What are the best practices for preparing construction content for translation in DITA?

Preparing construction content for translation in DITA involves several best practices to ensure a smooth and efficient localization process. By following these guidelines, construction organizations can optimize the quality and consistency of translated content while reducing translation costs.

Modular Content

One of the fundamental best practices is to structure content in a modular fashion. Break down documents into smaller, reusable components such as topics and snippets. This allows for content to be translated in smaller units, making the process more manageable. When content is structured modularly, changes in the source language can be reflected easily in the translated versions, promoting consistency across languages.

Use of Localization Attributes

Utilize the xml:lang attribute to indicate the language of specific content elements. This attribute can be applied at various levels of granularity, from the entire document to individual paragraphs or phrases. By specifying the language explicitly, translation tools and processes can identify and handle the content accordingly. This practice helps translators understand the context and maintain linguistic accuracy during translation.

Translation Memory and Terminology Management

Implement a translation memory system to store and manage previously translated content. This technology allows for the reuse of translated segments, ensuring consistency and reducing translation costs over time. Additionally, maintain a terminology database with standardized construction terminology and definitions. Consistent terminology across languages is critical for clarity and accuracy in construction documentation.


Here’s an example of how modular content and localization attributes can be applied in DITA:

<topic id="foundation_construction">
  <title xml_lang="en">Foundation Construction</title>
  <p xml_lang="en">In this phase, the foundation of the building is laid.</p>
  <p xml_lang="fr">Dans cette phase, les fondations du bâtiment sont posées.</p>

In this example, the content is structured as a DITA topic, and the xml:lang attribute specifies the language for both the English and French versions of the content, facilitating translation and localization.