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S-Tagger and FrameMaker and translation issues

Hallo all,
<long message warning, get comfortable :-)>

Apologies for the delay in replying to this question, Rick, I
was unsubbed for a while (travelling again) and just picked up
these threads today from the archives. Thanks to those who already
spoke so eloquently about S-Tagger :-) I don't know that there
is a lot more to add, but I think this can be useful. Onto 
FrameMaker+SGML first:

Rick wrote that one of his customers is being charged double for
translating FrameMaker+SGML files using the TRADOS Translation
Solution (that's the collective term now for all our products, for
the old-timers out there :-)) because there are a number of issues
with structured files. Sarah (of Dummies frame, oops, fame) responded
by asking why not just translate the SGML. hmmm... 

Translation of FrameMaker+SGML files with S-Tagger is a little more 
tricky than translating the regular FrameMaker files alright, but not 
really that significant. The only issues that we are aware of is that 
there are generally more external tags (opening and closing element tags
as well as paragraph tags) which makes for slightly larger STF
file size; index entries can't be added (might upset the structure);
it's more critical that the translator looks carefully at the placeable
tags during translation with structured files since the inadvertent
introduction of an element tag which existed in the source but is
incorrectly placed in the translation might add up to problems, but
this is not a frequent issue; the insertion of the <:b> and <:i>
tags creates an issue for the DTP after translation, since the character
styles then must be converted into the correct element style. Not huge.

We cover the tips and tricks for working with FrameMaker+SGML on page
2-44 of the S-Tagger for FrameMaker user guide (version 3) and it
runs to just over one page. I don't think it should cost twice as
much, and this is the first time I've heard that. However, if the
client is willing to follow this up, I'd be delighted to hear what
the reasoning is, and ensure that we document the issues. Please feel
free to contact me off-line (or on if others are interested) 

As to why not just translate the SGML, well, that in most cases
will add a significant amount of work -- if the FrameMaker+SGML file is
absolutely perfectly structured, then it's technically feasible, I think
(but please correct me if I'm wrong) to open up the SGML file and have
a beautiful FrameMaker+SGML file, but in the majority of instances we
have come across, life is never like that.

Also, translating raw SGML can be a significant pain. We do provide a
TagEditor which assists somewhat, but some additional work has to be
done prior to starting translation. I would personally much rather 
translate a file containing tags which have been specifically designed
to be as unobtrusive as possible (like STF tags) rather than weed my
way through SGML. Also, variables, cross-references, character entities...
not pleasant. Rick, mail me if you want to discuss more. 

Talking about "not pleasant" :-) the bad old days before there was
an S-Tagger... As the (thank you, Sarah O'K) S in the S-Tagger, I am, of
course, biased :-).

Per and Anne Z (hej! and hi!) outlined the process of S-Tagging files very
nicely, thank you :-) - Per also mentioned the price, and I'm sure
there were plenty of gasps at that, I'm happy to say that we are 
currently restructuring the pricing policy, and there are significant
reductions available for both freelance and non-freelance purchasers
these days. Your local TRADOS office, details of which you will find
at http://www.trados.com, will be happy to talk with you.

I worked in Doc management within localisation for several years
working with all sorts of different file formats and all sorts of
different translators. I and my colleagues spent a significant amount
of time in the early nineties evangelising about FrameMaker to our
customers, in an attempt to lure them away from the dreaded Word
or PageMaker (what a graphic picture you paint Per!) as the authoring
environment, due to the sheer torture of having to re-set 500 page
manuals using Word, and particularly printing them. Ventura (GEM, I
hasten to add) was also preferable.

FrameMaker source files gave us an approximate 40% reduction in
DTP time, PER LANGUAGE. That's significant. However, FrameMaker
source files also posed a different set of problems. Finding translators
who had a copy, knew how to use it, and didn't charge us additional
fees since they had spent time acquiring the skill set in addition
to their translation skills. We had training courses and metrics
for measuring and assuring quality, but the volume we were pumping
through meant that we frequently had to take a hit on the possibility
that one of the translators would be delighted to replace all the
fonts with Times; change the paths of referenced graphics, or delete
them altogether; delete all index markers, or just not know how to
access them to translate; wreck the file! It happened, a lot.

What this did to me was it meant I was unable to schedule with any
confidence. Except of course when working with a translator who I
knew was a Frame expert. I had a dream... what I wanted was a program
that would convert the FrameMaker files to a text format which could
be translated using Word -- because whether we like it or not, the
larger proportion of translators use it, it's not called the most
popular translation tool on the market for nothing :-) -- and then
converted back with all the formatting intact. There was no such
utility. When the company I worked with at that point decided to 
standardise on TRADOS technology (Translator's Workbench and MultiTerm)
they asked me to see if I could come up with a solution which would
export the FrameMaker text so that it could be translated in Word
using Translator's Workbench. What I came up with was that a WYSIWYG
format was not feasible, but a tagged text format was. 

>From that humble beginning, S-Tagger was born. We worked closely with
translators to try and minimise the pain of translating around tags.
We firmly believed, and still believe, that it's essential for the
translator to be able to change some formatting and to move paragraphs
and sentences around as necessary. So we also provide a verification
utility. The verifier ensures that the integrity of the file is always
intact. No MIF errors will be generated once the file has verified

It's not such a pleasant environment for the translator as a straight
word document that they can format nicely as they go along, but combined
with the benefits of using a translation memory system and a terminology
management system, most translators rapidly become much more productive
than without.

I presented papers at the last two FrameUsers conferences, both of
which outline some of the history and the issues with translation
and FrameMaker. If anybody is interested, please just mail me and
I'll send you on a copy of both. 

For Christa, I can tell you categorically that using S-Tagger, the
agency is saving time on DTP. They should be charging only for
updated graphics, extended text boxes for callouts, tidy up of
pagination, update cross-references, generation of toc and index 
and a "top n tail" as we used to call it. With the exception of 
the rather horrible case which was posted to this list in the Summer 
where there were multiple tables contained within anchored frames which 
led to what must have been a nightmare for DTP, the DTP work is 
normally straight forward. That job would have been tough in FrameMaker
as well. The average time saving for the majority of our customers on 
DTP alone is in the region of 35% across the board. Greater savings are 
then made in translation where there are frequent updates to material 
to be translated. Do not accept a higher DTP charge for FrameMaker
work if the agency is using S-Tagger.

You can see a list of translators who use TRADOS products
at http://www.trados.com/about/tsp_references.htm
and if you need any further information, please don't hesitate
to e-mail me.

Sorry about the length of this, folks, guess my fingers ran away
with me... again...


Sarah Carroll
Product Manager, TRADOS Ireland Ltd.
24 Longford Terrace, Monkstown, Co. Dublin, Ireland.
Tel: + 353 1 4910496
Fax: + 353 1 4910496
Mobile: + 353 (0)87 2401615
E-mail: mailto:sarah@trados.ie
Web: http://www.trados.com


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