Conference Paper

Technical communication and cross cultural miscommunication: usability and the outsourcing of writing

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Abstract

Writing is a culturally situated activity. When writing is outsourced to other cultures, because of a lack of knowledge of the users' culture and also because of influences from the writer's local culture, those doing the writing and designing, despite various strategies adopted for overcoming the disadvantage of not knowing the users' culture, may not know how to culturally situate writing. It is, therefore, important that bicultural people, who know the users' culture, as well as the culture of those doing the outsourced work, give writing teams feedback about the users' culture. Doing so can make outsourced writing more culturally situated.

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... They suggest that teachers have to find ways to teach the students using a combination of multimedia such as texts, images, sounds and video without 10 diluting the attention to language (57)(58)(59)(60)(61)(62)(63)(64)(65)(66)(67)(68)(69)(70)(71). Kern 15 Dai and Fan acknowledge the importance of multimedia instruction in their study. ...
... The results and analysis of the pilot study will also be presented. 60 ...
... In his research, Jeyaraj (2005) has argued that writing is a culturally situated action and if there is lack of knowledge about the users' culture and/or strong influence of writers' own local culture, it might be difficult to situate writing culturally. To save costs, some companies are outsourcing web projects to countries with cheap labor (Nielson, 2002). ...
... Although they have the writing skills, they have often obtained them without systematic training or a degree in technical writing (Kamath, 1999). Jeyaraj (2005) has explained the recent trend in outsourcing information technology projects to India. North American corporations realized that instead of bringing people from other cultures to work on projects, they could actually take the projects overseas and expand the scope of the projects. ...
Article
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Outsourcing of Information Technology (IT) and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) has taken the world by storm, and India is leading the pack with its skilled, inexpensive, and English-speaking labor force. The rate of outsourcing of technical writing projects to India is increasing rapidly, as never before with projects being outsourced or companies setting up new hubs. Yet, the realistic advantage behind this outsourcing of writing projects to India remains a controversial topic in corporate circles across the United States. The central argument remains that technical writing projects should be handled in the United States as there is enough expertise to do so or should be outsourced to a country where English is the first language. While India's expertise and achievement when it comes to the use of English language is well documented and appreciated the world over, the fact remains that most of the technical writers in India receive on-the-job training and there is dearth of real technical writing academic program to support the industry potential. Whether the quality of output suffers as a result is something that still remains unanswered.
... According to them multimedia will play a pivotal role in both teaching and learning in future. They suggest that teachers have to find ways to teach the students using a combination of multimedia such as texts, images, sounds and video without diluting the attention to language (57)(58)(59)(60)(61)(62)(63)(64)(65)(66)(67)(68)(69)(70)(71). Kern and Warschauer have noted that there has been increased use of technology, especially in the last two decades. ...
... Even though assessment patterns in India are based on student performance in writing, the teaching of writing is neglected. Jeyaraj (2005) claims that there is a dearth of technical writing courses in Indian Universities. (p.1). ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examines the efficacy of multimedia integration in a writing classroom using the process approach. Contemporary practices of teaching writing include the process approach and technology integration. Therefore, multimedia integration is recommended at every stage of the process approach for better learning outcomes. The participants of the study included 60 male students comprising of control group n=30 and the experimental group n=30. Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning (CTML) was used as the theoretical base and his principles were applied for the design of writing tasks. The control group was exposed to traditional input and the treatment group to multimodal input. The test performance was evaluated using IELTS writing rubrics. A paired sample t-test indicated discernible improvement in the writing skills of the experimental group. The final part of the paper deals with the pedagogical implications of multimedia integration, limitations, and scope for future research. Keywords: writing, multimedia, cognitive theory, process approach, evaluation
Chapter
There is a fundamental contradiction between the requirements of offshore outsourcing and the use of agile methods in IS development. While agile methods call for extensive, frequent interaction between client and developer, outsourcing unavoidably hinders this interaction on several levels. Research to date has not specifically addressed this mismatch; the issue is either dismissed as less important or skirted by assuming the existence of an onshore team to conveniently collaborate with the client. There is no doubt that some nominally agile offshore projects can be conducted successfully without the usual level of client interaction, and in others the permanent presence of an onshore team is feasible; anecdotal experience reports describe such projects. However, in the general case of agile offshore development, client collaboration is central, and this issue cannot be avoided. This chapter examines the nature of the mismatch between agility and offshore outsourcing with regard to client collaboration. The aim is to expose the underlying issues with clarity, to assist in further research designed to formulate improved ways of addressing the client collaboration gap in agile offshore projects.
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This study examines the nature, manifestations and causes of communication problems in international outsourcing engagements. Specifically, it explores a case of business process outsourcing (BPO), which is the transfer of a number of business processes, such as payroll, supply chain management, and customer relations to an external supplier. In this case, a company based in the US outsourced its business processes to a company in India. (1) If widespread proficiency in English is the reason for India's predominant position in outsourcing, then why do we hear about communication problems? (2) What are the causes of such problems? (3) In what forms and situations do they manifest? (4) How could technical communication offer solutions to ameliorate or minimize some of these communication problems? Similar cases studied include previous studies of call centers in the Philippines and outsourcing relationships in software companies have identified challenges in those relationships to problems of intercultural communications, such as language use and differences in culture. Three areas of inquiry informed this study. Intercultural communication theories provide frameworks and touch points for assessing the role of culture in communication. Previous studies of outsourcing and offshoring provided definitions of the broad range of arrangements that comprise outsourcing. Although these studies all concluded that communication is a crucial factor in the success of outsourced projects, they offered few details of communication problems, their causes, manifestations, and possible solutions. Accounts of India represent India as a rapidly-growing, dynamic economy with certain typical communication problems. The study was designed as a mixed-methods, single-case study with a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative data were gathered through surveys that helped develop a picture of patterns in areas such as communication problems, preferred methods of communicati- n, and patterns of escalation while qualitative data from 45 personal interviews and one group interview provided insights into the nature and resolution of communication dissonances. The case studied ABC Corporation, a captive Indian company that performed BPO for a major American corporation. Communication problems that arise in the outsourcing relationship include differences in corporate culture and differences in linguistic and rhetorical choices. Issues causing these problems include differences in education and training. Ongoing training in cross-cultural communication is needed at all stages of the outsourcing cycle, with an emphasis on communication skills in the early stages of the process, especially the hiring stage. Technical communication can offer solutions to these problems because our field can help structure suitable training applying theories such as Cross' Theory of centripetal and centrifugal forces, which provide frameworks for assessing and addressing communication problems.
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