How to save money on Desktop Publishing (DTP)?

There's a variety of costs that can be avoided in DTP when translating. Read all about it!

Too often, translation involves desktop publishing costs, but one simple rule guarantees the lowest DTP costs possible – always translate the original editable file.

What is an original editable file?

I’ll try to explain this by showing what’s not an original editable file – PDF, for example. PDF is always created and exported from some other program. It can be Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe InDesign, AutoCAD, or any other. So, every PDF file regardless of how simple it first has to be converted to some editable file format in order to be translated. Therefore, sending a file from which you have created that PDF is always a better and way cheaper option since you will avoid paying for this conversion and unnecessary DTP work.

Unfortunately, it often happens that you simply do not have that original file. It got lost somehow or you never had it in the first place. Since you have just read that it’s cheaper to translate editable files, you might try converting that PDF with some PDF->DOC tool and send that for translation. That is not the best thing to do either.

Note about PDF conversion tools

There are many conversion tools but none of them does a great job in recreating a file that can be translated with CAT tools. Yes, it can recreate a visually great file. Everything looks like it should. But after a bit more detailed inspection, you will find out that the text itself does not behave as it should. Sentences are broken in hundreds of places, strange characters are inserted, words are in strange frames all around – in one word, a proper mess. This is not usable for translation or any bigger editing task and it does not make the DTP costs any lower. In fact, it even makes them even higher.

So if you have nothing but PDF file, then you can send it for translation. But the converting process will have to be handled by professional desktop publishing people. Therefore, always do your best to send an editable and original file. It will always produce better results for smaller costs.

Other tips for lowering DTP costs

Now, is there any other way to lower DTP costs, even if you have the original editable file? Yes, there is. First thing is to make sure that all text which should be translated is editable. If you have text within some picture, for example, make sure that you extract it and put it in text boxes or in a separate file.

Also, it often happens that you want to visually arrange a part of the text in a different way. So you press Enter where you wanted the sentence to break, hit a bunch of spaces to align some text and similar. You should avoid doing that – it breaks sentences into multiple segments (in CAT tools) and creates problems for translators. This usually results in incorrect translation and more work for the DTP department. To visually arrange the text to your liking, use editing options that are always at your disposal: indents, margins, different tabs, spacing, tables and similar.

In a nutshell, our recommendation is that you avoid sending PDF files for a translation and always make sure that your editable files are formatted properly. This will save you lots of money on DTP and still result in better-translated files.

Marek Piorkowski Marek Piorkowski
Written By:

Marek is the founder and CEO of Text United. He closely follows global developments in the translation industry.

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