LDSTech:Translating screenshots

Documentation without any screenshots tends to look like one eternal block of text. Screenshots not only break the text up, they also provide clarity about the concepts expressed in the text. The combination of words with text helps people understand technical concepts in ways that either text or visuals alone cannot produce. However, including screenshots with documentation becomes difficult when the documentation needs translation -- especially translation into 10 languages, as with applications. Through the help of volunteers, this monumental task is more approachable. Below are instructions on how to to create screenshots for translations of help material.

Screenshot sizes

Screenshots in documentation should be fairly uniform, especially in width. The ideal width for a screenshot is 575px wide by 300px tall.

Screenshot formatting

You can include the cursor in the screenshot, but don't add any other effects -- no borders, shadows, tears, or other graphics.

Circling a section

Usually a section on the screen is circled in red. When you circle a section, keep the color red and make the width of the circle line 3px wide.

Screenshot tools

There are a lot of free screen capture tools available, but to avoid having a lot of screenshots in varying dimensions, it's important to use a tool that allows you to set the exact dimension you want to capture. If you have Snagit, this is one of the best screen capture tools. However, it costs $50. Jing and MWSnap are free alternatives, but they both have some limitations.

This page was last modified on 7 May 2012, at 17:05.

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