Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Introduction to XML for translators ... better late than never! Back in September 2006, Iwan Davies and I ran a seminar on XML for translators for the Institute of Translation and Interpreting's Scottish Network (or ITI Scottish Network, if you prefer). The report that I wrote afterwards has not yet appeared in the ITI Bulletin, so I will post it here.

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A report on the Scottish Network's "Introduction to XML for translators" day

On a lovely sunny Saturday in Edinburgh, around twenty Scottish Network members gathered at Heriot Watt University for a seminar on "XML for translators". The presenters were Nick Rosenthal, Managing Director of localisation specialists Salford Translations Ltd, and Iwan Davies, a translator with considerable localisation expertise.

Nick set the scene, explaining why XML is becoming more widespread. We looked at XML subsets such as DocBook and DITA, used for writing technical manuals, and such as XLIFF, which is used for localising software resource files. We discussed the roles played by XML files, DTD files and schemas. We looked at the component parts of an XML file, at elements, and attributes, and entities. Nick explained about metadata, and data tagging and granularity. And we discussed issues such as single-sourcing, publishing from one data source to different target formats.

Iwan then covered XML from the translator's perspective, demonstrating the use of translation memory tools when working on XML files, explaining different approaches and showing which elements and attributes needed translating, and which ones did not. He demystified Trados INI files, and showed us some clever tricks with xslt files. His use of "Swedish chef" language as a demonstration tool will remain with us for a long while, as will the sample file of "Nick's Bacon Butty.XML"

After the two-hour seminar, the Scottish Network kindly invited the presenters to join them for lunch at a local pub, which was a very enjoyable way to round off the day.
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