Can DITA topics and maps contain content in multiple languages?

DITA is a powerful markup language for creating structured content, and it provides excellent support for multilingual documentation. Organizations that need to deliver content in different languages can leverage DITA’s features to streamline the localization process. Here’s how DITA supports the creation of multilingual documentation:

Language Identification

One of the fundamental ways DITA enables multilingual content is through language identification. DITA allows you to specify the language of your content using the “xml:lang” attribute. For example:

<section xml_lang="en">
  <p>This is English content.</p>
<section xml_lang="fr">
  <p>Ceci est un contenu en français.</p>

In this example, two sections are defined, each with its respective language attribute. This makes it clear which language each section is written in.

Conditional Text

DITA also offers conditional processing features that are valuable for multilingual content. You can use conditional processing attributes to include or exclude content based on conditions like language. For example:

<p>This is universal content.</p>
<ph conkeyref="language" conref="fr-content.dita"/>

In this case, the “conkeyref” attribute references a condition set, and “conref” points to a DITA topic file (“fr-content.dita”) containing French content. Depending on the conditions set in the “language” condition set, the French content can be included or excluded during publishing.

Variable and Reusable Content

DITA also supports variables and content reuse, which are highly beneficial for managing multilingual content. You can define variables for text fragments that are used in multiple places throughout your content. When a translation is required, you only need to update the variables for each language, ensuring consistency across the documentation.

In summary, DITA’s language identification, conditional processing, and content reuse capabilities make it an excellent choice for creating and managing multilingual documentation.