Unlike English, some languages assign a gender to nouns. The adjective agrees with the gender of the noun it modifies. These variations affect how you use conditions in DITA, as the associated adjectives will be correct in some instances and incorrect in others. Here are some guidelines to using conditions so that they work in every language. Take the condition:
The <either actor><or actress> is happyIn English, the sentence is grammatically correct in both cases. In Croatian, the adjective changes:
- Glumac je sretan (Masculine)
- Glumica je sretna (Feminine)
- l’acteur est heureux (Masculine)
- l’actrice est heureuse (Feminine)
Localizing conditions without review
- A technical writer writes
The <either actor><or actress> is happy
- The translator translates the initial sentence to a target language, such as French, German, and Chinese. A PDF file, using the female condition, is also given to indicate the context. Based on the female condition, the translator translates the sentence and applies the female context. This translated sentence is saved in the CMS, and the content is published correctly.
- The translated version with female context and condition is:
The <or actress> is happy
- Later, the same sentence is reused in another document. When it is published with the male condition, the output is incorrect as it combines the female context and the male condition.
The actor is happy
Localizing conditions with reviewConditional content can also generate frustration and errors if the content is reviewed or stored in the translation memory. The same sentence starts its journey in another DITA topic.
- In this new scenario, the sentence is retrieved from the translation memory, and the translator is not required to check it. It is delivered together with the rest of the content to the CMS.
- The in-country reviewer reviews the sentence with the male condition, which doesn’t match the female context. As he has no control over the condition, he changes the context.
- The reviewer delivers the corrected version to the CMS. He also updates the translation memory.
- So far, everything is fine, until the initial document, with the female condition, gets published again.
Tip: include adjectives and other variables in the conditionThe condition should include all the elements that need to agree with the noun. For our example above, you should place the condition at the sentence level.
<either The actor is happy.><or The actress is happy.>
Conditions pointing to a range of productsIf the condition relates to a range of products, some feminine, some masculine, you need to take care of how they are built to prevent translation errors. Take this example:
<either Stop the car with the handbrake on.><or Stop the truck with the handbrake on.> Lift it with a jack and loosen the bolts of the flat tire.In English, car, truck and it are neutral. It isn’t the case in other languages. There are two ways around this situation:
- Place the condition at the paragraph level
- Use a generic word instead of the pronoun We highly recommend this solution for technical documentation.
<either Stop the car with the handbrake on.><or Stop the truck with the handbrake on.> Lift the vehicle with a jack and loosen the bolts of the flat tire.