How do I handle translated DITA content?

Handling translated DITA content involves the management, integration, and quality assurance of content that has been translated into different languages while maintaining consistency, structure, and the overall document integrity. It includes the process of replacing localization keys with translated text, updating language attributes, and ensuring proper formatting for each language.

Handling translated DITA content is a crucial step in the localization process. The key aspects are translation integration, updating xml:lang attributes, quality assurance, formatting and layout, testing and validation, and version control.

Translation Integration: Once translations are received, the localized content needs to be integrated back into the original DITA documents. This integration involves replacing localization keys with their corresponding translated text. Localization keys, which were used as placeholders, are now substituted with actual content.

Update xml:lang Attributes: The “xml:lang” attribute, used to indicate the language of specific content, should be updated for each translated element to reflect the target language. This attribute helps tools and readers understand the language used, ensuring accurate language rendering.

Quality Assurance (QA): It’s essential to conduct QA checks on the translated content. QA involves reviewing the translated text for accuracy, consistency, and formatting issues. This process ensures that the content reads naturally in the target language and that any translated terminology matches industry standards and company guidelines.

Formatting and Layout: Text expansion or contraction in different languages can impact document layout and formatting. Ensure that the translated content fits appropriately within the document’s design and structure. Adjustments may be needed to accommodate longer or shorter translations.

Testing and Validation: The localized DITA documents should be tested to ensure that all links, references, and cross-references work correctly in the translated versions. Validating the document structure ensures that it remains intact and that there are no broken elements or formatting errors.

Version Control: Maintaining version control of both the source and translated documents keeps track of changes made during translation and ensures that all versions are properly documented.

Example: In this example, a DITA topic contains a greeting in multiple languages using localization keys. The topic structure might look like this:

<topic xml_lang="en-US">
    <p>This is a friendly greeting: <ph keyref="greeting"/>.</p>

In this example, <ph keyref=”greeting”/> is a localization key that represents the translatable greeting phrase. The actual translations for this key are defined in separate localization files for each language.

Localization File for English (en-US.xml):

  <ph key="greeting">Hello!</ph>

Localization File for Spanish (es-ES.xml):

  <ph key="greeting">¡Hola!</ph>

In these localization files, the translations are defined for the <ph key=”greeting”/> key in their respective language.

Using a processing instruction specifies which localization file to apply to change the language of the topic.

For English Output:

<?xml-stylesheet href="en-US.xml" type="text/xml" ?>
<topic xml_lang="en-US" href="greetings.dita"/>

For Spanish Output:

<?xml-stylesheet href="es-ES.xml" type="text/xml" ?>
<topic xml_lang="es-ES" href="greetings.dita"/>

When the output is generated, it will include the appropriate greeting based on the selected localization file and the xml:lang attribute specified in the topic. So, for English output, it will display “Hello!” and for Spanish output, it will display “¡Hola!”.