Re: PageMaker vs FrameMaker Comparison

Subject: Re: PageMaker vs FrameMaker Comparison
From: Andres Heuberger <andresh -at- fxtrans -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2000 21:15:48 -0400


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.

5. Faster
Per-page production times in FrameMaker are about 1/2 of those in PageMaker. This results in significant time savings.

6. Cheaper
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 ( 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,, contains a number of white papers

Best regards,
Andres Heuberger <andresh -at- fxtrans -dot- com>
ForeignExchange Translations, Inc.
Tel. 401.454.0787
From print to web in 32 languages.

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