Re: DITA useful for translation?

Subject: Re: DITA useful for translation?
From: beelia <beelia -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2011 11:27:51 -0700

Bill is right. I'd just add that you need to consider the size of your
company and its projects. DITA is a huge investment that would not pay off
for a small operation.

As a very experienced ex-Flare user, I would say it is perfect for a
one-person localization operation. If you add their Lingo product to manage
your translations, that will greatly increase your productivity without
going to full-blown DITA. Check it out on Madcap's site.

What makes DITA important for a large scale operation is that the structure
is so tightly defined that translators can whip through the text quickly for
multiple authors and publication types, translating repeated phrases only
once. Whenever you localize you save time if you use the same patterns for
every single step of your procedures, and that is necessary whatever tool
you use.

Flare can take in a DITA project and output it, making it a good management
tool for existing projects, and you can also use DITA features by specifying
topic types and building relationship tables - but it has a way to go before
it will a native authoring DITA tool. Still, it is XML-based, so they will
probably get there eventually.

If I were in your position I'd go with Flare and Lingo.

Bee

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 7:28 AM, Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>wrote:

> I think you might be trying to throw technology at a perceived problem.
>
> How extensive is the documentation set (actual or envisioned)? How
> much reuse is planned per deliverable? How many different types of
> deliverables? How many target languages (you mention "possibly
> Japanese")?
>
> If you don't have a lot of content and you don't have a lot of reuse
> potential and you don't think you'll be translating into anything more
> than one possible other language, then DITA is overkill.
>
> Use a tool that fits your needs best, write well, write consistently.
> If you'd like help with a strategy, let me know. It's what I do.
>
> Bill
>
> On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 5:27 AM, Chris Gooch <chris -dot- gooch -at- rocketmail -dot- com>
> wrote:
> >
> > I'm currently working for a start up software company to produce some
> docs (they don't have a great deal at the moment). I was intending to use
> either Help&Manual or Flare, and after looking at both I was about to
> recommend that HM would probably be fine for them as they don't need
> anything too complicated right now.
> >
> > However the project manager, who has just started, and who previously
> worked at some very large software companies, asked about DITA (which Flare
> claims to support, HM doesn't directly - found a discussion on their support
> forum where they said their own XML format is based on DITA but with
> additions so they don't see a need to support it directly).
> >
> > My project manager has heard that DITA can help with translation (we will
> probably need to get the docs translated at least into Japanese at some
> point). I'm not entirely sure why this might be - surely translation memory
> tools capable of working with XML DITA can also work fine with any other
> suitable/similar XML schema? The translator isn't interested in the XML
> tags, just the content within...
> >
> > Am I missing something? Anyone with DITA experience care to comment?
> >
> > We need to decide whether to go with HM or Flare (or something else for
> that matter) quite quickly. Whilst I'm not against using standards etc. if
> they will help, we need to get on, and so I want to find out if this DITA
> issue is a red herring or not. And, I guess, if it isn't, what sort of
> overhead is it going to impose?
>
> --
> Bill Swallow
>
> Twitter: @techcommdood
> Blog: http://techcommdood.com
> LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/techcommdood
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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Follow-Ups:

References:
DITA useful for translation?: From: Chris Gooch
Re: DITA useful for translation?: From: Bill Swallow

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