Using stylesheets to enhance the translators experience when working with XML files can be very helpful and sometimes essential. It allows you to pull details from the XML and display them in a preview pane so that the translator has more context around the translatable text. It can also provide a mechanism for displaying text that you don’t want extracted from the XML for translation at all. This is nothing new of course and localisation engineers and experienced translators have been doing this for years. In fact I’ve even written about this in the past providing a simple example of how it’s done and some reading resources for anyone who would like to learn how. So why am I bringing this up again?
My favourite conference by far is the ATA… and not just because the location changes every year and it’s always somewhere fantastic! This year was in Miami and the location was no exception… a great choice and huge numbers of translators interested in translation technology and how they can get more from it. My own involvement at these conferences is always very satisfying because I get to spend the full conference speaking to people, from the moment the doors open until they close, about technology. This year kept me particularly busy with two pre-conference sessions, mostly on Studio and MultiTerm; the “Toolbar” which is open all conference and is an area manned by technical representatives from all the tools vendors present; and a conference presentation I’ve wanted to deliver for a long time. This article is about that presentation, “XML, XPath, XSLT… the ‘X’ Files?”
Quite often people ask me how to handle XML files where the author has written guidance notes as a tag in the XML. These guidance notes should not be translated so you don’t really want to see them presented as a translatable segment as you work, but you would like them to be clearly visible as a reference for the translator to help clarify meaning or give guidance on the maximum number of characters allowed for each segment when this could vary throughout the file for example.