DTP for translation services

Desktop Publishing Services


What is DTP?

Originally, DTP (Desktop Publishing) refers to the use of digital desktop and publishing software for laying out documents. In fact, DTP is a very broad term, and simultaneously requires a lot of analytical, technical and creative skills to achieve level of Excellence. The way documents are created and presented greatly affects their influence over target audience. Each element of a layout communicates a message, and the key is to make all elements together communicate the same message to an end user. Think of a layout as of an orchestra, where each instrument starts playing its own theme: this is how a document would look like without DTP or with poorly done DTP. Do you actually need desktop publishing services? Let's find out below.

Preflight and file prep Source re-creation as needed OCR clean-up as needed Typesetting Post DTP as needed Quality check Deliverables wrap-up
Preflight in DTP is making sure that source documents received from your Client are properly packaged and fully workable: those should include all fonts and complete linkage used in layout along with any special instructions about deliverables. It is also detected/confirmed in preflight that layout files can be opened, images are properly updated and of appropriate quality, and fonts display correctly.

To prevent overcharging for translating sometimes excessive patches of text which does not belong to a document – DTP also checks pasteboard area for unused elements and removes or locks those from translation. Preflight also includes simulating deliverables in all requested formats, troubleshooting possible issues, and adjusting original files accordingly. In preflight you develop a strategy for the job.
In translations, the biggest role of DTP is to prepare files for translation that there are no extra formatting tags, text flow interruptions or just suddenly large chunks of simply missing text (yep, this happens!) or cut-offs. Translation-quality depends on how a file is prepped: text is recognized and translated based on how is appears in IDMLs.

Proper file prep not only reduces greatly possibility of processing errors, but also allows further file manipulations if needed: global in-file adjustments, large text replacements and re-sizing of layout. Proper file prep makes final files Reusable, and depending on a scale of a project saves hours or even days to all teams involved in the process.
Routinely, workable layout files are far not always available from a client. Vast variety of odd sources is instead. This is when you turn to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to create your own source.

There are multiple ways to OCR. This can be easily done in Acrobat (do not forget to turn “Recognize text” option ON), for example. But neither software recreates back an original document, and what you normally have after OCR is a nice looking word document….. until you turn Invisibles ON. Forced column- and section-breaks, floating text boxes, artwork (if any) broken into series of strikes, etc.: OCR does a nice job to recognize your text, but only is capable of guess-work when it comes to other elements of layout. This is….:
When complex documents are OCRed output Word files usually look terrifying once you turn Invisibles ON, in these cases you would definitely need some formatting done to brush it all up and make sure that these layouts will not alter once repopulated with new text in your target-language. BOLD I Creative will perform formatting to make sureyour OCRed layout is clear of forced elements, is finalized using styles, utilizes live TOC (if any) and is available for any read-out-loud software.
OCR basically turns your document into a MS Word document, which after some work done can be used as is or sent for translation. But MS Word is not a layout software, and there are too many limitations. Thus, in most cases it is way more efficient to re-create a flexible document in InDesign: it gives you full control over layout, definitely more fonts options, and if you need it for some reason you can deliver your final artwork as an outlined (vector) product. Having a document as an IDML for translations also beneficial for the process of translation, especially when original source comes in formats, not supported by translation software.
Sometime (actually a lot of times), documents come in formats not supported by translation software, in those cases, simple typesetting approach is used to re-populate original artwork with new content in a target language. If re-populating is already done by translation software, DTP typesetting phase would be limited to making sure that all new content fits and fits properly, that correct fonts are used, image captions (if any) are in target language, and the entire document is properly styled and throughout consistent. To honor target market unique cultural heritage and cultural preferences, the most important phase then begins:
This is where you go creative and truly Bold. This is where you never stop learning, and where anything you have ever learned is finally at your service. There are endless nuances, big and tiny, and everything matters from choice of fonts and pictures to global layout orientation (Arabic or Hebrew right-to-left layouts) or general text orientation (Chinese or Japanese top-to-bottom text flow). This is where room for versioning is, and this is where BOLD I Creative is making all difference. In over 18 years of experience BOLD I Creative is proud of each dtp job ever completed.


Ⓒ 2019-2021 BOLD I Creative, LLC. BOLD Desktop Publishing for translation services. Hamburg, NJ 07419