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If your documentation will be translated, FrameMaker is far preferable to
PageMaker. Here are 6 reasons why:
1. Better for English manuals
FrameMaker is designed from the ground up to write and maintain the kind of
manual you described. PageMaker, on the other hand, is intended as a
mid-level desktop publishing application and is much for suitable to the
production of brochures and short pieces.
2. Better translation memory support
Trados, the industry-standard translation-memory tool, provides filters to
both PageMaker and FrameMaker. The difference is that the FrameMaker filter
works while the PageMaker one doesn't.
Why is that important? You will want to be sure to work with a translation
vendor that will maintain a translation memory on your behalf. This will
reduce the time required for future updates, improve consistency across
translated documents, and provide you with (potentially significant) cost
savings on your translation work.
3. Better translator familiarity
You will find more translators and translation companies that are expert
users of FrameMaker than of PageMaker. Sure, everybody will claim to know
PageMaker but once you kick the tires, you'll notice that many translators
do not know much about desktop publishing.
4. Built-in support for double-byte languages
Recent editions of FrameMaker come with support for Japanese, Chinese, and
Korean built in. If you want to produce PageMaker documents in these three
languages, you (or your translators) need to purchase three different
versions of PageMaker.
Per-page production times in FrameMaker are about 1/2 of those in
PageMaker. This results in significant time savings.
And, of course, time is money. Most translation vendors charge for
formatting work on an hourly basis. If it takes fewer hours to complete, it
will cost less money.
Check out the following resources:
* Scriptorium (www.scriptorium.com) maintains a section of "resources for
writers" that you should check out; download the white paper "The
Translation-Friendly Template" from www.scriptorium/localize.pdf (even
though it's written with FrameMaker in mind, many of the same issues apply)
* Steve Schwedland with Noonetime published a great paper called "Asian
Publishing in FrameMaker 5.5.6" that deals with many fundamental layout
issues and addresses the use of Trados Workbench and S-Tagger; email him at
mailto:steve -at- noonetime -dot- com
* the "resources" section of ForeignExchange Translations' web site,
www.fxtrans.com, contains a number of white papers
Andres Heuberger <andresh -at- fxtrans -dot- com>
ForeignExchange Translations, Inc.
Tel. 401.454.0787 http://www.fxtrans.com
From print to web in 32 languages.