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General Translation Advice

Community Beginner ,
Jun 07, 2024 Jun 07, 2024

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Hey, all! 

 

Using RH Version 2022.4.179.

 

My organization will eventually need our output (both responsive web and PDF) translated. I'm hoping to gather as much information on this process as I can, which I'm doing by scouring existing resources, but I figured I'd also ask for input here. 

 

  1. Our ideal situation is that we integrate Machine Translation with an existing vendor, possibly SmartLing, with some human input and oversite. Does anyone have experience with this kind of hybrid approach, using both machine translation and some manual oversite? What is your workflow for that? 
  2. Can you only translate output into the languages listed in the Translation Language dropdown menu? Or are you able to translate beyond that, to say, Urdu or Yiddish? If so, how does that work?
  3. Any general advice from your personal experiences with translation services, either machine or manual, and how they interact with RoboHelp?

 

Thanks all! 

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2024 Jun 07, 2024

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There aren't too many users of translation who also support the forum. There is one person who I hope might be able to respond but meantime there have been some recent posts on the subject. Take a look at those.

________________________________________________________

My site www.grainge.org includes many free Authoring and RoboHelp resources that may be of help.

 

Help others by clicking Correct Answer if the question is answered. Found the answer elsewhere? Share it here. "Upvote" is for useful posts.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2024 Jun 07, 2024

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Also search for "localization" and "XLIFF" too.

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Participant ,
Jun 10, 2024 Jun 10, 2024

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To question 1:

No experience with machine translations (MT), but the fundamental workflow is that you export the XLIFFs from RH, translate those XLIFFs, and then import them back in. Admittedly, RH has 'integration with MT' listed in its features but I wouldn't really trust that.

I note that some people tend to edit the translation project directly after importing the translations, which is pointless in the long run. When you make a new XLIFF export from your base project and import the translated XLIFFs back into the translation project, all edits are overwritten.

 

To question 2:

Interesting question, especially as those languages have a different writing direction.

We can quickly test this:

1) export the XLIFF in a random supported language pair (Hebrew)

WoutJacobs_0-1718005437920.png

2) 'Translate' the XLIFF in Urdu, ignoring the language code

WoutJacobs_1-1718005626024.png

Note that you may have to manually change the language code in the XLIFFs for the translation provider to be able to translate in that language.

3) Import it back

WoutJacobs_2-1718005864393.png

I'm not sure if the direction is respected (I doubt it), but the content works at least:

WoutJacobs_3-1718006011439.png

To question 3:

I honestly do not think the translation feature of RH is commercially viable in its current state, but that is my opinion. Using it out of the box will undoubtedly lead to some problems.

We use Trados to manually translate Dutch topics to French, and the entire process has been rather frustrating to say the least.

A non-exhaustive list of problems I've had to fix:

  • Unsupported language codes: we use Belgian Dutch (nl-be), not Dutch Dutch (nl-nl) supported by RH
  • Failure to export variables and glossaries: XLIFFs of variables and glossaries failed to be read by Trados. This seems to have been fixed in RH 2022.4 but I have no faith.
  • Overly long file names: XLIFF file names are generated based on their position in the project (e.g. 'folder1_folder2_filename.xlf'). If you work with a lot of nested folders, you will hit that 255 character limit eventually.
  • Dubious XLIFF conversion: RH works with segmentation when converting HTML to XLIFF (which you definitely should check if your translation provider supports), but the way it segments source sentences is not very robust. It discards empty tags and duplicates certain content if you use a lot of spans in your text.
  • Folder structure problems: if you import a translated XLIFF into the translation project, the path structure must match exactly: a topic A in 'folder1/subfolder1/topic A.htm' can only be imported if you have the same folder structure 'folder1/subfolder1' in the translation project. If this is not the case, and you undoubtedly will rename folders at some point in your life, then the import will succeed but nothing gets imported. RH gives no indication of this.
  • Endless importing bug: if your XLIFF file has empty target segments, RH tends to get stuck on endlessly importing during import.
  • ...

If you have no technical knowledge within your company, you may be in for a rough time. I've had to design a five-step script to handle all these export-import problems:

  1. pre-process all topics in the project to add text to empty tags so that RH does not discard them during XLIFF conversion.
  2. post-process all exported XLIFFs so they conform to our language code + shorten XLIFF file names
  3. Mirror the folder structure of the translation project to the base project before import
  4. Revert the translated XLIFFs to their original file names
  5. Post-process cleaning (mainly deleting duplicate variables due to poor RH XLIFF conversion)

 

It is mandatory to always check the translation output after every import.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 17, 2024 Jun 17, 2024

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  1. I am not certain if this may be of assistance, but there is also the option of translating the Robohelp files without the help of Robohelp and then just generating the output (with Robohelp).
    This is the approach we are using as we have to deliver our help files in up to 40 languages and not all of them are supported by Robohelp.
    As a hint: As an external translation tool, we use MemoQ.
    What we do - in short:
    1. We create a Robohelp project in the source language, let's say English.
    2. We copy the complete project (all files, etc.) and put it into a separate folder "DE" (German).
    3. We use MemoQ as an external translation tool. For every file type in RH that needs translation, we create a special import filter in MemoQ (no magic behind this, has to be done only once).
    4. We load all the project files of the copied project "DE" to MemoQ and let the translators do their work - if they use machine translation, or human translators is up to them. They also maintain the translation memory, term bases, etc. for the respective languages. So everything related to translation is done there.
    5. We export the translated files from MemoQ to the "DE" folder. This folder now contains RH files with translated content. We open the RH project in this folder and create the output - and voila: translated output.

    Of course, there are some things to consider:
    - The file types that need translation from a content perspective are: *.htm (topics), *.hts (snippets), *.glo (glossary); *.toc (Table of Contents), *.var (variables); For all these types, you need a filter in memoQ (to separate content that shall be translated from content that shall not be translated).
    - You have to manually change the project language of RH to the target language (either via opening the project settings or changing the content of the languages tag in the *.rhpj file.)
    - This way you can also translate into languages RH does not support, there is just one additional thing you have to consider: there are some strings where the translation is provided by Robohelp, you would need to translate these on your own, for example, the *.lng file - this file contains the labels used for the output (for example, the label "Search" in the search field in responsive HTML output)
    If you have a not-supported language you have to change the project language to English and OVERWRITE these files, e.g. the en_UK.lng file (in the translated project folder), with the respective translations.

    One big drawback, of course, is that you have to remember if you changed anything in the source since the translation process started. In my case, we can handle that as we have one source and need to translate to 39 languages, but only AFTER the source is quite stable - so we do not have to change the source after we started the translation process.

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