Help testing and engineering

Translation and localization Frequently asked questions

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Once you receive translated files back from the translator there is still a considerable amount of work that needs to be done before the files can be delivered to the client.

When files are sent back from translation, the following process occurs:

  • The files are cleaned to remove the Source language text from them. This will also update the Translation Memory.
  • The files are then copied into a folder containing all of theuntranslatable files from the Help project.
  • The Help system is built. The build process may be as simple as regenerating the Help system in RoboHelp.
  • Finally, the new translated Help build is then tested against a full, running, copy of the English Help system.

Help Testing
The golden rule of Help testing is test what the user will see. Never test the pre-build Help system.There are an ever-increasing number of Help testing utilities on the market. However, the most effective that I have found is a tool called HTMLQA.

This is a tool published by SDL.HTMLQA allows you to visually compare the Source and Target Helpsystems. The basic idea is to make the target language Help system look exactly the same as the Source files.

In addition, HTMLQA also has a number of verification features that allow you to create reports of differences between the files. The type of issues that frequently occur are:

  • The number of target files is greater/less than the number of source files.
  • Broken/missing links.
  • Missing graphics.
  • Broken tags.

With advances in translation technology, the number of these errors has been diminishing. However, they are still not gone forever.As a good starting point, you should always run a report first and fix any issues that might appear in the report. Once this is done, the visual inspection should take a lot less time.

Help Engineering
Once you have identified the files that need fixing. It is then a simplematter of going into the HTML and fixing them. Obviously to do this youfirst have to be able to write in HTML. However, by carefully comparing the source file to the target file, it is often possible to identify where the file has been broken and fix it. However, the more comfortable you arewith the coding of the files the easier it is to fix them.