Are there best practices for managing metadata in multilingual DITA projects?

Managing metadata in multilingual DITA projects involves adhering to best practices to ensure efficient localization, consistency, and accuracy across different language versions of content. These practices include maintaining language-specific metadata, using standardized metadata structures, and employing efficient workflow management.

Managing metadata in multilingual DITA projects is crucial for maintaining content quality and consistency across languages. Some of these best practices include:

  • Language-Specific Metadata: Ensure that metadata values are language-specific. Metadata such as titles, descriptions, and keywords should be provided in the language relevant to the target audience. This ensures that metadata is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Standardized Metadata Structures: Use standardized metadata structures and attributes consistently across all language versions. This simplifies the management and localization of metadata. For example, use a common attribute like xml:lang to specify the language of metadata values.
  • Metadata Translation: Just like content, metadata should go through a translation and review process. Ensure that metadata elements are included in the localization workflow and undergo translation by qualified linguists. Maintain a record of metadata translation changes.
  • Translation Prioritization: Clearly define which metadata elements need translation and which should remain in the source language. Prioritize translation efforts based on the relevance and importance of metadata for the audience.
  • Metadata Management Tools: Employ metadata management tools that support multilingual content. These tools can help automate metadata translation, track changes, and ensure metadata consistency across language versions.
  • Collaboration and Review: Establish a collaborative environment for metadata management. Metadata authors, translators, and reviewers should work together to ensure that metadata is accurate and culturally appropriate for each language.
  • Version Control: Implement version control for metadata to track changes and updates across language versions. Use metadata elements like <maprevhistory> to document changes to metadata.


A software company with a multilingual product documentation project implements best practices for managing metadata.

  • Metadata elements like <title>, <description>, and <keywords> are provided in both English and French to cater to their English-speaking and French-speaking audiences.
  • They use the xml:lang attribute to indicate the language of metadata values, ensuring that tools and systems can identify the intended language.
  • Metadata elements undergo translation by professional linguists as part of the localization process. Metadata translation is prioritized based on its importance for each audience.
  • The company uses a metadata management tool that automates metadata translation, tracks changes, and ensures metadata consistency.
  • Metadata authors, translators, and reviewers collaborate to maintain metadata accuracy and cultural relevance for each language version.
  • Version control is implemented to track changes to metadata elements over time, helping to maintain a history of metadata revisions.