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Subject: RE: Impact of the Conref Best Practice

Good stuff. One question that just occurred to me: has anyone looked specifically at the way “term bases” are typically used in solutions like SDL and Idiom?  I believe there are already recommended best practices in that context for solving the grammatical issues with aligning term replacement across multiple languages.  Since DITA and conref don’t really change that problem, it might be great to compare notes on this with the translation vendors, and with the XLIFF/TMX/TBX standards folks, if you haven’t already.


All the best,



Eric Severson

Flatirons Solutions Corporation

From: JoAnn Hackos [mailto:joann.hackos@comtech-serv.com]
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 7:49 AM
To: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: [dita] Impact of the Conref Best Practice


I thought you would be interested in learning that the Translation Subcommittee's Best Practice on Conrefs is already making an impact.



Final quote:

Thanks for sending this over. This is exactly what I was looking for so this is very timely.


Do you know if any of the localization vendors are looking to enhance their applications to resolve conrefs? This might be another way to resolve some of the issues when using conrefs at the word level which many customers do for variables and product names.


Original inquiry::

I was wondering if you have a draft copy of the the best practice document,  Best Practice for Using the DITA CONREF Attribute for Translation. I was wondering if it had information pertaining to a particular situation we're trying to resolve.

As you know, we have a few customers who are working with the translation vendors such as SDL and Idiom. The issue we are experiencing is that when customers use conrefs for managing variables this creates issues for the TMS as the TMS does not resolve conrefs.

Here's what one particular customer has discovered:

We're run into a translation issue regarding our liberal use of conrefs to our variables file. After talking with SDL, it seems our use of conref-ed variables greatly complicates the linguist's job in determining how to create gender-specific articles, plurals, and possesives. This complication raises the translation costs quite significantly.

Do you have any suggestions on how this type of conref use could be best managed in DITA for translation?


Clearly, we need more Best Practices documents out there, an important task of the new Adoption Subcommittee.


JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD
Comtech Services, Inc.
710 Kipling Street, Suite 400
Denver CO 80215



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