Desktop Publishing: Should You Do It Yourself?

While managing your more complex translation projects that include graphs and images, you may find yourself wondering how to put the finalized product back together. If you request the translation of a travel brochure, for example, it is not as simple as copying the text of the translation and pasting it into a text box. The target language may be shorter or longer than the source text, which could impact how it fits inside the brochure or how the text wraps around any photos that may be on the pages. There may also be text within the photos that needs to be translated and rearranged to fit within it as well. Ensuring that the layout of the translated brochure matches the source brochure is important to delivering a worthy finalized product to your customers. If the brochure looks sloppy or poorly put together, you run the risk of losing the customers you’re intending to reach by translating it. Your customers are more likely to be drawn to an appealing layout, so it is essential that the layout match the original, and this can be handled through a process called Desktop Publishing (DTP).

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This process is simplified by using a specific type of computer software designed to rearrange all of the text and graphics or images to design the project and fit a specified layout. Deciding whether or not your company has someone to work on the layout of such projects after translation is an important step in the translation process itself. A person well versed in DTP is able to use this software to quickly and easily produce the brochure that may take someone else hours or days to do without this specialized software. While word processing applications have added features that make minor DTP options more accessible and user friendly (adding tables, graphs, or word art, for example), these applications are not capable of doing other, more complicated tasks. And if they are, it is much more difficult to manipulate the layout without professional software.

If your company does not have someone in office who can tackle this step, the translation company assigned to your project should be able to handle the DTP step or determine an appropriate resource for you. Many linguists offer this as part of their services when the DTP task is minor. However, the more complex the layout of the project, the more likely it is that you’ll need someone who specializes in DTP to handle it as a separate step. If you have any questions about whether or not your project may require this extra step, please reach out to the project manager assisting you with the translation.