How is content localization and translation managed in DITA for automotive technical documentation?

Managing content localization and translation in DITA for automotive technical documentation is crucial for reaching a global audience and complying with various language requirements. DITA offers several features and best practices to streamline the localization process and ensure accurate translations.

Localizable Content

In DITA, content is structured in a way that separates it from formatting and presentation. This separation allows for easier localization because the core content can be extracted for translation without worrying about the layout and styling. When preparing content for localization, it’s important to ensure that it is marked as “localizable,” which typically involves tagging the text elements that need translation.

Translation Management Systems (TMS)

Many organizations use Translation Management Systems (TMS) in conjunction with DITA to streamline the translation process. TMS tools provide a centralized platform for managing translation projects, coordinating with translators, and tracking the progress of translations. DITA content can be exported in industry-standard formats like XLIFF (XML Localization Interchange File Format), which is compatible with most TMS solutions. Once translated, the content can be easily imported back into the DITA environment.


Here’s an example of how DITA content can be prepared for translation:

<topic id="oil_change_instructions">
  <title>Oil Change Instructions</title>
    <p localizable="yes">To perform an oil change, follow these steps:</p>
      <li localizable="yes">Lift the vehicle using a jack.</li>
      <li localizable="yes">Locate the oil drain plug.</li>

In this example, the text elements that require translation are marked with the “localizable” attribute, making it clear which content needs to be translated.