I blogged last week about how awesome Valve's employee handbook is. This weekend I decided to start performing, er, I guess you'd call it a cross-context translation, on it. I'm about two thirds of the way through, and I'm beginning to feel like this won't be as easy as I thought. When I was reading the handbook, it occurred to me that it would be a great set of general instructions for living a happy, decent and productive life. So in the rewrite, I'm basically just removing all references to Valve, and replacing "the company" with "humankind," "Customers" with "other people," and so on.
I think this is turning out to be a really good start, but it's going to need a few more versions before it makes sense. The translation out of literal context and into a more metaphorical worldview-suggestion pamphlet is not a straightforward one. Things that are clear in the book, like the lack of management, will require more explanation to get the appropriate metaphorical resonance out of it.
If anyone wants to help, I'll be finished the raw translation soon and would love input. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.