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

Preparing government content for translation in DITA involves following best practices to ensure a smooth and efficient localization process. When dealing with multilingual content, it’s crucial to structure your DITA documents in a way that makes translation straightforward. Here are some recommended best practices:

Segmentation of Content

Segmentation is essential for managing translation efficiently. Break down your content into smaller topics or sections. Each segment should ideally focus on a single concept or subject matter. This granularity allows translators to work on smaller units of text, improving accuracy and consistency in translation. The use of DITA maps to organize these topics can help create a logical structure for translation projects.

Use of Variables

DITA supports variables that allow you to store and reuse commonly used terms or phrases. When preparing content for translation, use variables for repeated terminology. This way, if a term changes or needs adjustment, you can update it in one place, and it will automatically reflect across all instances in the document. It simplifies the maintenance of consistent terminology throughout the content and across different language versions.

Conditional Text for Locale-Specific Content

For government content that is specific to particular locales, use conditional text. This feature enables you to include or exclude content based on the target language or region. It helps in tailoring the content to the specific needs of each audience, ensuring that readers receive relevant information. By employing conditional text effectively, you can streamline translation efforts and create more engaging, locale-specific content.


Here’s an example of how to structure DITA content for translation preparation:

  <title>Government Manual</title>
  <topicref href="taxation.dita" />
  <topicref href="legal-procedures.dita" />
  <topicref href="healthcare-policies.dita" />

In this example, a DITA map organizes different topics for a government manual. Each topic, such as “taxation.dita,” can be further segmented into smaller units for efficient translation. Variables can be used for repeated terms, and conditional text can be applied to handle content specific to different locales.