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Welcome to another Localization Roundup. This week we’re sharing a brief overview of website localization, introducing localization of DITA XML—an important technology used for enterprise content management—and introducing XLIFF—a file format for handling localized strings.

Building Your Website to Meet a Global Audience

This article is a basic overview of localization. It brings a up a few important points. One is that you should avoid colloquial language. When using slang or clichés, always consider whether a translator with a different cultural background will be able to clearly understand the expression in order to translate it accurately.

It also points out that care must be taken with forms on your website. Don’t just use your local forms for every version of your website. Remember that in other countries, address formats, the orders of names, date formats, units of measure, and more may be different from how they are in your home country.

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Localization and the DITA Open Toolkit

This article is a technical treatment of the topic of localization of DITA, best for those who are already familiar with DITA.

If you are not familiar with DITA, here’s a bare bones introduction—more like oversimplification. Imagine if you have documentation for your product, and you also have elearning materials for the product. Now imagine that you could probably save yourself a lot of time by copying sections from your documentation and pasting them into your elearning materials rather than writing the elearning materials from scratch.

But what happens if you update the documentation? Will you then have to go find the copied section in your elearning materials and then update that too, taking care not to introduce errors? What if you can use a system that will pull over sections as modules from your documentation to your elearning materials so that an update to the documentation will automatically propagate to the elearning materials?

Or what if you have two products that are quite similar to each other? Their documentation will also be similar. Will you then have to maintain the two sets of documentation separately?

DITA allows you to use reuse modules of text for various types of content and various products. Obviously, this approach can save companies a fortune in work hours as well as improve the quality and consistency of content.

Learn More

So you just read a very brief overview of DITA XML. If you want to learn more about DITA, read our 3,614 word simple introduction to DITA: What Is DITA XML?

Not only does DITA XML help companies save money when writing and updating content, when it comes time to localize the content, the fact that much of the content is reused from publication to publication and from product to product, means that companies can save a fortune in translation costs.

So when it comes to enterprise content creation and translation, having a strategy and using the latest technology can truly save incredible sums.

Here’s an article from Scriptorium on localization of DITA content.

Should you use XLIFF for software localization?

XLIFF stands for XML Localization Interchange File Format. It’s the standard file format for passing localized text between translation tools.

This article gives a nice overview of the format complete with examples, and it gives a list of different development environments together with information on their support of the format.

Check out this article for an introduction to XLIFF as well as some pointers on when it might or might not be appropriate for your use depending on your workflow.

That’s our roundup for this week. Leave a comment below to share any great localization or translation articles you have read lately.

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