First of all, I wanted to confirm the excellent advice you got from Ann
Zdunczyk, Diane Gaskill and others. I have worked for a LSP (Language
Services Provider, or Translation Vendor) for nearly 10 years and with
FrameMaker for nearly 20 years; about 80% of our clients use FrameMaker
for documentation. 

Yes, translating Word projects do tend to cost more for many of the
reasons listed earlier (embedded graphics being replaced, etc.) Word
files are prone to crash when file size exceeds 1 meg and section breaks
are extremely troublesome with auto numbering and other formatting. We
have actually assisted some customers in migrating from Word to
FrameMaker in order to reduce their translation costs. (This is
appropriate for customers who have technical document content that
resembles a FrameMaker project in complexity and volume.)

TRADOS uses a form of RTF file format, so technically Word files do not
have to be converted to be translated via TRADOS. However, this does not
make Word files less expensive to translate.

In pre-processing for translation, FrameMaker files must be saved to
MIF, and then S_Tagger converts the MIF to a customized form of RTF
required by Trados. Special RTF character tags are used to label text as
fixed-tags, movable-tags, do-not-translate text, or regular
to-be-translated text. The pre-processing engineering steps required for
FrameMaker files do not adversely affect the project budget.

All of our customers send us binary FrameMaker files. It is less
expensive to have your LSP do the "save as MIF" for you, rather than
take up the extra server space (and FTP bandwidth) with large MIF files.
Graphics are always externally referenced, and a relative pathname to
the graphics directory can help reduce project time. There is some
publishing time required by the LSP on post-translated files. Structured
FrameMaker saved as XML has several advantages over basic FrameMaker, in
translation post-processing and publishing, which I will cover in my
presentation "Optimizing FrameMaker for Localization (translation)" at
the upcoming FrameMaker 2006 Chautauqua.

Several people who responded to your questions mentioned that LSPs will
charge you for translating "every word" even if there is up-to-date
translation memory. Though this is technically true, be aware that
previously translated text (an "exact match" in Trados) will be charged
at a much lower rate than a "fuzzy match" or un-translated text. Your
LSP can use special tools to compare your latest FrameMaker content with
the previous version and get an accurate word count on how much content
has changed. 

I also wanted to affirm what someone else said: you "own" the
translation memory that your LSP creates or updates. You can request it
at any time if you decide to try out a different vendor. Correctly
updated Translation Memory (TM) is often a problem with less-expensive
vendors. TM is becoming more portable due to new standards like TMX.

I have occasionally observed clients trying out "cheaper" translation
vendors; if they are using FrameMaker, they nearly always come back to
us. Cheaper per-word rates do not make up for poor translation quality,
lack of TM management and lost document integrity in your FrameMaker

Maxwell Hoffmann
Manager of Consulting & Training Solutions
ENLASO Corporation 
T: 805 494 9571 * F: 805 435 1920 
E: mhoffmann at
ENLASO Corporation provides quality enterprise language solutions and
exceeds client expectations through continuing research, development,
and implementation of effective localization processes and technologies.

Visit: for more information or to subscribe to our
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Date: Wed, 4 Oct 2006 12:12:13 -0400
From: "Alexandra Duffy" <>
Subject: Translation questions
To: <framers at>
        <D95492FBBB38E9479AE33C0FC06AC0FC681568 at>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="us-ascii"


We recently translated our documentation set (two manuals, about 1,600
pages) into Spanish. This wasn't a very smooth process, but it was
accomplished by sending our .mif files to the translator, who uses
TRADOS. The translator was selected based on the lowest bid.
The translator did create the database files that are used for
facilitating future translation; however, once we got the files back
from them, there were so many errors and changes required that we
question the usefulness of the database files. Our Spanish FrameMaker
files are now significantly different from the files that they gave to


If you are still using unstructured FrameMaker and translating your text
through several versions, I would like to know:

* What your companies do to mark text that has changed? How do you move
the translation up to the next version?
* Can't translators take the latest mif files from you and use TRADOS to
identify what has changed?
* What if the database from the translator is out-of-date? Can't they
build a new one based on new files?
* Is there really a difference in this process (re:TRADOS) if we used

I think we're making this way harder than it needs to be and would
appreciate your input.
Please, can you CC: aduffy at, as I am on the digest.


Alexandra Duffy
Senior Technical Writer
Nemetschek NA

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