Workflow for multilanguage workbook document

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I am just researching Scribus but it looks like a solid possibility to help me do what I need.

I am trying to set up a system for a nonprofit that allows a master copy in English of a document to be created by the employees of that organization.  Other people may want to get a copy of this document in their own language.  I'd like to get a setup so that these people would be able to make a translation using user-friendly tools.  As the people translate, a version in their language will be automatically generated.

Pretty much everything needs to be user-friendly once I (a software developer) set up the system since most people involved are not very tech-savvy. 

I'm asking for any suggestions that people here have, or maybe any system that already exists to do what I'm looking for.  Here's what I'm thinking so far:

  • Have users enter the content for the master document in a text file or some other easily editable file type.  This could be one text document per chapter, or some other variation that makes it easy to translate.
  • Keep the content files in a source control system such as svn or git.
  • Have a Zantana ( or similar Translation Management System server set up receive any changes that are committed to the version control system.
  • Allow translators to translate changes made to the source content in Zanata as changes are made and committed to source control in real-time.
  • Create new up-to-date versions of the document in a language every time a translator changes any of the translated content in Zantana.  I would possibly use something like TeamCity to kick off a custom Scribus script which will generate the final documents.

That's my initial thought for a workflow.  Is anybody doing anything like this using these tools or other tools?  Does my initial workflow seem about right is it too simple/complicated?  Does anybody have suggestions of how I could accomplish my desired goal?


Astroman Pete

Qualifying this: I may have the wrong idea here. I'm not a Scribus dev. Feel free to correct me or disagree.

I don't think there's a way to kick-off a Scribus script extension from the shell without invoking the GUI, or having to have a human interact with the GUI. That may cause trouble plugging it into a continuous integration-type system.

Scribus SLA files are XML, so you could conceivably edit those outside of the program. I don't think this is recommended though.

I work in an architectural firm. We use a suite of scripts with Scribus to compile and update our construction drawings. Scribus is uniquely good at tiling and embedding PDFs.

For our specifications, which aren't nearly as graphical, we build OpenDocument files as XML and convert/compile them to PDF with LibreOffice from the command line. For that we use the "ezodf" Python library. We start with a template file that has our house styles, then populate/parse the document tree for each file.

So I'd say it depends on how graphical your documents are, if you'd choose to use Scribus.


Thanks for the response.  That would definitely make it difficult if it's not possible to use it from the command line.  I thought I saw something about command line stuff at some point but I don't remember for sure.  I'll have to research a bit more.

I'm possibly thinking that a word processor like LibreOffice may be a bit better for my needs.

Does anybody else know if what I proposed in my initial post is possible?


Can anybody confirm whether the scripting ability allows me to compose a document completely within code or if it requires the program to be running?



Your ideas sounds very interesting.

Right now it AFAIK the GUI needs to be running BUT there is an effort that you probably read about on the Mailing list spearheaded by 2 fellows who have proposed patches to Scribus that can run from the CLI a gui-less scribus. It will execute a script and then exit. I don't know all the details and have not tested it personally. Some of the patches have been committed some haven't. Best thing to do is to move this thread on to the Mailing List.
Here is the relevant info:
contributors: Juraj Fedel & William Bader

You can also search for the topic:
"Using scribus to create PDFs from the commandline" in the following:

The issue that I'm concerned about for you here is  a different one. Will your translators be using RTL languages ? RTL text in Scribus still doesn't work well yet. Here is the Metabug on the bugtracker:
Though that being said it is possible, see:


Hi Kunda,

Thanks for the response.  I hadn't looked at the mailing list at all, so your comments are helpful.

I'm not sure if I will need to do any RTL languages, but it would probably be a good idea to be able to handle them with any system I set up. 

Also, I'm not sure that scribus will work for me in a scripting form.  Even if it works from the command line, I'm not sure if it would work in whatever server environment I end up with.  I prefer to have a library that I can include in a script, or potentially directly within an application. 

I haven't ruled out scribus, but I'm going to keep investigating other options too.

Thanks for the help.