In its broad definition, desktop publishing (DTP) is the creation of printed displays of information and ideas using a computer software. Desktop publishing is used for electronic distribution or commercial or desktop printing of web pages, e-books, newsletters, slideshows, PDF files and more.
Desktop publishing uses a design software that is able to rearrange and combine texts and images to produce creative layouts in a digital file that can be used later for online viewing or commercial printing.
It is also used in translation services. It adjusts the document’s format to ensure that it is presented neatly and matches the format of the original work.
Importance of desktop publishing in translation and localization
If you are not familiar with language translation, you may not notice that a language may translate longer or shorter than the original. This fact matters much to translators. When the source document is translated into another language, the layout of the translated text may vary from the original document. The translation may leave plenty of white spaces because the translation is shorter or the space may look too crowded due to the increased length of the translation.
A translation service includes formatting the translation to match the original work, which is why desktop publishing is important. By using a software, such as InDesign, CorelDraw, Xara Page & Layout Designer or Serif Page Plus, the translation company uses DTP not only to mirror the original work’s layout but as a proofreading tool to see the final layout and check the translation for any problems.
Integration of desktop publishing in translation services
Marketing and promotions are very important components when a company has products that are used by most consumers. This means that a company needs to have product information, posters, fliers, newsletters, brochures, signage, handouts and other printed materials that have to be translated into different languages to ensure that their broad audience bases are covered. A company typically hires a design company or an advertising agency to create these marketing and promotional materials for them.
When the company needs to have their materials translated, it has to ensure that the layout and format of the printed materials would mirror the original. A professional translation company that offers desktop publishing services will be capable of doing that.
With their desktop publishing program, the translation company can re-create and format the layout or page design of any material in another language, whether these materials are going to be digitally distributed or will be printed commercially. The translation company can faithfully reproduce the original layout, without compromising the original message’s look and feel.
A translation company that offers DTP services has specialists to ensure that the translated message is culturally appropriate and accurate with the use of design, font and graphic elements. They can advise the client to use different colors, fonts or images to ensure that the translated materials are localized, meaning that the materials are adapted to the preferences of the target audience.
This article is part of our series on localization. Please read our Ultimate Guide to Localization to learn more.
Issues with file formats
Some translation companies include DTP services in the cost of the translation project. Others offer them as a separate service.
Some clients send Microsoft Word files when requesting translation. There are not that many issues with this type of file. There are clients who just want to have the document translated since they can do the lay outing and formatting themselves. Therefore, the translation company will submit to them an unformatted file.
Other clients want the translated text to be a mirror image of the original, which is where DTP service comes in. Whether it is part of the translation service or an additional service, the translation company will use desktop publishing to ensure that the final translation is error-free, accurate and looks like the source document.
Microsoft PowerPoint files are a bit challenging because the flow of texts on the pages is not present. It is very difficult to have text expansion in a PowerPoint file. If the translation is longer, the text extends beyond the boundaries allocated for the text, so the display is affected.
Images in a PowerPoint file present problems as well. Often the text over images cannot be edited. Using desktop publishing program, the translation team can extract all the text, even those over images so the translators can do their work and have the artist put them back over the images. The DTP artist can also rework the PowerPoint layout to ensure that the translated text will fit the text boxes.
InDesign is a program used by many designers to produce professional page layouts for various types of digital publications and print jobs. However, not many translators are familiar with the program. Therefore, clients should look for a translation company that offers a full suite of services, including editing, desktop publishing services and proofreading, aside from translation.
DTP services are not just for visual appeal
On its own, desktop publishing is a creative process, with the artist or designer producing layouts for print, combining creative elements like fonts, colors, photographs, graphics and text.
As an integral process in a translation service, desktop publishing services take on an additional role. It is an efficient and effective tool for multilingual translation and employed during the last phases of the localization or translation work. It allows the reproduction of the original layout into all the requested languages while doing the required cultural and technical adaptations. The desktop publishing service ensures that the translated versions of the original document look like they were especially created in the requested language.
When a file is translated into another language, its layout and format may end up looking very different from the original. The illustrations, forms, graphs and image captions may be lost, truncated or repositioned on the space taken up by the translated language. The layout may either end up with more white space or lack space to fit in all the elements shown in the original work. Bulleted lists may not align properly. Spacing, paragraph breaks and hyphenation may be affected as well. If there are several languages requested, the issues are going to be repeated several times.
The desktop publishing service of the translation company will see to it that the elements in the layout and format of the translation will be the same as the original file. Since the translation team can view the final layout in its original form, it is easier for them to proofread the translated document. At the same time, they will be able to identify if the images and colors used in the translated file will be culturally appropriate to the target locale. The translators will be able to tell the clients whether they need to change the imagery and color of each translated version to ensure that they will be acceptable in each particular culture.
A professional translation company with DTP services helps ensure that each translated version is aligned to the design and visual needs of the target language, including all its elements.
Some of the things that desktop publishing services provide in the context of translation and localization include:
- Adjusting the spaces for text, so the translation can fit within the allocated space without leaving plenty of blank spaces or allowing text to be overcrowded that it cannot be read easily.
- Desktop publishing programs allow the translation team to make changes in the design. It could mean adjusting the size of the image or altering the layout of the document. Clients should keep in mind that different languages translate differently, so they should create a design or template that will provide more room for text elements.
- Desktop publishing software has more special fonts and symbols than other word processing programs. It is necessary when your files use special fonts and symbols or the target language has a different script. This ensures consistency and accuracy.
- Desktop publishing makes it easier to reproduce the layout when using languages that are written in different directions, such as Urdu, Hebrew or Arabic. A few Asian languages are written vertically. You are assured that your layout will still maintain its original design and format when the translation company has desktop publishing services.
For your marketing materials and other documents special design and layout, understand that desktop publishing services is necessary to ensure the accuracy, quality and consistency of your translated materials. When you work with a professional translation company, you do not need to do additional work because it will submit finalized, screen-ready or print-ready accurately translated and localized materials.
Maintain your design and layout with desktop publishing services
You pay a sizeable amount to have professionally designed marketing and promotions materials. Now you want them translated into other languages, with the provision that the layout, format and design should be maintained. This means you have to work with a professional translation company like Day Translations, Inc. that offers a full suite of language services, which includes desktop publishing services. We have specialists who can handle multilingual documents. Our translation teams include native speakers and subject matter experts, to ensure that your translation and localization projects are accurate and fully adapted to your target cultures. We work with more than 100 languages so you are not limited in your choices. It is easy to get in touch with us. Just give us a call at 1-800-969-6853 or send us an email at Contact us. We are open 24/7, every day of the year so we can respond to your request quickly.
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