Part 1: Streamlining localization workflows using Adobe Tech Comm Suite tools, FrameMaker

At recent GALA conference held in MONACO, Adobe released a White Paper, (authored by a team of authors from Globalization Partners International), based on content and research from a series of blogs on this topic. In fact, I authored a couple of the original blogs myself.

When your work involves production at a translation agency, you see just about any way a document could possibly be pulled together, good or bad. Like all agencies, GPI had seen many FrameMaker source files that had less than desirable structure, when a project came in for the first time. Most professional agencies will do their best to help a customer “clean up” content before it goes into translation to avoid multiplying unnecessary steps over multiple languages.

Like many translation professionals (and their customers) GPI discovered that certain features in both FrameMaker and RoboHelp are particularly useful in reducing time and costs from language translation projects. Most of the projects involve speeding up post-translation formatting, or working with some form of single source publishing.

Although you may download the entire PDF version of “Streamlining localization workflows using Adobe technical communication tools,” you may find the summary in this blog useful. Due to the length of material, we are breaking our review into two blogs. Part 1 covers FrameMaker. Part 2 will cover RoboHelp. You may also wish to view our recorded webinar, which touched on many of these topics, “Reduced Cost, Faster GTM – Best Practices in Structured & Unstructured Authoring to Drive Downstream Localization Efficiencies.” Please note that you will be prompted to log-in with you free Adobe account credentials to view this on-demand webinar.

8 Ways Unstructured FrameMaker helps Translation

Managing Styles in Paragraph, Character and Table Catalogs in FrameMaker 10

One of the biggest headaches involved in preparing unstructured files for translation is reconciling paragraph and character styles across documents. Older versions of FrameMaker did not offer very robust tools in this area. FrameMaker 10, however, has beefed up controls over which styles display, determining which styles are in use, deleting unwanted styles, and even creating custom displays of catalogs confined to desired styles.

Managing format overrides with FrameMaker 10

FrameMaker 10 introduced a robust series of search capabilities that enable publishers (client or translation agency) to swiftly locate any paragraph or range of text that does not match the catalog definition. This is particularly useful in FrameMaker projects which involve some sections of text copied and pasted from Microsoft Word, which can contain unwanted fonts. This one feature literally can save 100s of hours in a year if enough languages are involved.

Suppress unwanted alerts on file open

Previous to FrameMaker 10, earlier versions of the product would freeze the screen with a pop-up alert every time there was a missing graphic, missing font or unresolved cross reference. There are times in the translation format correction workflow when a single chapter may be sent to a team member for edits who does not have the entire book file, or all of the graphics and fonts. FrameMaker will “remember” these missing elements when the corrected file returns to its normal location project location. Publishers can now suppress alerts and swiftly open files for edits, and avoid dozens of unnecessary clicks to get through these pop-up alerts.

Real time spell check helpful in translated documents

Older versions of FrameMaker required a deliver “check spelling” action. FrameMaker 10 can display wavy lines under misspelled words, similar to Microsoft Word. In FrameMaker, paragraphs or character styles can have a language associated with them, which will invoke the correct language dictionary. This is one more quality check on top of regular linguistic quality assurance.

Drag n’ Drop editing and automated scripting

Linguistic editing in FrameMaker 10 can now involve selecting a few words or characters and simply dragging them to the correct location. It is not uncommon for hidden data to occasionally cause some unwanted spaces between characters.

ExtendScript capabilities give FrameMaker 10 users the ability to automate repetitious tasks. This is particularly helpful in post-translation text, where duplicate bullets may need removal, or other tedious tasks. Users or translation agencies can create and maintain a library of highly useful scripts.

FrameMaker 10’s background color (highlighter)

This feature works similar to the highlighter pen in Word, with some limitations. Unfortunately, the band of color increases or decreases with changes in point size. It has one especially strong use; showing where conditional text is in use. A vivid palette of background colors can be associated with various conditions that will show/hide text. This feature is much easier to manage with more obvious visual indicators.

Extended rich media support in FrameMaker 10

FrameMaker 10 has further extended the number of rich media file formats supported. Such files can be embedded in FrameMaker, and create dynamic graphics which the customer may interact with in Help or PDF output. Captivate screen simulation videos can take the space of one frame, and in a 7 second video cover information that previously required nearly a dozen static screen captures.

This greatly reduces the graphic assets which must be managed in a project, and also reduces page count in PDF output

Collaborative Review with PDF annotation

FrameMaker 10 can save a PDF file optimized for review. The file can be fully commented or annotated with Free Acrobat Reader. The same file can sequentially receive comments and annos from multiple users. When the review is complete, all of the annotations can be imported “in place” in the original FrameMaker source file.

6 Ways that Structured FrameMaker Helps Translation

FrameMaker 10 extended DITA support to V1.2. Support is so robust that you can open the example files directly from the DITA Open Toolkit. Here are some brief highlights covered in the White Paper:

Enhanced tag view allows collapse/expand of XML elements on document page

Older versions of FrameMaker required opening the structure view to see elements as “tree-like” tags, and expand or collapse them. Now the optional tag display of elements on the document page can be expanded, collapsed, or manipulated through drag n’ drop. This makes the product much easier to use on a small screen.

Manage metadata with FrameMaker’s new attribute editor

The old, modal dialog that appeared when users double clicked on an attribute to change the definition has been replaced with a more dynamic menu that can float and stay open during editing. It makes advanced aspects of structure much more accessible to novice users.

Filter by attribute

The traditional conditional text control model was not well suited for structured editing. In a binary, structured FrameMaker document, it was possible to apply conditions in ways that could cause broken structure when show/hide commands were used. Now certain attribute values can be identified as the catalyst for sections of the document to show or hide. This follows XML and DITA protocol and produces much cleaner results.

Developing attribute values with FrameMaker 10

A new Config File Maker wizard in FrameMaker 10 allows users to quickly define attribute values while viewing the document. It is much less complicated than the EDD editing steps previously required.

Enhanced content management support in FrameMaker 10

FrameMaker 10 works on a topic or concept level with any CMS system that is WebDav compatible. Documentum, Sharepoint and Alfresco are 3 of the solutions that work “out-of-the-box.” This functionality is available at no extra charge.

Various DITA usability enhancements in FrameMaker 10

  1. Switch between Resource Manager (RM) or Document view in a dita map
  2. Drag and drop across dita maps
  3. Insert multiple topicref elements in dita maps

The list of enhancements goes far beyond what is listed here, and the GPI authored White Paper will give you more detail. Watch for part two of this blog series which will cover ways that RoboHelp benefits the translation/localization process.