Re: How do you handle revisions for translation?

Subject: Re: How do you handle revisions for translation?
From: Sandy Harris <sharris -at- dkl -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 10:15:13 -0500

Sharon Burton-Hardin wrote:

> When I needed to do this - and I tell my writers to do this now - Keep an
> Excel spreadsheet or a table that has 3 columns marked Page, Was, Is or
> something like that. Then when they make a change, they mark in the table
> the page of the change, paste the text before the change and paste the new
> text.

In some cases, you can get that info with zero effort by writers:

If your files are in some text plus tags format -- HTML, XML, SGML, TeX,
nroff, Ventura, ... -- then the standard Unix 'diff' utility will take
two files and print the differences and line numbers where they occur.

< marks old stuff, > new, so output looks like:

< this is the line from the 1st file
> this is the line that replaced it in the second file

If you are on Windows, get diff and other handy utilities free from:

If you're on Unix, you have it already. I don't know what Mac users can
do, short of grabbing source and compiling it themselves or installing
Yellow Dog Linux :-)

Of course, diff won't work if you're using something that stores files in
non-text formats, unless you force text format output. I've tried it on
Frame's MIF files; results were ugly but usable. My guess is it would be
pretty awful applied to Word's HTML or RTF output.

diff's been around for over 20 years now, so of course there are some
allegedly improved variants. There's a 3diff that works on three files
and a diff for binary files, and something that prints a few lines of
context around each change and ... I've not tried these.

Also, you might want to track changes via a version control system. e.g.
with CVS (, every time you put
a new version of a file into the repository, you get to add a comment
saying what changes you've made and why. Readers get the latest version
by default, but can also retrieve earlier versions and a log of those
change comments if required.

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