Are there best practices for handling translation of DITA map labels?

Best practices for handling the translation of DITA maps include careful planning, the use of conditional processing, maintaining consistent terminology, and rigorous quality assurance to ensure accurate and culturally appropriate translations.

Best Practices for Translating DITA Maps

When translating DITA maps, several best practices can streamline the process and improve the quality of localized content. These practices include thorough planning, conditional processing, terminology consistency, and quality assurance.

Thorough Planning

Before translation begins, plan the localization process carefully. Define translation requirements, target languages, and the scope of the project. Consider layout and design adjustments that might be necessary due to text expansion or contraction.

Conditional Processing

Use conditional processing attributes such as conkeyref and language-specific keys to include or exclude language-specific elements in the map. This ensures that the map structure remains consistent across languages.

Terminology Consistency

Maintain a glossary of key terms and product names to ensure consistent terminology across languages. Consistency in terminology is critical for clarity and user understanding.

Quality Assurance

Implement a robust quality assurance process to verify the accuracy, cultural appropriateness, and functionality of the translated content. This should include a thorough review of navigation elements, links, and references.


A multinational corporation is localizing its DITA-based product documentation into five languages. They follow best practices to make the project as easy as possible.


They start with a comprehensive project plan that outlines the scope, target languages, and specific requirements for each language.

Conditional Processing

For each language, they use conkeyref to conditionally include language-specific content in the DITA maps. This ensures that users accessing the documentation in their preferred language see only the relevant content.

Terminology Consistency

They maintain a multilingual glossary to ensure that product names, technical terms, and industry-specific jargon are used consistently across all languages.

Quality Assurance

Before releasing the localized documentation, they conduct thorough quality assurance checks. This includes testing all links and references to ensure they work correctly in each language version.