Single-source pub­lish­ing, Rich Media, Cloud-based Col­lab­o­ra­tion and acces­si­ble XML pub­lish­ing are just four of the sig­nif­i­cant capa­bil­i­ties that Adobe’s Tech­ni­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Suite 3 brings to mul­ti­lin­gual projects. This pow­er­ful suite (often referred to as TCS3 or Tech Comm Suite) com­bines three of the more pop­u­lar prod­ucts for tech­ni­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tions: FrameMaker 10, Robo­Help 9 and Cap­ti­vate 5. Two addi­tional prod­ucts use­ful to tech­comm are bun­dled as well; Adobe Acro­bat X Pro and Pho­to­shop CS5.

Adobe iden­ti­fies the fol­low­ing areas as key strengths for the new release of Tech­ni­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Suite:

  1. Social Media, via pub­lish­ing to Adobe’s AIR plat­form with mod­er­ated comments,
  2. User-generated Con­tent, via RoboHelp’s Exter­nal Con­tent Search,
  3. Multi-device Pub­lish­ing, which has been extended beyond PDF and HTML to include the ePub XML stan­dard for tablets and eReaders,
  4. Rich Media and Video, which have been extended to include many new formats,
  5. Cloud-based Col­lab­o­ra­tion via com­ments in PDF has been extended to Robo­Help as well as FrameMaker and
  6. XML Pub­lish­ing has been extended to sup­port DITA 1.2, along with sev­eral enhance­ments to make FrameMaker’s struc­tured edit­ing user inter­face even friendlier.

This blog focuses on func­tional areas and prod­uct strengths that are par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant for projects being trans­lated and local­ized into mul­ti­ple tar­get lan­guages. We will high­light areas where Tech Comm Suite can lead to a reduc­tion in costs asso­ci­ated with source con­tent cre­ation and bill­able time dur­ing the trans­la­tion process with your trans­la­tion agency.

1. Single-source pub­lish­ing via FrameMaker and RoboHelp

Pre­vi­ous ver­sions of FrameMaker, Robo­Help and Tech Comm Suite have pro­vided some degree of inte­gra­tion, but it wasn’t 100% “seam­less.” Tech Comm Suite 3 has reduced the pub­lish­ing cycle down to prac­ti­cally a sin­gle click to out­put FrameMaker con­tent through Robo­Help to a vari­ety of for­mats. A sin­gle click of the Pub­lish menu within FrameMaker now updates Robo­Help files and pro­duces accu­rate out­put, with­out sev­eral steps required with older soft­ware. In addi­tion, Robo­Help will now change the dis­play of the icon for a doc­u­ment com­po­nent to indi­cate that the FrameMaker source file has changed.

You may view an effec­tive video demo of One-click Online pub­lish­ing from FrameMaker to Robo­Help on Adobe’s website.

Expanded mul­ti­chan­nel and mul­ti­de­vice pub­lish­ing capa­bil­i­ties allow swift out­put to print, PDF, Adobe AIR, Web­Help, XML and HTML. This includes cre­ation of con­tent which can dis­play on eBook read­ers, smart phones and tablets.

2. Pub­lish FrameMaker or Robo­Help out­put to ePubs

tabletsWe have all seen the explo­sion of eRead­ers and mobile devices for access­ing com­mer­cial and tech­ni­cal pub­li­ca­tions in the past year. Robo­help and FrameMaker sup­port the ePub stan­dard, which pro­duces “resiz­able” fonts for con­tent read­able on nearly any device, from a Black­berry or iPhone to an iPad or eReader.

Pre­de­fined tem­plates make this a rel­a­tively easy process to accom­plish, and cus­tomers do not have to be XML experts to obtain good results.

3. Improved review workflow

PDF for­mat is by far the most com­mon for­mat used by lin­guists and trans­la­tion com­pany desk­top spe­cial­ists for lin­guis­tic review and for­mat review of mul­ti­lin­gual tech doc projects. This is a crit­i­cal step in doc­u­ment trans­la­tion. Tech Comm Suite (espe­cially FrameMaker 10) allows swift cre­ation of PDF files opti­mized for anno­ta­tions and com­ments in either Acro­bat or Acro­bat Reader. You may import PDF com­ments and anno­ta­tions directly into either FrameMaker or Robo­Help. The screen cap­ture below shows how imported PDF com­ments and anno­ta­tions dis­play within FrameMaker 10.


One big improve­ment with FrameMaker 10 and Tech Comm Suite 3 is that as the cur­sor floats over an imported PDF anno­ta­tion or com­ment, a time­stamp and ID for the reviewer is dis­played in the lower left cor­ner of the work­space. This makes it prac­ti­cal for trans­la­tion com­pany team mem­bers to import PDF com­ments from mul­ti­ple lin­guis­tic review­ers, and be aware of which reviewer made which comment.

4. Photoshop’s content-aware fill for inter­na­tion­al­iz­ing images

Tech Comm Suite is bun­dled with the lat­est ver­sion of Pho­to­shop, which adds an espe­cially pow­er­ful tool for mak­ing images more appro­pri­ate for a global audi­ence. Many tech­ni­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion con­tent cre­ators are used to casu­ally import­ing sam­ple clip art that may have an ele­ment (e.g. traf­fic sign) that is very spe­cific to North Amer­ica. Photoshop’s lat­est ver­sion has a new fea­ture called “content-aware” fill. This allows the user to make a “lasso” around an unwanted ele­ment, and have Pho­to­shop auto­mat­i­cally “delete” the las­soed image by repli­cat­ing and repeat­ing the background.

