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Re: Graphics, callouts, and internationalization

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From: "Roger Shuttleworth" <rshuttleworth@visualplant.com>
> My software documentation has lots of procedures that include numbered
> steps and corresponding screenshots. I would like to tie the steps to the
> screenshots, so one possibility is to use callouts with lines or arrows.
> My screenshots, imported by reference, are in anchored frames. I
> understand that for internationalization purposes, callouts should be kept
> outside the anchored frame. Is there anything else I need to observe?

There should be no text at all that needs to be translated within an
anchored frame. This includes call-out texts made in FM (with text lines
and arrows), *and* any text part of the imported image. Sometimes
illustrators put text in the images themselves, e.g. "Right", "Left".
Make sure to tell illustrators to not include text that needs to be
translated within the image. Of course, all of this does not pertain
to textual elements that are actually part of your product and that
will not be changed in localized versions! (product names, engravings, etc.)

Instead, make call-outs with numbers (or letters) and lines/arrows.
Using a special font that makes circled numbers can be nice.
In the surrounding text, refer to the image elements using the same
numbers/letters, e.g. "locate the blahonga device (1) and ..."
or make numbered/alphabetized lists:
"(A) whizbang gadget"
"(B) yahoo device"

A further problem could be if images will differ between localized
versions, for instance if dialogs have localized contents. As long as
the localized images will be of the same size and ratio, you can use
the same file name for all versions, but put them in different
folders. With a well thought-out folder structure in which you copy
files between "language" folders, you never have to concern yourself
with conditional images, re-importing images, or relocating images.

However, if the localized images will differ in size, you can end up
with call-outs in the wrong place or anchored frames being too small.
Then you probably need to make separate anchored frames for each
language and make them conditional. Obviously, try to avoid this...

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Thomas Michanek, FrameMaker/UNIX/MIF expert
Technical Writer, Uppsala, Sweden
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