.)


You’re going to have to go back through your life, thinking of stories.

A really good way is to think of problems you’ve solved.

1. Get a piece of paper and draw a line from your birth until now. Mark on significant events – moving house and jobs seem to be significant milestones which perhaps remind you of other changes in your life.

For example, I might have

~ moving to the States when I was a kid
~ moving back to UK
~ first house after school
~ college
~ London
~ IT trainer
~ moving in with Stuart
~ training manager job
~ moving to Singapore
~ work in Hong Kong and China
~ moving back to live with Mum-in-law
~ moving to Birmingham.

2. Then go through each of those areas and do a bit of light brainstorming about problems you encountered and solved. This is not the time to be going over traumatic times, but just thinking: What issues did I face and how did I get through to the other side?

Off the top of my head, when I lived in Houston as a kid, they thought I had a speech defect – I didn’t pronounce my ‘r’s correctly. Fatherrrr. Motherrr. So they sent me speech therapy, effectively to correct my British accent. If I turned up and worked hard, I got a free book every couple of weeks, so my parents let me keep going. Free books, right?

When I was a training manager, for instance, I had to train all the staff in all communication topics. I very quickly learned how to research a topic and put together an involving learning session using adult learning principles.

Erm… When we first started working in Hong Kong and China, I had to adapt to speaking in global English, not my British version.

You’ll quickly see that at each juncture, you can come up with five, ten, twenty different challenges you faced and (evidently!) got through.

Caveat: This process doesn’t give us stories yet.

Stories that grab people’s attention contain a couple more ingredients than we’ve listed so far. In a couple of weeks, when we’re nearer to planning the details of your talk, I’m going to tell you how to select and tell stories that serve your purpose.

Do the exercise above (and maybe blutack it up and add to it over the next couple of weeks) and you’ll see that story-finding is a breeze.

You’ll never find it difficult to find interesting stories ever again.

For now, go through your life timeline, identify major milestones, and list the challenges you moved through and problems you solved (both big and small) and we’ll come back to it later.

I promise you, you’ll look back on this as a major step towards becoming the kind of speaker you want to be.

Andi Lightheart, the author of Presentation Now: Prepare a perfect presentation in less than 3 hours (Pearson 2015) is the UK’s leading complex-topic presentation coach. This article is one of a series Andi wrote in the run-up to TCUK 2014 where they gave a workshop on presentation planning. If you ever want some one-to-one help with presentations, check out Andi is also an unrepentant overtweeter at @alightheart.

Check out all the articles in this series:

Convince your boss – TCUK 2019

How to justify attending the Technical Communication UK 2019 conference

Here are some suggestions for justifying why your manager or supervisor should send you to the TCUK 2019 conference. Below is a sample letter or email you might send.


Dear [your supervisor’s name]:

To help provide [your organisation] and my colleagues with the most current professional knowledge and skills in technical communications, I would like to attend the Technical Communication UK 2019 conference from the 10th to the 12th of September 2019 at the Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

This event delivers over 30 sessions and workshops during the three days of the conference, with speakers from companies like ours who describe how they implemented solutions to work smarter. There are a number of sessions this year focusing on the role of social media in improving the ways in which companies can share technical information with their customers. There is also a vendor exhibition showcasing the latest technologies that can support technical communication.


To have an idea of how our company might benefit, the sessions that I find of particular relevance include: [customize the list from]
[topic relevant to your work]
[topic relevant to your work]
[topic relevant to your work]


The all-inclusive residential rate of [select appropriate rate] covers the conference from Tuesday morning to Thursday afternoon. It includes all receptions, the keynote address, 3 streams of open sessions, workshops, special events, dinner and Gala dinner, and networking opportunities. The value is very competitive when compared with similar conferences offered by other organizations, and as the conference is in the UK there are no overseas travelling costs.

A customised conference package can also be built from individual options such as a one-day admission to the conference for [select rate], and specially negotiated room rates of only [select rate] per night.

Summary of Benefits

Attending the Technical Communication UK 2019 conference will enhance my technical communication skills, keep me updated on the latest industry best practices, and help me to deliver the best information to our customers. I will be able to pass on much of what I learn to my colleagues, and my copies of the speaker presentations will be available to our team for reference.

I am very interested in discussing how the company could support my attendance at Technical Communication UK 2019. I will do whatever I can to make attending the conference a part of my employer-supported training this year. Thank you for considering my request.

[your name]

Announcing the 1st of the keynote speakers for TCUK 2014 – Rahel Bailie

We are delighted to announce that Rahel Anne Bailie is the first of our keynote speakers for TCUK 2014.

Keynote speaker: Rahel Anne Bailie

Rahel Bailie Rahel has over twenty-five years of professional content experience, and combines substantial business, communication, and usability skills with a strong understanding of content and how to manage it. She is a recognized thought leader and sought-after speaker and workshop leader, and in 2012 she co-authored (with Noz Urbina) Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brands and benefits. Rahel's latest book, co-authored with Scott Abel, The Language of Content Strategy was published in February 2014.


Rahel's Keynote topic at TCUK 2014 is "Do You Trust Me Now?: technical content in the age of social media" and she will also be presenting a workshop on "Social Business Initiatives: Identification and Responsible Implementation"