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Cost saving: translating powerpoint

Customers often assume that when we translate a PowerPoint Presentation (PPT), slide by slide, directly in the source file. This is indeed how it would have been done ten years ago, before the advent of Computer Assisted Translation software and Translation Memories (TM).

These days, however, QuickSilver Translate makes use of specialised software, which searches a PPT and extracts the text into an editable format. If the text is, in fact, a link to an Excel file, say, then we would need to do the same thing to that as well.

Having extracted the text, we then translate it using a TM. This gives us all the advantages of consistency and efficiency, both for one-off translations, and even more so when we undertake numerous translations over time for the same customer. TM saves them time, money and hassle, and ensures the highest possible quality of translation.

The translated text is then put back into the PPT, and there the story ends – or, at least, it would do, if the every text string in the translation had precisely the same number of characters as the source. Of course, this is never the case, and adjustments to the formatting therefore need to be made at each point. We refer to this process as tweaking.

Experienced users of PowerPoint know how to put together slides in such a way that they will accommodate any translations of the text – (very) basically, by leaving enough space. Unfortunately, many people put together PPTs in a rather ad hoc way, which means that a significant amount of tweaking is needed to fit a translation. Remember that a Spanish translation generally occupies around 20% more space than the equivalent text in English: if the slide is already full of text or images, then it requires considerable thought, work and re-design to make space for that extra 20%.

This explains why the cost of translating PPT can vary considerably: a lack of experience in designing PPT with translation in mind often ends up costing more money and taking considerably more time.

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