As part of the Documentation Development Life Cycle, after finalizing a document, technical communicators send it out for an editorial review. This process helps them ensure documentation quality.
However, in organizations where a formal editorial review is an integral part of the documentation process, technical communicators who own multiple documents might need to address a huge volume of editorial input. In addition, these editorial inputs could come in very late in the cycle, when the documents need to be released as soon as possible.
An automatic editorial review can be of great help in organizations where technical communicators are always hard pressed for time. Fortunately, now there are tools available in the market which can be integrated easily with our authoring tools.
I have tried out the following tools that can help you automate the editorial review:
• SDL Author Assistant
Acrolinx checks spelling, grammar, style, terminology, and unifies core concepts, expressions, slogans, and entire sentences for direct reuse. It uses Linguistic Intelligence to analyze word types, basic forms, grammatical and stylistic structures and patterns. In addition, it offers a fully integrated, customizable, and scalable solution to control information quality. It is integrated with AuthorIT. For further information on Acrolinx, refer to the following link:
Similarly, SDL author assistant checks spelling, grammar, style, and terminology. I downloaded it from the following link:
It is available for free with FrameMaker. When I installed it on my system, it automatically integrated with FrameMaker. When I launched FrameMaker on my system, I got an additional tab for SDL Author Assistant. I defined some styles for using SDL Author Assistant with FrameMaker and it started improving the consistency and quality of documentation.
Finally, I recommend using these tools where documentation development life cycles are short and workload is heavy, because these tools can really help you save your time and effort.
Some more editorial review tools are available at the following link:
Happy editorial reviewing!
By Manisha Khurana, Technical Writer – Comviva and STC India Secretary for 2012
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