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dita-translation message

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Subject: Acronym proposal

Hi Everyone,

Acronyms are ubiquitous in technical documentation. Although there are 
similarities between acronyms and the glossaries, from the localization 
and presentation point of view acronyms are a special case. Acronyms 
need to be expanded in the first encounter within a printed document. In 
electronic published documents acronym definitions can also be made 
available in the form of a hyper link or 'tool tip' mechanism.

For translation, acronym definitions need to be presented in the 
nominative case, without any inflection. The best way of doing this 
using an automated mechanism is to place the definition of the acronym 
in parentheses immediately following the first occurrence of the 
acronym, e.g.

Your vehicle is fitted with an ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and 4WD 
(Four Wheel Drive).

My recommendation is to create an <acronym> element that can occur 
anywhere within PCDATA. The acronym will have an 'id' attribute that 
will be the acronym itself, e.g. <acronym id="ABS"/>. The <acronym> 
element will be resolved via a conref attribute to the full acronym 
text, e.g. <acronym id="ABS" conref="aconyms.dita#abs"/>. The entry in 
the aconyms.dita file will be:

<acronym name="abs">Anti-lock Break System</acronym>

At compose time, when you are putting together the publication you can
print the full form the first time around, but in parentheses to get
around any potential problems when translating into inflected languages:

<p>The <acroym id="ABS" conref="aconyms.dita#abs"/> facility will
prevent the car from skidding.</p>

This will be published as:

The ABS (Anti-lock Break System) facility will prevent the car from

This is in reverse to what would normally be printed, e.g.

Anti-lock Break System (ABS)

But this is perfectly acceptable and gets around translation problems
with inflected languages.

Best Regards,



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