Use single source for multiple output formats. [Required]

When a single set of source materials is used to generate multiple output formats it is only necessary to write and translate the material once. If there are different source materials for each output format then extra effort is needed to write, maintain, and translate the content.

Create a documentation translation kit. [Required]

The Documentation Localization Kit should contain all the files needed to translate, build, and test the documentation. It serves as the hand-off between the technical publications team and the localization team. The documentation translation kit should be created as part of a base English product build and the same process should be used for building source English documentation and localized documentation. The documentation localization kit should be separate and independent from the software translation kit because the software and documentation might not be translated at the same time.

After the documentation has been translated be careful about making global changes which will negatively affect leveraging from translation memories. [Required]

When localization vendors translate the documentation they will create a "translation memory" of source English sentences and the corresponding translated sentences. For subsequent versions only new and modified English sentences need to be translated and translations for sentences that have not changed can be leveraged from the translation memory. Widespread changes to the source English sentences could reduce the ability to leverage previous translations which would increase the localization cost.

Manage terminology to improve consistency during authoring, editing, and translation. [Best practice]

The documentation team should create a glossary of key English terms for each product and vertical industry. The glossary will help maintain consistency across writers and products. Each term in the glossary should be clearly defined and should be used in a consistent way. Terms can be acquired from Bentley products, related software products, industry glossaries, and standards. The terminology can be managed with an internal tool (spreadsheet, database) or a commercial terminology management tool.

Create writing guidelines to reduce ambiguity, increase consistency, and simplify translation. [Best practice]

Use international examples. [Best practice]

Documentation typically includes examples to explain product functionality. Translators will perform a literal translation of the examples. Documentation should use international examples to appeal to global audience. Be careful of incorrect assumptions about the following based on the English (U.S.) locale:

Select multilingual tools for authoring, editing, and publishing. [Best practice]

Documentation tools should support all the required languages, writing systems, character sets, and fonts. It is best to use standard, non-proprietary documentation formats. When selecting documentation tools some language-specific features to consider include spell checking, grammar checking, case conversion, hyphenation, line wrapping, justification, searching, sorting, and indexing.

Maintain information structure separate from presentation style. [Best practice]

Markup languages like SGML and XML can be used to describe information structure separately from presentation style. This makes it easier to use the content for many purposes (user manual, technical support, training, marketing) and present it in many output formats (online help, PDF, printed book). It also significantly reduces the effort required for desktop publishing of localized materials.

Create modular documentation to maximize reuse and simplify translation. [Best practice]

Modular documentation allows chunks of information to be reused in multiple manuals and across products. It simplifies translation for product updates because the translation only needs to be updated for modules which have changed since the previous version. A modular design makes it possible to only translate a subset of the documentation in order to reduce cost. It is often useful to prepare a concise "Quickstart Guide" which can be inexpensively localized when full localization cannot be justified.

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