Why desktop publishing has an important role in translation services

August 24, 2022

Translation services are all about text, right? Clients provide the written information, and partners, like Mission Translate, simply translate it into the target language?


That is true to a certain extent, but much more is involved when translating files for a new market. And one consideration is desktop publishing or DTP.


In this blog, we share what role DTP plays in delivering a ready-to-use, localised product for clients and the advantages of engaging your translation partner in this process rather than doing it in-house.



Why is DTP needed when translating documents?

DTP is used for editing and rendering the design of a document. Using programs such as Adobe InDesign, QuarkXpress, and Adobe Photoshop, the editor can create new styles, layouts and images according to the brand guidelines.


However, when a designed document is translated, the text can change in various ways, and these changes impact the layout. When a DTP service is provided as part of the translation process, the team can work together to keep consistency in design when the text changes and ensure the finished product looks polished and professional.


Six factors that can impact the design of a document when translated

To understand the impact that the translation process has on a designed file and why specialist desktop publishing services are helpful, we share six examples of elements that can change:


1. Direction of text

Some other languages are written in a different direction, i.e., right to left. These include Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, Kurdish and Urdu. Meanwhile, languages such as Chinese, Korean and Japanese are written vertically, going from top to bottom. Designers need to understand how the translated words and characters should be placed before considering how to minimise any changes in design.


2. Length of text

Depending on the language, word length can be longer or shorter, which impacts how the design sits around it and the page layout. For example, Spanish can be up to 30% longer than English.


3. Fonts

With other languages sometimes using characters different to those found in English, they can require different fonts. DTP specialists will know which font to use and how to access it and use it within their design package.


4. Content pages and indexes

Although the aim is to minimise changes, the above factors may still influence the layout of the pages. Therefore, content pages and indexes must be reviewed and adapted appropriately.


5. Tables and graphs

As well as the text, any tables and graphs must also be reviewed and localised appropriately for the new target market. The linguist team will provide the translation. However, it is usually up to the designer to integrate the translations into these features and make adaptations where necessary.


6. Graphics and images

Any text within images or graphics should also be localised. Again, this would be a combined effort between the linguists and designers. Images may even need to be changed entirely if they are not culturally appropriate to the target market.

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Additional benefits of using a translation partner with a DTP solution

When a translation provider includes a DTP solution as part of their service, they will normally offer a final review stage, post translation and re-design. This process is referred to as linguistic sign-off and involves the linguists reviewing the designed file to ensure the translated text has been integrated correctly. By combining translation with desktop publishing and linguistic sign-off, you can be confident of receiving a professional, polished file that is ready to use and communicates your message successfully.


Mission Translate offers a DTP solution alongside our professional translation services, meaning we can provide you with a high-quality translation of any file type or design, delivered efficiently and conveniently.


To speak to our team about your specific requirements, please contact us at [email protected].

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