Localizing Documentation?

Subject: Localizing Documentation?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Khizran Kaleem <khizran -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 08:34:07 -0400

Khizran Kaleem wondered: <<I am currently working on user manuals
using FrameMaker 7.2. Now the company wants to sign a contract with a
firm who would help us localize the contents. I have absolutely no
idea in what format should I send my docs to them.>>

If the contract isn't already signed, one of the criteria used to
choose who will be given the contract is the ability to work with
FrameMaker files. Most big localization firms should be capable of
doing this, so it shouldn't be very difficult to find one that can
work in Frame. If the contract is already signed, then your first
stop should be the contractor: ask _them_, not us, how you should
provide the files. Nobody knows better than they do how their
software works and how to use it most efficiently.

<<I understand that if I export it to some other format, I would have
to put in quite an effort to import and do the formatting for the
contents all over again in FrameMaker.>>

That's precisely why your contractor should be someone capable of
working in Frame. A lower per-word cost for the translation may lead
to a much higher _total_ cost after you include all the time required
for reimporting and reformatting. Always look at the total cost, not
the per-word cost, when working with a contractor.

Of course, if the translator can "round trip" the files (i.e., return
them to you in a format that Frame can reimport with nearly no loss
of information), that's also acceptable. But round-tripping is rarely
flawless, and it's best avoided if you have a choice. Unfortunately,
I don't use Frame so I can't tell you what formats are best for this
purpose. Fortunately, some of the best Frame users in the world
populate this list, and one of them should be able to provide
specific details.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
Coming soon: _Effective onscreen editing_ (http://www.geoff-hart.com/


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Localizing Documentation: From: Khizran Kaleem

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