A Proposal for Managing Translation of DITA Documents

One of the main benefits of adopting DITA is the savings in translation costs. However, there are many rules that writers need to follow when the content is created to be translated into other languages. For example, reusing content at sub-phrase level may create issues when that content needs to be translated to other languages–in some language there may be a different phrasing order or some words need to be derived based on the reused content while in the master language those words are invariant.

Another issue with translating DITA content is that the translation company needs to be DITA-aware and the translators need to understand advanced DITA functionality, which may not be trivial, especially if some advanced DITA 1.2 (or even 1.3) functionality is used.

We can resolve all these problems if we process DITA content in two phases–one to resolve all reuse and get to a simplified DITA format that is basically the equivalent of HTML content and the second phase to transform the simplified DITA format to the actual publishing formats like PDF, HTML, EPUB, and so on. The input for translation will be the simplified DITA format. Thus, we do not need to worry about reuse-related issues or requiring advanced DITA knowledge from translators.
The presentation explores this proposal for managing DITA translations to see what are the benefits, the drawbacks, and if there is anything needed to make this work in practice.

What can the audience expect to learn?

The proposed idea simplifies the way writers need to encode DITA content because they do not need to be concerned with translation-specific rules and also it allows using translation companies and translators who do not have advanced DITA knowledge, thus reducing the cost both for creating and translating content.

Meet the presenter

George Bina

George Bina is one of the founders of Syncro Soft, the company that develops oXygen XML Editor. He has more than 15 years experience in working with XML and related technologies including XML-related projects, oXygen XML Editor, and participation in open source projects. His most notable open-source projects are oNVDL –an open source implementation of the NVDL standard, a project that is now merged into Jing and DITA-NG, the Relax NG-based implementation of DITA that was adopted as the reference schema for DITA in DITA 1.3.


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