Emerson – Six Tips to Migrate Multilingual Content

Emerson – Six Tips to Migrate Multilingual Content

[DITA Loc Wire series] In 2016, Margaret Devere, Information Architect at Micro Motion, a business unit of Emerson Automation Solutions, set off on a challenging task: migrate the manual for the Model 5700 transmitter from a SharePoint-based CCMS to the XDocs CCMS from Bluestream. The 350-page manual had been written in English, and translations existed for the 600+ DITA topics, but, due to system issues, the translations had not been published.


Margaret and her team faced several challenges

  • The DITA files contained extraneous white spaces, a result of pretty printing. Pretty printing is a tool that makes the source more readable but can affect rendering if the system doesn’t know how to handle it.
  • The legacy and the new CCMS used different formats for file IDs and links, and different folder structures for translated content. The automated migration tools could migrate the English topics and the translated topics, but the resulting translated topics would contain broken links and would not be associated with the English source topics, making them essentially unusable in the new system.
  • Micro Motion wanted to minimize costs while delivering documentation in as timely a manner as possible.

Out-of-the-box thinking

Micro Motion’s migration project required a creative approach that went beyond the usual translation services. WhP, the LSP (Localization Service Provider) recommended by Bluestream for their DITA expertise, and Bluestream came up with the following solutions:

  1. Acquire the translation memories (TMs) from the previous LSP and store them as “provisional” TMs.
  2. Develop and run a custom script on the provisional TMs to remove the extraneous white spaces. A side benefit was the detection and correction of occasional DITA errors.
  3. Rather than migrate the translated topics from the legacy CCMS, run the translation process in the new CCMS, and send the translation packages generated by the XDocs CCMS Localization module to WhP.
  4. Apply segment matching against the provisional TM to recreate the translated topics.
  5. As segments are matched, move them into a permanent “gold standard” TM.
  6. Import the retranslated topics into the new CCMS.

This procedure had three key benefits:

  • It produced translated topics with the ID format, link format, and folder structure used by the new CCMS, and with the appropriate relationship to the English source files. “WhP’s out-of-the-box approach allowed us to side-step the file ID, link, and structure issues in one stroke”, says Margaret Devere.
  • Because the existing translations were re-used, costs were minimized. WhP did not charge for ICE (In Context Exact) matches, and 100% matches cost a fraction of the normal rate.
  • Micro Motion was able to translate in a lean and just-in-time fashion: only the new or updated segments were involved, and re-generating the translations was performed one language and one project at a time. This enabled the company to spread the cost over multiple translation projects.

WhP added considerable value to the multilingual migration: “WhP was able to comprehend our technical issues and create a solution. Leaving the translated files behind was a daring approach that only an expert could devise and implement” adds Margaret. A few days after being presented with the problem, WhP proposed a simple solution that retained the significant investment in translations and produced translated topics compatible with the new CCMS, all with a minimum of manual effort.

How it can apply to you

If you are using a CCMS and are migrating to a new one, whether DITA or non-DITA: rather than spend time manually adjusting your existing translated files and structure to match the new system, you can use your up-to-date Translation Memory to generate new translations compatible with your new CCMS, at minimal or no cost.

Partners in excellence: WhP and Bluestream

Micro Motion needed the support of two experts to migrate to a CCMS that generates streamlined multilingual content.

Bluestream’s XDocs CCMS addresses increasingly complex demands for content. End-to-end, the content team can create, find, update, manage, translate, and deliver content with unparalleled agility.

WhP provides customized multilingual content delivery that adapts to the customer’s CCMS. The close collaboration between Bluestream and WhP enabled Micro Motion to overcome their CCMS migration challenges.

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