How are content variants managed during translation in DITA?

Managing content variants during translation in DITA is a critical aspect of creating and maintaining multilingual documentation. DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture) provides a structured approach to handle content variants efficiently.

Variants in DITA

DITA allows content authors to create variants of topics to cater to different languages, audiences, or product versions. Variants can be managed through conditional processing attributes, which control the visibility of specific content based on predefined conditions. These conditions can include language codes, audience characteristics, or any other relevant criteria.

Conditional Text Example:

Here’s an example of how conditional text is used in DITA to manage content variants for different languages:

<topic id="product_description">
  <title>Product Description</title>
    <p>This is the product description in English.</p>
    <ph conkeyref="lang" conref="es_description.dita">Este es la descripción del producto en español.</ph>
    <ph conkeyref="lang" conref="fr_description.dita">Ceci est la description du produit en français.</ph>

In this example, conditional text is used to include the product description in different languages. The conkeyref attribute specifies the condition key for language, and the conref attribute references separate DITA topics for each language variant.

Managing Translation Workflow

When it comes to translation, DITA simplifies the process by allowing translation management systems to recognize and process conditional content based on the specified conditions. This ensures that translators can work on the right variants for their target audience or language. It also streamlines the translation workflow and reduces the risk of errors or omissions in the translated content.