This tool would most fre­quently be used by clients rather than their trans­la­tion agen­cies. How­ever, since Pho­to­shop is inte­grated in Tech Comm Suite, trans­la­tion agency desk­top pub­lish­ing spe­cial­ists can invoke Pho­to­shop by sim­ply dou­ble click­ing on an imported *.psd file if an image required touch up. A typ­i­cal exam­ple would be if the *.psd file included a text layer that requires trans­la­tion. Content-aware fill in Pho­to­shop and exam­ples of rich media imported in FrameMaker may be viewed in an inter­ac­tive video included in an Adobe blog, ” Adobe FrameMaker 10: Rich Media“.

5. Replace mul­ti­ple sta­tic illus­tra­tions with one Cap­ti­vate video

Cap­ti­vate may be used to cre­ate motion cap­ture with auto­matic cap­tions (e.g. labels when SW but­tons are clicked) and soft­ware or envi­ron­ment sim­u­la­tions. In short, Cap­ti­vate has become a pow­er­ful eLearn­ing tool, and is an ideal tool for cre­at­ing brief, motion-based tutorials.

Since Cap­ti­vate is inte­grated in Tech Comm Suite and can be invoked (once an image is imported) from within FrameMaker, it is an ideal solu­tion to replace the tra­di­tional string of pro­gres­sive screen cap­tures that were often used to illus­trate a step in prod­uct or soft­ware usage. In other words, instead of hav­ing Fig­ure 9.3 through Fig­ure 9.11 illus­trate “snap­shots” of the screen when var­i­ous user inter­face tools are clicked, import one Cap­ti­vate video into FrameMaker, which illus­trates all the steps on one page as a “movie.” FrameMaker 10 has been fur­ther enhanced in this regard by allow­ing you to choose a sta­tic JPEG file as the “poster” or image that dis­plays where the Cap­ti­vate video may be played in PDF out­put or in HTML.

The ben­e­fits to using one Cap­ti­vate video over mul­ti­ple sta­tic images are obvi­ous:
(a) page count is sub­stan­tially reduced, (b) cap­tions may be exported, trans­lated, and reim­ported back into Cap­ti­vate, © users are more com­fort­able with full motion video due to increas­ing expo­sure to YouTube and other rich media social net­works and (d) with only one Cap­ti­vate image to deal with, you do not have to worry about pro­gres­sive screen cap­tures being dis­played out of sequence.

Infor­ma­tion on how to import movies, SWF files, and 3D objects may be found in Adobe online help for FrameMaker 10.

6. Swift ramp up time for DITA authoring

FrameMaker 10 has full sup­port for DITA 1.2, which has greatly extended the power of both FrameMaker and Tech Comm Suite. Exten­sive improve­ments to FrameMaker’s user inter­face make XML author­ing and DITA much more acces­si­ble than with ear­lier versions.

This is sig­nif­i­cant to trans­la­tion projects because any com­pe­tent trans­la­tion agency has staff with advanced FrameMaker skills. Cus­tomers and trans­la­tion agency staff alike can eas­ily migrate into com­plex XML and DITA appli­ca­tions, using FrameMaker’s famil­iar envi­ron­ment. The uni­ver­sal avail­abil­ity of FrameMaker within most trans­la­tion agen­cies elim­i­nates the need for exten­sive train­ing on a new tool by your trans­la­tion agency staff.

icon show tagsFrameMaker’s “view ele­ments as tags” has been enhanced so that XML ele­ments may be expanded or col­lapsed with­out resort­ing to the rather large struc­ture view pane. This fea­ture makes it much eas­ier to author or edit DITA files on a lap­top or in a single-screen environment.


You may view four short videos on use of advanced DITA 1.2 fea­tures in Adobe’s excel­lent ” Do rapid DITA author­ing in FrameMaker 10!” blog.


Tech Comm Suite 3 includes three of the most pow­er­ful prod­ucts for tech­ni­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tions, (FrameMaker, Robo­Help and Cap­ti­vate.) Com­bined with Acro­bat and Pho­to­shop, Tech Comm Suite pro­vides a pro­duc­tive envi­ron­ment to (a) cre­ate tech­ni­cal con­tent more rapidly and (b) cor­rect and manip­u­late post-translation con­tent for tar­get lan­guages more effi­ciently and with far less oppor­tu­nity for error.

We have cer­tainly not touched on all the new or rel­e­vant func­tion­al­ity in Adobe Tech­ni­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Suite 3, but have tried to high­light the fea­tures that are most use­ful in a mul­ti­lin­gual project environment.

For a full overview of all new FrameMaker 10 fea­tures for gen­eral pur­poses, we rec­om­mend that you down­load the Adobe FrameMaker 10 and Adobe FrameMaker Server 10 Reviewer’s Guide, pro­duced by Adobe. This 79-page guide includes dozens of highly use­ful nar­rated, Cap­ti­vate demos. Be sure to also check out the new FrameMaker chan­nel on ADOBE TV. You can also down­load Adobe’s 56-page Robo­Help 9 Reviewer’s Guide which includes sim­i­lar video demos embed­ded in the content.

Adobe Sys­tems Incor­po­rated