FrameMaker 12: Towards Successful Localization with XML & Other Strategies

This guest blog was written by Diana Ballard and Carlotta Bulgarelli of Logos Group Translation.

FrameMaker 12 offers an elegant adoption of DITA-XML with the potential for major localization efficiencies. In early September, we opened the translation ‘black-box’ and heard from LOGOS, Multilingual Language Service Solutions Company (

Carlotta Bulgarelli and Diana Ballard from LOGOS gave detailed localization best practices for unstructured and structured content, together with some powerful drivers for migration to DITA-XML in Towards Successful Localization via FrameMaker with XML & other Strategies [Click on the title to launch the webinar recording.]

Localization best practices whatever the format: This blog summarizes the session with minute markers so that you can fast forward to key concepts.

[05:20] Carlotta looks at some emerging trends in formats destined for translation from binary to tagged formats and their relative ease of localization.

Localization Workflow 101

[08:09] Diana runs through the standard translation process. Behind the scenes, any localization partner will have to carry preparatory and finalization activities no matter the format.

Two compelling Case Studies

[11:11] Carlotta talks through the first of two compelling case studies showing the impact of source content and format on localization.


The first case study shows the localization of a software manual in FrameMaker 7.2 across 18 languages. Format override issues increased engineering and desktop publishing across all languages. Translation of the Software (User Interface) was provided to LOGOS after the translation of the user manual had started, making re-work and cross-consistency checks between UI and manual laborious and time-consuming. This ‘worst-case’ scenario resulted in high engineering and desktop publishing activities across all languages, representing 17% of the total project cost, delivered within a 2-month timeframe.

[16:52] Maxwell provides useful link ‘Upgrade to FM12 Reason #6) Full DITA Compliance, Accessible Structured Editing’ [How FM7 differs from FM12] –

[17:53] Carlotta talks through a second ‘best-in-class’ case study, another Software Manual in DITA-XML deploying FrameMaker 12.0, reporting huge localization efficiency gains.


Software strings were managed easily using the <UI control> element in the source language. The approved translation of UI strings was populated in the XML BEFORE translation of the manual started, so creating the best opportunity to manage cross-references between UI and manual. Last minute changes in UI strings and verification routines were also much easier to perform.

Layout and publication were achieved elegantly. Desktop publishing was eliminated and engineering hours for validation checks accounted for only 144 hours across 18 languages (only 2% of the project total, compared to 17% in the first case).

Higher word and page counts for this second manual (72,788 words and 516 pages) were delivered with huge efficiencies. The timeframe for the entire project was reduced by 50% compared to the first case study. Delivery was achieved in 1 month.

[21:49] Maxwell mentions regular FrameMaker 8 and later versions provide full Unicode support.

Localization Best Practices Step-by-Step

[22:14] Content Creation – Diana first takes a look at content optimization strategies. Intelligent content is not limited to one purpose, technology or output. It is content that is structurally rich and semantically aware, and is therefore discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable. Optimal source content means explicit, clear and consistent content that goes through the localization process more easily and is likely to yield higher re-use and lower costs. Governance such as style guides and terminology management assist the global supply chain to follow common rules of engagement. Training often helps to bring the global supply chain and focus on unique features and concepts whilst also creating a collaborative community effort, vital for success.

[31:15] Diana mentions some reading material and references for global content strategies.

[31:29] Content Exchange: Carlotta next examines strategies for exchanging content and monitoring the status of content flow on both sides. Thanks to metadata header instructions, XML files may be fully automated through the translation workflow. Change management is critical. XML files and smaller topics are easier and faster to re-process against a Translation Memory (store of previous translations). Binary files may take longer to re-process or depend on a file comparison technique.

[37:15] Analysis and Preparation for Translation. Carlotta steps through the process whereby content is filtered to separate or ‘parse’ translatable from non-translatable content.

Read more about XML

[45:33] Translation: Diana sets out the basic pre-requisites for excellence in translation.

[47:14] Translation & Review Workbench: Diana and Carlotta show a translation workbench in action.

[48:58] Quality Assurance Review: Carlotta runs through best practices for quality assurance.

[49:36] Finalization: Carlotta takes us through the critical path of finalization. Automation of publishing/layout, avoidance of crafting content/layout, and adoption of templates/style sheets, migration to a single source/multi-channel publishing software and content management systems, etc. are all high priorities to gain efficiencies.

Business Drivers Migration to Open Standards

[51:36] Open Standards for Content Exchange: Carlotta runs through standards promoting interoperability

[53:09] DITA Usage by Industry Sector: Diana takes us through migration to DITA by industry.

[53:48] Business Drivers Migration to DITA-XML: Diana provides the potential gains to be won by migration to DITA.


[55:02] Product Localization Flow: Diana steps through an agile workflow.


[56:18] Summary: Diana takes us through the reasons and methods for optimizing the localization workflow.

Maxwell closes the session with some great resources and news items.

About our Guest Bloggers:

Carlotta Bulgarelli, Manager, Technology Integration Solutions & Support Group, Logos. Carlotta has been a localization professional since 1998 and has witnessed how technology and the Internet have transformed the way translation is undertaken. Carlotta has been part of a pioneering team at Logos deploying, developing and integrating CAT tools in diverse client environments as modern localization techniques mature.

Diana Ballard, Business Development Manager, Logos. Diana offers 20 years’ experience in localization. As senior business development and account manager at Logos and Publications Manager in a Japanese Manufacturing environment, Diana has seen localization from customer and supplier perspectives.