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[ Multilingual DTP ]

Ubiqus Language TypesettingHow considering translation in your multilingual DTP* process can save time and hassle.

As a translation provider, we often need to challenge the traditional perception of a translation agency – that we only need to be engaged during a very small part of an otherwise large and complex marketing campaign.

True, translation is one link in the publishing chain, however, if it were given just a little more attention at the outset it could help make the process almost seamless, and the published materials much more suitable for their intended purpose on first attempt.

Here are a couple of scenarios to illustrate the point:

1.  Your English brochure is already designed in InDesign, you have finally received sign off and now you need it translated.

Whether the design was created by your creative team or an external design agency, consider this: file formats hold no secrets to the designers, but do they work regularly with foreign languages? Do you know if they are familiar with Asian or Arabic scripts, flipping the design right-to-left for Arabic, inserting appropriate line breaks in Japanese, or finding compatible fonts for Khmer? Many foreign languages follow different rules to English and it makes a world of difference in the design too.

When working with such materials a professional translation supplier will have in place a well-designed process that effortlessly combines translation with desktop publishing, to produce final documents that are print-ready and correct from both a linguistic and technical point of view.

It is also a time saver and safety net – there is no manual copy-pasting of the translated content from Word to the artwork, thus reducing the manual labour on heavily formatted layouts and the risk of placing the translated text in the wrong places.

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[tabs_item title=”Consider this” icon=”fa-pencil”]Send the draft copy, style guide and relevant sections of your project brief to your translation supplier in advance of final sign off. This way they can already start planning on their side. Briefing carefully selected translators, proofreaders, editors and multilingual DTP specialists so that you have the very best people on the job once you are ready to go.



2.  You have the translated brochure back from the designer and are about to send it to the printer or publish it on your website.

If the document was in English, you would proof it before use. Who will proof the translated document in situ? It probably won’t be the designer unless she coincidentally is also a trained linguist. In this case, you need to ensure that a suitable person proofs the document for you.

You may want to do this internally using foreign language speaking colleagues – this is fine as long as they are working with clear guidelines and have a good understanding of the complete project. Every specialised translation provider will recommend this additional step after creation of the artwork and before publishing, regardless of who produced the document, whether it was you or your translation supplier.

This check has many names: proofreading, in-context review, pre-print review, but in essence it is a crucial stage whereby a specialised linguist will ensure the multilingual DTP did not cause any of the common issues: missing text, broken layout due to text expansion, inaccurate line breaks, character and font corruptions, plus any overlooked typos, or even expressions not suitable for the ultimate context. As you can imagine the smallest mistake can have an enormous impact on your brand message and say a lot about the quality and image you want to represent.

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[tabs_item title=”Consider this” icon=”fa-pencil”]If you do decide to take care of the DTP inhouse; instead of extracting the text for translation from InDesign into a CSV file: extract it into Excel and also provide your translation partner with the typeset document so they can see the words in context. Once you have typeset the translation send it back to the translation partner to perform an in-context review to make sure no mistakes have been made during the transfer.



*Desktop publishing (abbreviated DTP) is the creation of documents using page layout skills on a computer. Desktop publishing software can generate layouts and produce typographic quality text and images comparable to traditional typography and printing.  Source: wikipedia