Re: labeling drawings

Subject: Re: labeling drawings
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 14:50:34 -0600

Miki writes:

[I]f there's any chance your document might be translated, or the
names of components might be changed, it's better to label the parts with
numbers or letters, and put the descriptions in the text. True, this isn't
always the best way and isn't appropriate for all drawings, but it works for
a lot of them. I tend to use this as the default, unless there's a
compelling reason to put the callouts inside.

This choice may depend on the layout tool you're using. In any case, the
text for the callouts should be added in the layout tool rather than
embedded in the graphic. Some tools don't allow you to draw free floating
text frames, so using a legend, as Miki describes, is the best method. (It's
also better if you're localizing a document that will be converted to HTML
as well.) However, tools like FrameMaker or PageMaker allow you to add text
frames that can be adjusted to accommodate text expansion. As long as the
callouts are designed and placed with expansion in mind (and as long as you
can actually edit them), you're doing fine on the localization front.

The problem is with having the text embedded into an uneditable file. If you
create an illustration with callouts in CorelDraw, then export to EPS, you
have to translate two sources, export a new graphic file, and maintain
localized versions of the graphic. If the callout text changes in the
graphic, it could require changes in the document, and these could cause a
ripple effect if the localization process has already begun.

I'm sure others could add or expand on what both Miki and I have written.
(You out there, Sarah Carroll?)

Bill Burns
Senior Technical Writer/Technology Consultant
ILE Communications
billdb -at- ile -dot- com

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