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Questionable aspects of the translation functionality

Participant ,
Feb 21, 2024 Feb 21, 2024

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I am (mostly) going to refrain from stating my vocal opinions on Robohelp's translation functionality. I'm just going to highlight the problems I've encountered as a heavy user of the Robohelp translation functionality (2022.3.93) with the intent of informing others.

 

Context
RH indicates that it offers the ability to translate your project into other languages. It does this by the normal way of generating XLIFF files of your topics, snippts etc. Ideally, these XLIFFs get translated and you re-import them in your base project, which generates translated topics in the specified translation project.

 

Problems encountered:

EXPORTING
- Bookmarks do not get converted to XLIFFs. In other words, any <a id="..."></a> bookmarks you make will disappear in the translated topic. This kills any links or crossrefs you may have used referring to that bookmark. Adobe support is aware of this problem and the current work-around is to fill up the bookmark <a> tag with text, e.g. <a id="functionality">H</a>.
Solution: Script that loops through every topic in the project and fills up bookmarks with temporary text before exporting topics as XLIFFs.

 

- Content-less tags do not get converted to XLIFFs. Tags without any content, e.g. <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-ok"></span> are discarded during conversion to XLIFFs. I can fully understand this reasoning, but we use glyphicons in our project so these get discarded in the translation project.
Solution: Very similar to the bookmark problem, a script that fills up empty tags with invisible text, e.g. <span class="glyphicon glyphicon-ok"><span style="display:none">FILLER</span></span>.

 

- Nested dropdowns (=dropdowns within dropdowns) sometimes bug out. RH will automatically add all dropdown content in a data-targetdata attribute for reasons I cannot fathom. As attribute values are never translated, this content is not exported to XLIFF and hence does not get translated.
Solution: Script that detects the presence of data-targetdata attributes in topics.

 

XLIFF FILES THEMSELVES
- Unrecognised language codes: our target language is a 'regional' form of Dutch (nl-BE) that differs from Dutch (nl-NL) automatically generated by RH in its XLIFF files.
Solution: Script that changes all language codes in the XLIFF files from nl-NL to nl-BE before Trados can process the files.

 

- TOC, Variable and Glossary files fail to be read by Trados. Admittedly, this may be due to our Trados settings or something similar.
Solution: Design our own XLIFF conversion script to render the TOC/variable/glossary files in a format that Trados does understand.

 

- Strange segmentation rules cause problems. A dropdown title <h3><a class="dropSpot" ...>TITLE</a></h3> tends to get segmented if it has characters such as ':' or something in that vein. Similarly, variables that abuse <span> tags in their content may also get duplicated in the translation project.
Solution: Script that deletes all duplicates in the translation project.

 

- XLIFF file names become too long to be importable in Trados. XLIFF file names are constructed according to their location in the project. e.g. the XLIFF file 'Contents_folder1_subfolder1_subsubfolder1_test_topic_htm.xlf' would be located in contents/folder1/subfolder1/subsubfolder1. This is reasonable (max file name length exists for a reason), but is something to take into consideration if you are a fan of using deep-level folders.
Solution: Script that shortens overly long file names and stores the original names somewhere in a separate file. After translation, the file names are reverted back using that separate file.

 

IMPORTING
- Topics do not get imported due to different folder structure. The folder structure of the base project must be identical to that of the translation project. For example, you have a topic in 'contents/theme1/subtheme1' and you try to import the XLIFF to the translation project. However, the translation project does not have the folder 'subtheme1' in 'contents/theme1'. Instead of warning you or creating the folder automatically, RH will tell you that the import was successful. This is a lie.
Solution: Pre-import script that checks for any missing folders in the translation project and creates them if they are missing.

 

There are a few other problems, but these are the main ones.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 21, 2024 Feb 21, 2024

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Interesting, but maybe more valuable to be sent in an email to the RH folks than posted here on the forums. I'd recommend using the tcssup@adobe.com e-mail address as it reaches a team dedicated to Technical Communication Suite products including RoboHelp.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 21, 2024 Feb 21, 2024

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I just forwarded the post to the development team so that they can take the issues on board at some point.

________________________________________________________

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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