What considerations are important for localizing DITA maps?

Localizing DITA maps involves considering various factors such as language, culture, and content structure to ensure that the maps and associated content can be effectively translated and adapted for different regions or languages.

Key Considerations in Localization

When localizing DITA maps, several important considerations come into play:

Language and Culture

DITA maps need to accommodate different languages and cultural contexts. This includes translating not only the content but also elements like labels, titles, and navigation. Cultural nuances may also require adaptations in content and visual elements.

Content Structure

The structure of DITA maps should be adaptable to accommodate differences in text length due to translation. The layout and formatting should be flexible enough to handle variations in content size.

Metadata and Keywords

Localized DITA maps may require adjustments to metadata, keywords, and alternative text descriptions to align with the target language and region.

Navigation and TOCs

Ensure that the navigation elements, such as tables of contents (TOCs), are configured to work seamlessly with translated content. This includes considering character encoding, pagination, and text direction (e.g., left-to-right vs. right-to-left).


A global software company with DITA-based documentation for its product needs to localize the DITA maps and content for a Japanese audience.

  • Translating all content, including map titles, topics, and navigation labels, into Japanese while accommodating the longer text length that Japanese often entails.
  • Adapting navigation elements and TOCs to handle the Japanese text and ensuring that pagination and navigation buttons are compatible with the Japanese language’s right-to-left reading direction.
  • Localizing metadata elements and alt text descriptions for images to be culturally relevant and language-appropriate.