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ITS WG Collaborative editing page

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Status: Initial Draft ie. please focus on technical content, rather than wordsmithing at this stage.

Author: Yves Savourel

Localization Notes


A method must exist for authors to communicate information to localizers about a particular item of content.


To assist the translator to achieve a correct translation, authors may need to provide information about the text that they have written. For example, the author may want to:

  • tell the translator how to translate part of the content
  • expand on the meaning or contextual usage of a particular element, such as what a variable refers to or how a string will be used on the UI
  • clarify ambiguity and show relationships between items sufficiently to allow correct translation (e.g. in many languages it is impossible to translate the word 'enabled' in isolation without knowing the gender, number and case of the thing it refers to.)
  • explain why text is not translated, point to text re-use, or describe the use of conditional text
  • indicate why a piece of text is emphasized (important, sarcastic, etc.)

This can help translators avoid mistakes or avoid spending time searching for information. Two types of informative notes are needed:

  1. An alert contains information that the translator MUST read before translating a piece of text. Example: an instruction to the translator to leave parts of the text in the source language.
  2. A description provides useful background information that the translator will refer to only if they wish. Example: a clarification of ambiguity in the source text.

The relationship between a note and the data to which the note pertains, should be unambiguous.

Quick Guideline Thoughts

This requirement is related to the following processing expections:

  1. Alert: The note is brought to the attention of the translators before they begin to translate. The translator cannot start/continue his translation without reading the note.
  2. Description: The note is brought to the attention of the translators before they begin to translate. However, the translator is not forced to read the note before attempting a translation. The translator may only receive an indication that such a note exists and have to take action to view the text.