How do organizations manage language variations and translation status in DITA projects?

Managing language variations and translation status in DITA projects is crucial for organizations aiming to deliver content in multiple languages while ensuring consistency and tracking the translation progress. DITA provides mechanisms to address these requirements efficiently.

Language Variations

One approach for handling language variations is to create separate DITA topics for each language. For instance:

<topic id="introduction-en">
  <body>English content goes here.</body>

<topic id="introduction-fr">
  <body>French content goes here.</body>

By maintaining separate topics for each language, you can easily manage content variations. Additionally, the use of language codes and attributes like “xml:lang” allows you to specify the language of each topic, which is valuable for translation processes.

Translation Status

DITA also supports attributes to track the translation status of topics. For instance, you can use the “translate” attribute to indicate the translation progress:

<topic id="install-guide" translate="needs-translation">
  <title>Installation Guide</title>
  <body>This content is pending translation.</body>

Attributes like “translate” help project managers and translators understand which topics are ready for translation and which ones require work. By using a specific attribute value like “needs-translation,” you can clearly communicate the status within your DITA content.

Translation Management Systems

For comprehensive translation management, organizations often integrate DITA with Translation Management Systems (TMS). These systems help track translation progress, manage terminology, and ensure consistency in multilingual content. Integration with a TMS simplifies the process of handling translations and maintaining accurate records of translation status across DITA projects.