During my 15 years in the translation industry, I learned a lot about how seemingly small things can magnify project costs when FrameMaker documents are translated into other languages. To this end, AdobeTCS recently held 2 webinars that addressed different aspects of optimizing both FrameMaker content and post-translation review. Even if you are not yet using FrameMaker, you can benefit from many of the principles shared in both of these recorded webinars.
Optimizing unstructured FrameMaker content for localization
This webinar was not comprehensive, by any means; there are literally dozens of issues and document artifacts that can affect translation. You may click here to view “Session 2) Optimizing unstructured FrameMaker documents for translation/localization.” Highlights of recommended practices include:
- Tables are a major area of both document flaws and good intentions gone bad. On the far end of the scale, LSPs occasionally receive Word documents with tables created in Excel, or FrameMaker docs with tables “faked out” via tabs and manually drawn horizontal and vertical rules. As ridiculous as this sounds, it happens more often than you think. In this case word order is out of kilter, as the translation software will extract text strings “line at a time,” not as the text appears to the naked eye. A number of other problems can occur with tables as well:
- Rotated text in table header rows do not work well in translation. Text expansion can cause the header row depth to expand as much as 33% as seen in the illustration to the right.
- Table column create a very narrow space for line breaks. This is limited further by inclusion of multi-level nested lists, boxed cautions and warnings, etc.
- Although these guidelines seem like simple common sense, some content creators (authors) still create and shape tech comm content in ways that may work OK in English in traditional page layout, but can fall apart when post-translation text expansion occurs.
- Text dependent layout is another common mistake. You do not want to determine indents or secondary margins on cover pages, etc. to be determined by the word length of a phrase in English. It will shrink dramatically in Chinese and expand significantly in Dutch.
- The majority of documents and projects that started out in Word have single-line page headers. These headers typically include a chapter name at the left, a revision date in the center, and page numbers to the right. Because such text is “tabbed”, there is “nowhere to go” with text expansion. You will often end up with overlapping text. The webinar recording proposes a simple and sensible solution to this and other common mistakes. Post-translation text breaks that can occur in infrequently used “thumb tabs” are also covered.
- Using “keyed” illustrations that have numbered parts, and numbers in a table below the graphic “keyed” to the part description or explanation. Why? This puts the translatable text out of the vector or bitmapped graphic and into the text flow that will automatically be extracted for translation. Without this step, your LSP (Language Service Provider or Translation Agency) will have to expend extra billable hours manually extracting text from text layers in the original *.ai illustration. Worse yet, if the source illustration is lost and only a JPEG or EPS file remains, you LSP staff will have to do additional expensive work to place text over uneditable bitmapped text. The screen captures below shows a before and after example.
Session 1) Using PDF Collaborative Review with FrameMaker for In-Country-Review (ICR)
In this webinar, our guest was Judith Soloduk of ENLASO, who covered the many layers of strategies to achieve effective final review of translation by qualified staff within your target language country. On the surface this sounds much simpler than it is in reality. One of the chief challenges is locating (a) qualifed staff (b) who have the right professional background and (c) who actually have time or bandwidth to accomplish the review in a timely manner.
You may view the recording by clicking here, which includes a lively demonstration of two people using collaborative PDF review simulateously on the same file saved to Acrobat.com. Not only are the two reviewers able to see one another’s comments, when the review cycle is closed, the documents author can import all PDF annotations and comments directly into the source FrameMaker 11 files. The “review” workspace can then be used to locate each comment and/or annotation and either accept or reject it.
Have your own hands-on with FrameMaker 11 and decide how you can use it
Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4 includes FrameMaker 11, which is an excellent authoring solution and also a versatile structured editor for DITA/XML. The possibilities with these new tools are as limitless as the profiles of our existing and potential customers. To discover how you can use FrameMaker, download a trial copy of FrameMaker 11 today. After having your own hands-on, you may decide in favor of the best bargain of all, obtaining a cloud subscription to the entire Tech Comm Suite 4, which includes RoboHelp 10, Captivate 6 and other products in addition to FrameMaker 11.