Writing for Translation?

Subject: Writing for Translation?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
Date: Thu, 06 Aug 2009 09:11:20 -0400

Nancy Allison wondered about writing for translation: <<1. I once knew
of a PDF prepared by, I dunno, a translation company maybe, that was
all about how to write with translation in mind. It was book-length
and was highly recommended (at an STC meeting, Boston chapter, a few
years ago). Does anyone know of it, and, if so, can you send me a link
to it, assuming it is still available?>>

Probably one of the books published by the Localization Industry
Standards Association (http://www.lisa.org/Industry-Data.512.0.html)?

<<2. Specific, immediate concern: Callouts in figures. My client still
has callouts (in Framemaker text boxes, if it matters) in the figure
itself. What is the preferred format of callouts for translation? Put
only numbers and arrows in the figure, and then have the key separate,
in the main body text? Or have the key in a separate text frame, but
within the anchored frame (that would be for Framemaker)?>>

This is generally a question you should ask your translation vendor,
since I'm sure that practices vary and your real goal is to work
efficiently with whoever does your translation. Anything that makes
the text easy to extract and run through machine-assisted translation
will make the translator's work easier (thus, less expensive); text is
difficult or impossible to extract from graphics (this is definitely
true for bitmaps, but I'm way out of date on this issue, so don't take
that as authoritative for vector art). A good translator will work
with you to find efficient ways to localize everything (e.g., your
software interface), not just your graphics.

Geoff Hart (www.geoff-hart.com)
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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Writing for Translation: From: Nancy Allison

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