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Why Desktop Publishing Is Important For Translations?

Desktop Publishing

You may send a translation project to a professional translation agency that advises you to add Desktop Publishing (DTP) to your project in addition to the typical translation, editing, and proofreading. You may be wondering, why I need a language service provider to perform my desktop publishing. Working with a professional language service provider that has professional multilingual desktop publishers is the best way to guarantee that the translation you invested in is best presented to your target audience as intended.  Translation and Desktop publishing are two sides of the same coin. Even the best translation without the proper layout will lack an appealing impact on the target audience.

In this article, we will cover most of the aspects related to Desktop Publishing; what is meant by Desktop Publishing, the value added to the translated materials with Desktop Publishing, how the process works, and Common Desktop Publishing Challenges.

What Is Desktop Publishing (DTP)?

Desktop publishing, also known as DTP, is a professional service among translation and localization services that are offered by language service providers. It is an integral part of the translation process, typically, one of the final phases in a translation or localization project. DTP deals with the redesign or formatting of a translated document using page layout software on a desktop computer. DTP is a crucial part of the workflow to ensure finished and high-quality deliverables and professional-looking publications, specifically when translating marketing materials like posters, flyers, newsletters, brochures, booklets, and so on.

A DTP specialist uses a set of different programs and tools to ensure that high quality is maintained. They must possess advanced skills in programs such as MS Office, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Captivate, Adobe FrameMaker, AutoCAD, PageMaker, QuarkXpress, Canava, Final Cut, and any other software related to Desktop Publishing services. They need also to have a good overall knowledge of CAT tools such as SDL Trados Studio and MemoQ, as well as experience in DTP for the translation/localization industry so that they understand how to support and help translators and developers. All DTP professionals must be detail-oriented to ensure that the final documents have no design flaws, no text going outside of parameters, or any other issues.

What Is The Importance Of DTP?

Desktop Publishing ensures multilingual materials look professional in every language. Since different languages use different numbers of characters and words to say the same thing, It is important to leverage the DTP service. This is primarily because the volume of text used varies when translating between different languages. Sometimes it is as little as 10%, but text can expand or contract by up to 40% in some cases. If DTP translation is not used, this change can make the formatting of your documents look visually unbalanced, and therefore potentially less professional.

Having an in-house DTP team is a great benefit because they add an extra layer of quality assurance in the translation process and take the quality of the translated material to the next level. DTP specialists have great knowledge and the kind of expertise needed in design so that linguists can devote their full attention to the translation, while DTP specialists care about matters related to formatting and design.   

What Are The Common Desktop Publishing Challenges?

  • Text length

The source text (original document) and the target text (translated document) often vary in terms of length. Text expansion issues are common challenges with complex language. Some languages take up more space than others, and the Spanish language, for example, takes up more space compared to the English language. The role of DTP experts is to make sure that the design and readability of the document remain optimal, even when the language takes up more space. That is why multilingual DTP services are important to ensure the final design complements the length of the text.  

  • Right-to-left (RTL) languages

Most languages are written from the left to the right (LTR) side of the page. While languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu are read and written in the opposite direction – from right to left (RTL). RTL languages pose different kinds of challenges and they require special attention during localization and are a little bit hard to localize. They require skillful DTP experts who have wide experience and are armed with the latest DTP tools.

  • Using the right font

Some fonts work best in specific languages but fail to work in others, may be this is due to that certain characters aren’t supported, for instance. It’s not always possible to use the exact same font for every language, which could be a challenge when trying to keep branding consistent. However, professional desktop publishing services can provide various options and find the right style for your text.

  • Images and graphics

Localizing graphics and images is another challenge that you should take into account when doing desktop publishing. Some images or illustrations in the source file may not be culturally suitable for regional audiences, especially in terms of colors. For instance, red is in favor in many Asian countries while white and black are considered as bad luck or death. Therefore, changing the colors or finding new images is highly recommended.

Besides, in many situations during the DTP process, the pictures might not be displayed properly in software, resulting in desktop publishers spending a great deal of time finding replacements. The resolution of images also has to match that of other sections in the file. Otherwise, the printed file will be inconsistent in quality.

How Does the DTP Process Work?

The DTP phase comes usually at the end of the project management process. After the linguists do their role and complete the translation, the project manager sends the documents to a DTP professional to import the translated text and work on the design. The goal of this crucial phase is to mirror the formatting of the source file, taking care of numerical formats and ensuring that they reflect the local currency, time, and date. DTP specialists work also on the images and graphics, making sure that they are appropriately localized to the target language.

However, DTP specialists can also work before the translation phase begins, as they prepare documents to be imported into CAT tools. If the documents come in a non-editable format, like images or graphics with text, DTP specialists can extract the text, and once it is translated, they re-insert the text into the images or graphics, retaining the original format. Hence, DTP is a process that can take place before or/and after translation. Upon DTP completion, the linguist performs a post-layout review to make sure that everything is in its place and mirrors exactly the original document.

Wrap up

The importance of desktop publishing (DTP) is undeniable to any translation project with high content of graphics and visual elements. If you need professional Desktop Publishing services for your translation projects, you can contact LatinoBridge which provides DTP services that cater to Latin American languages; Latin American Spanish, German, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Argentine Spanish, and Aymara. Our solutions ensure full customization of fonts, colors, graphs, images, etc. Eliminate language and cultural barriers, expand your reach globally, and build customer trust with LatinoBridge translation services and Its DTP experts.


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