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Multilingual Desktop Publishing

FrameMaker document translation and multilingual desktop publishing

TDN publishing specialists can create, refine or optimize your workflow with regular FrameMaker for traditional publications, or with structured FrameMaker for document translation projects which require DITA and XML. FrameMaker templates for structured or unstructured publishing can be crafted by TDN desktop publishing specialists to optimize and even automate complex, post-translation formatting. TDN specialists ensure that common "trouble spots" in templates, which can cause problems when language expansion occurs in document translation, are eliminated to reduce document translation time and costs.

TDN's document translation services include excellent publishing, consulting and training with this powerful product. We can analyze your documents for template optimization or for a recommended "scrub" to remove unwanted document elements which may inhibit the post document translation

Best practices to optimize your FrameMaker documents for translation

  • There are many best practices to optimize your FrameMaker documents for document translation. Here are some of the top techniques to take advantage of:
  • Turn of change bars and remove this definition from paragraph and character tags (incompatible with most commonly used translation software)
  • Do no use text lines for annotations and captions within illustrations and anchored frames. Such text will be invisible to translation software tools. Use text frames instead.
  • Avoid master page headers that have a single line of text with a left, center and right tab to separate the text. There is no room for text expansion in this type of design.
  • Avoid side heads if target languages include German, Dutch and other languages prone to text expansion. Never use ALL CAPS headings in a side head style.
  • Avoid ALL CAPS text in table header cells
  • Use named table styles (avoid excessive format overrides) so that it is possible to globally update cell margins throughout the document or book

Benefits of Structured FrameMaker to document translation

Structured FrameMaker is now more accessible than ever, with an improved user interface and wizards that visually guide the user through several "sysadmin" tasks involved in setting up a structured application. XML and DITA publishing with structured FrameMaker allows for more automated post document translation formatting via format rules in the EDD (Element Definition Document) and via newly supported processing instructions.

XML documents may be published two different ways in structured FrameMaker: (a) documents and chapters may be saved in binary *.fm format or (b) documents may be saved in FrameMaker books in native DITA or XML format. In the first model, it is possible to make some touch-up format overrides that will be lost when documents are saved to XML. In the second model, saving FrameMaker documents in native XML, any format overrides not invoked via attributes in the structure rules will disappear when files are saved and reopened.

In either publishing model (binary FM files or native XML format), processing instructions and attributes can be invoked in your custom structured FrameMaker application to apply certain transformations via styles sheets and EDD rules whenever XML files are opened or closed. For instance, a language attribute can trigger a changed font for all paragraphs in Asian languages, or modify a hanging indent for "Cautions" or "Warnings" to accommodate for post document translation text expansion.

Using these powerful tools, TDN staff have been able to create economic custom applications files in structured FrameMaker that automate up to 75% of the formatting that typically requires some adjustment after document translation. Return-on-investment (ROI) is easy to calculate, due to reduced post document translation publishing times, which are multiplied by the number of target languages.

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