Guideline A: User interface

A2: PCI availability

Providing for PCI availablity

Markup or style sheet languages and word processors usually attach a certain amount of presentation control information (PCI) to the actual information. These PCI controls govern presentation attributes such as color, position, highlighting, and field protection. Since these controls may also be subject to change during the translation process, they are also considered to be part of the UI.


Guideline A2


Consider presentation control information (PCI) as part of the UI and make the PCI available to the translator during the translation process.


There are suggestions that PCI and UI text should be physically separated, which permits translators to work on the UI alone, with no interference from PCI. Unfortunately, the old PCI and newly translated UI must eventually be merged, which can be a very expensive task. The best course is to always keep PCI and UI synchronized through appropriate presentation and editing tools. Ideally, the PCI component should be automatically adjusted to accommodate all the translation changes made to the UI. In addition, the PCI should be hidden or at least protected by the tool until they need to be changed.

Example: A markup language is used to format textual information in a table for presentation purposes. The raw UI might look like this:


<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<title>Sample Table</title>
</head>
<body>
<table cellspacing="0" cellpadding= "2" align="center" border="1" width= "90%">< BR><tr>
<th>Heading</th>
<th>Longer Heading</th>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Text ...</td>
<td>Longer text ...</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Text ...</td>
<td>Longer text ...</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Text ...</td>
<td>Longer text ...</td>
</tr>
</table></body>
</html>


If the translator uses tools that can hide all the markup tags and presents the data in its final form as follows, then the UI becomes much easier to understand and translate:



Heading Longer heading
Text ... Longer text ...
Text ... Longer text ...
Text ... Longer text ...

As discussed in Guideline A3 – Providing for UI Expansion, the translated text may overflow the existing table cell width. The solution is to either expand the cell width, or split the translated text into several lines. These presentation adjustments can be done automatically, or by making the PCI tags available to the translator for manipulation.


Guideline A2-1


Select data formats that are supported by your translation system.


Translation systems not only help handle the vast amount of translation needs efficiently but also free you from the tedious routine work inherent in translation projects. Most computer-assisted translation systems today are able to handle various file formats such as XML, XLIFF, MS Word, HTML and Java ListResourceBundle. However, you need to verify that your translatable text is in the file format that can be processed by your translation system.