Doc-To-Help’s default language is English, but it can produce documentation in virtually any language. It provides tools to make the localization process easy and is able to compile outputs in any Windows supported character set. This article will describe best practices for setting up projects for localization.
If you are translating an existing project, read this section for best way to set up your projects. If you are writing in a language other than English from the start, you can skip this section.
While you can produce multiple languages from one project, it is recommended to use a separate project for each language you wish to produce. It is very easy to share project settings between projects, so using a project for each language is best. In this case, you will have a project in your source language and one for each target language to which you would like to translate. You can more easily maintain elements such as localized indices, variables, and glossaries. Also, you can give the entire project to a translator.
Before you begin you translation, or before you begin writing in a non-English language, follow this advice to optimize your project.
The very first thing you should do is set the default language. This will ensure that Doc-To-Help uses the correct character sets when generating output.
You should set the default language when creating a new project, in the New Project Wizard. The New Project Wizard opens automatically when creating a new project. The default language setting appears in the third screen.
This will set the default language for all targets. If you do not set the default language here, you will need to set the language in each individual target you wish to produce.
In advanced cases, you may actually want to set language properties for each target. Access individual target settings by clicking on the dialog box launcher (arrow pointing down and right) in the Target group on the Home ribbon tab.
The Help targets dialog gives you more control by letting you set Locale, CodePage, and Charset properties for each target, but in most cases, setting the default in the New Project Wizard is sufficient.
Since Doc-To-Help allows to choose your authoring tool, the process for setting language differs.
- If you are using Microsoft Word:
Open the Word Options dialog to make sure you have the appropriate language packs installed and activated.
- If you are using Doc-To-Help’s Editor:
Open the Doc-To-Help options dialog, select the Spelling tab, and select the desired language.
- If you are using Adobe Dreamweaver:
Open the preferences menu and select the desired language.
You are ready to write and produce content in your target language. The next thing to do is localize your targets’ interfaces. Each target contains strings (some more that others) that appear on title pages, glossary, navigation, and more.
To localize targets, open the Help Targets dialog by clicking on the dialog box launcher (arrow pointing down and right) in the Target group on the Home ribbon tab.
Select the desired target and localize strings, buttons, and labels using the fields provided.
- If you already have projects with localized targets, you can easily import those targets. See “Reusing Doc-To-Help Targets” for instructions.
- You can further adjust the look of outputs by editing their themes and/or templates. These items are the interface to your outputs. If you are producing a HTML/XTHML based output (NetHelp, HTML Help, JavaHelp, Help 2.0, Help Viewer), you will need to localize the theme. If you are producing a document-based output (Word, PDF, WinHelp), you will need to localize the target template.
If you follow the advice above, you should have no problem producing deliverables in any language. Translation can be a very complex process, so I will leave you with two things:
- If you have questions about this information, feel free to comment on this blog. More advanced situations will require more advanced advice.
- Doc-To-Help integrates with Microsoft SharePoint to help manage translations. Read “Managing Translation with Microsoft SharePoint and Doc-To-Help” to learn about it.