In recent years, an increasingly globalised marketplace has led to a greater need for translating business documentation. This production process includes desktop publishing — the design and layout for translation — and typically involves three parties:
- the author of the copy (the technical writer or marketing manager, for example)
- the designer of the layout (either from an internal design department, or external communications agency)
- the translator of the content (either an in-house translator, or an external language service provider)
This traditional process is effective to an extent but is open to various complications and pitfalls. Professional language service providers such as QuickSilver have therefore begun to adopt a more integrated approach to design and translation, in which the process is streamlined to leverage strengths and reduce overall costs.
Design issues to consider
If you’ll be producing your document in two or more languages, it is cost-efficient to consider this from the start. Different languages take up different amounts of space — often very different amounts, as is the case with English and Spanish, for example.
For this reason, if your design has considered only one language, you will have to adapt, maybe even re-design it, to accommodate the translation. For example, imagine you have a two page spread in Spanish, but the English translation only takes up one page. Or, even worse, the other way round, and you need to insert an extra page to accommodate the Spanish text.
Another important factor is to ensure that the text ‘flows’; that the format accepts text segments of varying length; and that you avoid the use of manual line breaks within paragraphs.
For these, and other reasons, we believe that the language service provider (LSP) should be involved in the process from the outset.
Integrated design and layout service
The integrated approach adopted by QuickSilver is an end-to-end process which consolidates all elements of a translation project into one continuous workflow: thus combining Desktop publishing (DTP) software and processes, with state-of-the-art translation software. We offer:
- Optimised processes for the creation, re-creation and maintenance of professionally laid out documents and websites
- File preparation, to ensure that the translation process is smooth and efficient.
- Creation of multilingual, technical documentation
- Re-creation of PDF files to same resolution (for printing or web publication)
- Multilingual PDFs – a single file containing all translations – simply click to select your language.
- Expertise in interface between DTP software and Translation Memory (TM) software
- On-going maintenance of client-produced documents and websites
- File conversion (e.g. QuarkXpress to Adobe InDesign)
- Expertise in the linguistic capabilities of different DTP packages
- Expertise in typographic issues
- Version control
Thinking of translation, and the design and layout for translation, as two sides of the same coin is the most cost-effective approach to ensuring high-quality multilingual documentation.
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