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Subject: Re: Acronym proposal

Dear Fellow Committee Members,

This is the revised proposal after some very good feedback:

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).

The proposal is to create an <acronym> element which would be a 
specialized form of the '<data/>' element. The acronym resolution will 
be via the conref attribute to the acronym text short and expanded 
forms, e.g. <acronym conref="aconyms.dita#abs"/>. The entry in the 
aconyms.dita file will be:

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

This allows for a different acronym for the target languages if required.

An alternative suggestion from Robert Anderson is to include in the 
expanded form the short form declaration, e.g.:

<acronym id="ibm">
   <expanded>International Business Machines (IBM)</expanded>

This provides more control over how the text is rendered to translators 
and has much merit.

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 <acronym conref="aconyms.dita#abs"/> facility will
prevent the car from skidding.</p>

The first occurrence in the publication can be published as:

The Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) system will prevent the car from
skidding in adverse weather conditions.

Subsequent instances can then be rendered as:

The ABS system will provide the driver with feedback via the brake pedal.

Acronyms can cause problems for inflected languages. In these instances 
for inflected languages the publishing software may use the reverse form 
for the first instance:

The ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) system....

This is perfectly acceptable for inflected languages and gets around 
having a case neutral nominative rendition of the acronym definition in 

Best Regards,



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