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Design and Desktop Publishing (DTP)

It’s easy to think that translation is just words, but translating professional documents also entails design and desktop publishing. When you render a document with text, images, graphs and charts into another language, you must consider both format and layout. For example, sometimes a layout might need to be adjusted to accommodate translated text, or the format may need conversion from older software.

If you are translating plain text in MS Word, this is not a big issue. However, professional documentation is usually created in specialised programs such as InDesign, PowerPoint, or various other graphics programs. In this case, design and desktop publishing (DTP) could make a significant impact on the price and flow of the project.

This process normally involves three parties:

Author (Client)

The author of the copy:
An internal marketing manager or external copywriter.


The designer of the layout:
An internal design department or external communications agency.


The translator of the content:
An internal translation department or external language service provider.

In the past, the only way to translate text in a format such as InDesign or PowerPoint, was for the translator to be a licensed user and overwrite the original text (copy-and-paste): a laborious and error-prone process. This traditional process is effective to an extent but is slow and open to various complications and pitfalls.

Integrated approach

As a result, QuickSilver has adopted a more integrated approach to design, desktop publishing and translation, in which the process is streamlined to improve efficiency and reduce overall costs. This integrated approach consolidates all elements of a translation project into one continuous workflow, combining DTP software and processes, with state-of-the-art translation software.

Thinking of translation and DTP as two sides of the same coin is the most cost-effective approach to ensuring high-quality multilingual documentation. We offer:

  • