Cui Bono - Who benefits?
One of the first challenges when translating technical topics is to ensure that the content is relevant for the target audience. After all, you don't want to bore your readers with information that they already know or that isn't relevant to them.
This is where 'cui bono?' comes in. This Latin phrase means 'who benefits?', and it's a question that Deevid always first asks himself when he's creating content. By thinking about who will benefit from the information, you are able to focus on the most important aspects of the topic and leave out anything that isn't relevant.
Imagine, for instance, a highly technical niche product. Engineers will love to talk about how cool certain features are, how well it's documented or how easy it is to configure. You can often write an entire book based on their enthusiastic input, yet when you're trying to communicate why a company should invest in that product these arguments will hardly be convincing. But find a way to communicate how these features save costs, increase revenue or lead to happier customers and suddenly you get a captive audience.
It sounds trivial, but you would be surprised how many IT companies suffer from this issue. These companies will often do very well while talking with technical people, but run the risk of falling flat once business gets involved.
Bona Fide - In good faith
Finally, it's important to be authentic. When you're translating technical topics into readable human language, it's important to be true to your original message. This can be a challenge, because sometimes the most accurate translation isn't the most readable. In these cases, it's important to find a balance between accuracy and readability.
Being authentic also means being transparent. Every technology has its downsides and preferred use cases, and many companies make the mistake of avoiding any kind of negativity by only focusing on the upsides. By properly communicating what your solution does - but also what it doesn't do - you can build trust and show that your expertise goes beyond the usual sales talking points.
Translating complex technical topics into readable human language is not a trivial task. It requires knowledge of the target audience, an understanding of the topic and a willingness to be authentic. But if you can master these skills, you will be able to talk about your solution in a way that resonates with your audience and drives results.
P.S. Hi, it’s Deevid, the author of this article. You might be wondering what kind of mind came up with Latin phrases to act as metaphor in a discussion on technical communication. Long story short: I’ve always been passionate about two things: the past and the future. When I talk about technology, I believe it’s crucial to understand where something is coming from to be able to know where it’s heading. If you’ve liked this kind of content, be sure to let us know. There’s a lot more where that came from!
Divide et impera - Divide & Conquer
When it comes to content, there is no one size fits all solution. You have to tailor your message to your audience, because not everyone is interested in the same thing and even though it's important to keep a consistent tone of voice, you do still need to adapt to the context and category of your content.
Some people might be interested in the technical details, others might want to know how the technology can be used in their business. And then there are those who just want to know what all the fuss is about and why they should care.
The best way to cater to all these different needs is to divide your content – webpages, blogs, sales decks, etc. – into different levels. This way, you can start with the basics and gradually increase the level of detail. This approach has two major benefits. First of all, it allows you to cater to a wider audience. And secondly, it prevents you from over/underwhelming your reader with information.
When you have a single piece of content that needs to convince multiple readers – like a business proposal – try to layer your information. Put an executive summary – focusing on business value – at the very beginning and put data, technical details, etc. in separate appendices so they don’t clog up your main argument.