Archive for April, 2008

Lost in translation

Keith April 16th, 2008

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

There has been some discussion on actKM about language translation.  It has been suggested that it is possible to decide that a particular translation can be said to be “correct”, or that one translation can be actually measured and rated as “better” than another.

The argument has variously referred to single words or whole texts; poetry has also been referred to.

Is it possible to say that even a precise, simple, factual statement is accurately translated?  Maybe, but I am not convinced.  However, when it comes to translating “knowledge” – any piece of text that is in any way context-dependent, then I must side with David Snowden’s view that “knowledge is closer to poetry than a factual statement.”

Poetry tends to be strongly context-dependent.  There is no way that a translation of a poem can be judged to be “correct” in any completely objective or absolute way (or thus, by the above argument, knowledge).

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A new journey begins

Keith April 7th, 2008

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.  You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  – J. R. R. Tolkien

Where does the KM function ideally belong in an organisation?  This is the topic of a recent discussion on actKM.  I have been working in KM in Telstra for about eight years.  The role of my team is to make it easy for our business sales people to access the knowledge they need to sell our products, services and solutions.  Over this time, the migration of the team through the organisation has been as follows:

  • Sales (in a specialist sales/technical area)
  • Marketing
  • Sales (in “Sales Programs”, with the communication group)
  • Marketing (with the Campaign Build function)
  • Business Operations (for six months, where I was the only member of the original team remaining)
  • Sales Excellence (with the Sales communications, training and other support groups)
  • Enterprise Learning (over the last six months or so)

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