Can DITA maps be translated for multilingual documentation?

DITA maps can be translated to create multilingual documentation, enabling organizations to provide content in multiple languages. This involves translating both the map structure and the content within the DITA topics for each target language.

Steps in Translating DITA Maps

The process of translating DITA maps for multilingual documentation consists of the following steps:

Map Structure Translation

The DITA map structure, including titles, navigation elements, and metadata, is translated into the target language. This ensures that the overall structure of the documentation is linguistically appropriate.

Content Translation

The content within each DITA topic is translated into the target language. This includes all text, images with alt text, and any metadata within the topics.

Localization of Navigation Elements

Elements such as tables of contents (TOCs), indexes, and cross-references are adjusted to work seamlessly with the translated content. This may involve adjusting pagination, text direction, and navigation labels.

Quality Assurance

Rigorous quality assurance is essential to ensure accurate and culturally appropriate translations, as well as functional navigation.


A software company creating DITA-based user manuals for its product needs to translate the documentation into French for the Canadian market.

  • The DITA map titles, TOCs, and navigation elements are translated from English to French.
  • Within each DITA topic, all text and alt text for images are translated into French.
  • Navigation elements like TOCs are adapted to accommodate the French text, which may be longer or shorter than the English content.
  • A thorough review process is conducted to verify the quality of translations and navigation in the French version of the documentation.