Victoria Ward has an interesting piece on translating poetry that I think has a lot to do with the difficulties of knowledge management, particularly for those who are attempting to "record for all time" the knowledge of experts within their organizations. At least we aren't translating from one language to another. Or are we?
Translator-traitor is a phrase the Italians have for describing the translation of poetry. It’s an interesting subject to think about in respect of knowledge work and writing which so often demands translation from one world and sensibility to an entirely different one.
What are all the aspects that need to be accounted for in making the translation from what Jane knows to something that Joe could use? What about that lessons learned document we want to create?
Context is a big part of the communication that needs to happen, whether that communication is directly between Jane and Joe, or it is mediated by a recording of some form. But the further apart are Jane and Joe, the harder it is to synchronize their context so that the critical knowledge transfer can happen. How can they be separated? Name your dimensions: time, distance, baseline knowledge, past experiences, education, terminology, etc. The list can probably go on forever. (Did I just make a mental connection to comparative literature?)