The new FrameMaker release is here! Well, same procedure as every year, one might think. Bug fixes, improvements, fancy features. In this case, not quite. Adobe sees way further than the end of their nose. FrameMaker 2020 offers a variety of useful features, yes. But the new built-in motorway from content creation city to translation town is revolutionary. It has been long awaited : The integration of standardized translation formats and rulesets such as XLIFF 1.2, ITS 2.0 or SRX 2.0. Writers of content can from now on control how the exported data should be tagged and segmented for translation. These standards are now supported for FM books and documents, DITA and any custom XML.
The XLIFF, ITS and SRX standards provide a range of advantages as they are non-proprietary formats - independent and irrespective of the specific tools in use. They are interchangeable between different software applications. Translation processes involve a variety of different tools. Already within one company,even more so within a network of several language service providers. The XLIFF exchange format facilitates workflows between all parties involved. The ITS and SRX standards support this approach. They aim at making tool configuration more flexible along the translation process, i.e. tagging and segmentation of translatable XML content.
Traditionally, translation has been in the hands of translators. They know their stuff. Not only do they master source and target language but also the CAT. Computer Aided Translation is the name of the game. Numerous vendors on the market provide software tools to facilitate translation work. Freedom of configuration allows a great flexibility but also asks for a range of thoughtful settings. Here come's the communication and coordination effort...
What happened so far? Content providers created their content in their desired editor, created an export file and sent it to their language service provider (LSP). Anything regarding the processing of the exported data in the CAT tool was in the hands of the translation agency. Questions of how to treat punctuation signs, how to split the source text into translation segments or how to include context information for the translator had to be clarified in close exchange between content provider and the LSP.
The precise and extended designation of XLIFF is "XML Localization Interchange File Format". This already explains a lot. We are dealing with a standardized XML file format which has been introduced to standardize the exchange of data between different tools in the localization process. It allows to structure the translatable data and to add contextual metadata to guarantee context-sensitive translation.
XLIFF is powerful. Yet, it has some little helpers. One of them is the Internationalization Tag Set (ITS). It provides a standardized range of tags which can be used within XML files to identify the actual content to be translated in contrast to notes for the translator for instance.
Another well-known standard is the Segmentation Rules eXchange (SRX). It allows to describe and define rules when and how the translatable XML file should be split up into separate segments by the CAT tool of the LSP.
All these standardized rules and formats, initially defined with some effort, avoid further communication needs about configuration and rulesets between content provider and LSP. The bigger the network of language service providers involved, the greater the benefit of XLIFF as a universal exchange format - including the required processing settings.
By opening the door for translation processes, Adobe lifts the cover of the traditional black box. The integration of XLIFF and supportive localization standards bring light into the dark. Pre-translation processes such as tagging and segmentation of the XML export file can from now on be carried out and controlled by the content owner. To avoid any misunderstanding: Competencies have not shifted from translator to content creator! The need for communication and coordination of XML file processing between both parties stays. But now, content owners also own their desired configuration as well as preferred settings for the CAT tools of their LSP. This reduces costs and time and makes translation workflows with different service providers much more flexible and reliable! The content AND the process design stay in the hands of the content provider. Furthermore, each LSP - including their tool - can quickly be integrated or exchanged by another LSP in a company's translation process. With minimal effort on top. The risks and reasons of communication gaps are reduced enormously, if not completely avoided. Hence, the language service providers can focus on their actual job of translating content. That's their core competency. No more management of content or its delivery and transformation processes.
The XLIFF integration in the new FrameMaker release 2020 hence offers a range of benefits:
Recognized standard in the localization industry
Translation is no longer a "black box" for content providers
Configuration information for the CAT tools can be defined in-house
More flexible and reliable in collaboration with different LSP and their various tools
Less effort, regarding both time and money
We agree! XLIFF is a powerful standard that has not only been discovered by Adobe. Many vendors and software suppliers in the tech comm and localization world recognized the value of a standardized exchange format and have implemented XLIFF compatible processes in their products accordingly. We at c-rex.net GmbH also joined in and made our data transformation and information delivery tools XLIFF compatibile. Besides Adobe FrameMaker format (MIF), we support XLIFF integration for Adobe InDesign (IDML), Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx) or QuickSilver/Interleaf formats, as well as for DITA and any custom XML. Machine translation with XLIFF is also on offer.
Have a closer look at the XLIFF integration in FM2020.
Have a look at the pre-segmentation feature in FM2020 .
Have a read into a comprehensive introduction into the role of XLIFF. in the localization industry and its integration into FM2020.
We might have left you with a few open questions:
What does the XLIFF configuration look like?
Where do I start in FrameMaker?
Does all of the above work for both structured and unstructured files?
Answers to these and other questions are going to be given on our c-rex.net blog in the near future!
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