How do pharmaceutical companies handle terminology translation and localization in DITA?

Managing terminology translation and localization in the context of pharmaceutical documentation using DITA XML is a critical consideration, especially when dealing with global audiences and diverse linguistic requirements. Here are strategies for handling terminology translation and localization in DITA:

Terminology Libraries

Pharmaceutical companies often maintain terminology libraries that contain translations of key terms and phrases in multiple languages. In DITA, these libraries can be integrated into the content creation process. Content creators can reference these libraries to ensure consistent and accurate translation of pharmaceutical terminology. The terminology libraries can be organized as separate DITA maps or topics for easy reference.

Conditional Text

DITA allows for the use of conditional text based on attributes such as “xml:lang” to specify the language of content. Pharmaceutical documents can include conditional text tags to switch between different language versions of terminology within a single DITA topic. This approach simplifies content management by keeping translations within the same source document, making updates and reviews more efficient.


Here’s an example of how conditional text can be used in DITA to handle terminology translation and localization:

<topic id="pharma_guidelines">
  <title>Pharmaceutical Guidelines</title>
    <p>In the context of pharmaceutical research, it is essential to followto ensure compliance with industry standards.


In this example, the DITA topic “pharma_guidelines” includes conditional text (““) that references an external terminology topic (“terminology.xml#pharma_term”) containing translations of the term “pharmaceutical.” Depending on the language specified, the appropriate translation is included in the output.