Re: global numbers / letters -- best practice

Subject: Re: global numbers / letters -- best practice
From: Janice Gelb <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2007 13:48:48 +1100

D. Michael McIntyre wrote:

On Tuesday 06 February 2007 12:32 pm, Jerry Pope wrote:
What is the best practice regarding globalization/translation issues in
annotating illustrations?

This is a good question! I can tell you that the concern here is real. I've seen this from both the author's and the translator's perspective. My translator told me not to worry about it, but the German translation of my book shipped with all of the illustrations in English anyway, which looks really stupid.

To accomplish that, one solution is to embed a collection of numbers (1,
2, 3, etc) in the artwork and then create a legend in the authoring tool

I believe there's also some way to have the
callouts in a separate file that can be
individually translated but I think this
depends on your authoring tool and presentation

If I use numbers (or letters from the English language alphabet), would
they be nearly universally understood?

Numerals would be the most universal choice, and letters far less so, but not entirely universal. I think my first choice would be to use symbols instead, such as something one might find in a font like Wingdings. Little square for 1, little triangle for 2, etc. This sort of thing seems to be pretty common on instruction sheets that are printed in multiple languages.

As long as whatever is next to the item in the
illustration matches whatever is in the legend,
I'm not sure why symbols would be any better
than numbers, especially if numbers would be
useful to some readers who are familiar with them.

Here's what READ ME FIRST ("the Sun style guide")
has to say about illustrations and internationalization:

When you create callouts in documentation that will be
localized, follow these guidelines:

* Keep callouts short.

Leave ample space, both vertically and horizontally, for
callout text in illustrations. Translated text might require
as much as 25 percent more space than English text.

* Make certain that the callouts correlate with the paragraph text.

Use callouts instead of text if the concept can best be understood
graphically and needs little explanation.

* Format callouts so that you can edit them separately from
the illustration.

-- Janice

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com | this message is the return address

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global numbers / letters -- best practice: From: Jerry Pope
Re: global numbers / letters -- best practice: From: D. Michael McIntyre

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