Can DITA support image descriptions in multiple languages for localization?

DITA supports image descriptions in multiple languages for localization, allowing organizations to create content that can be easily adapted for diverse audiences around the world while maintaining consistency and accuracy.

DITA’s ability to support image descriptions in multiple languages is vital for creating localized content that caters to a global audience. This capability involves multilingual content, localization support, conditional processing, and consistency and reusability.

Multilingual Content

Organizations often need to provide content in multiple languages to reach international markets. This includes not only the textual content but also image descriptions, ensuring that all elements of a document are accessible and comprehensible in the user’s preferred language.

Localization Support

DITA provides mechanisms to manage localized content effectively. It allows for the creation of separate topics or elements for image descriptions in different languages. This ensures that images are accompanied by descriptions in each target language.

Conditional Processing

DITA’s conditional processing features enable content creators to select the appropriate image description based on the audience’s language. Conditional attributes can be used to determine which description is displayed when generating content for a specific locale.

Consistency and Reusability

By managing image descriptions in multiple languages within a structured DITA framework, organizations can maintain consistency across their documentation. Descriptions that are common across products or versions can be reused, saving time and effort.


A global software company that produces user manuals for its products. They want to include screenshots with descriptions in multiple languages to cater to their diverse user base. In their DITA documentation, they have a topic for each screenshot, which contains an image element and a localized description. The descriptions are tagged with language attributes (e.g., xml_lang=”en-US” for English and xml_lang=”fr-FR” for French).

        <topic id="screenshot001">
          <title>Installing the Application</title>
          <image href="screenshot001.png" />
          <desc xml_lang="en-US">Figure 1: Installing the application on your device.</desc>
          <desc xml_lang="fr-FR">Figure 1: Installation de l'application sur votre appareil.</desc>

In this example, we have a DITA topic with the ID “screenshot001” that represents a screenshot for the installation process of an application. The <image> element references the image file, and there are two <desc> elements, each with a different xml:lang attribute to specify the language. One description is in English, and the other is in French. When publishing content for a specific language, the corresponding description is selected based on the language attribute, ensuring that users receive content in their preferred language.