MadCap Flare translation

Structured content is more than a fad; it’s a deep-seated trend. The internet and its by-products, namely personalization, globalization, shorter product lifetimes and concentration span – all shout for easier access to information for the user and more efficient authoring for the publisher.

The high end of the structured content market is covered by industry standards such as DITA or S1000D, which require significant effort in designing the data model, building the processes and investing in technology for content authoring, managing, and publishing. Among the several integrated solutions, Madcap Flare is certainly the fastest growing option, in particular for online help. It addresses publishers with a team of one to a handful of technical writers and can generate several hundreds of pages. Based in Belgium and reseller of the software, André Vanderschueren sums up the virtues of MadCap Flare: “Its developers follow the web standard evolutions and frequently upgrade the software; plus users can output amazing formatting and layouts without advanced programming skills. All this comes at a very reasonable price.

Handing over MadCap Flare projects to your translation provider

You have switched to MadCap Flare, and you’re wondering how your usual Language Services Provider (LSP) is going to cope with the new format. You can go two ways: either give them the project and the raw content files or hand over the output files in PDF or HTML 5 format. The first solution brings many benefits that MadCap lists in a post: maintain search, index and glossary functionalities, preserve single sourcing and facilitate file maintenance. It does require MadCap literacy on behalf of the linguistic provider.  Option two is less risky but generates high costs and potential human errors, as well as defeats structured content benefits. Going for option one is the soundest in the long run, once you have assessed your LSP’s skills. You can ask them for instance which process they will use and match it against these best practices:

1.       Identify the files with translatable content

2.       Filter the files requiring translation,

3.       Extract the relevant content and its context,

4.       Protect the content structure to get it translated using advanced Translation Memory features,

5.       Reintegrate into a target language project the translated content files

6.       Re-compile the target package with the required language properties.

WhP specializes in translating structured content and has been processing projects authored in MadCap Flare for many years. Among them are Schneider’s, whom we work for via Assystem. Jean-Claude Ducerf, their Localization and Translation Coordinator, talks about his experience: “WhP managed Schneider’s MadCap Flare projects from start to finish. They took over the customer’s source files, converted them to their TMS format and back, then sent the translated MadCap project to Schneider, ready to publish. The whole process took place without Schneider’s or our intervention“.

WhP’s CTO, Graham Moller, concludes: “WhP’s DNA has grown around structured content localization, from working with SDML|SGML in the 90s to today’s more modern iterations. As specialists, we’ve developed solutions to localize all industry standards such as DITA, S1000D, MadCap Flare, RoboHelp, Author-It and we share these Best Practices with our customers”.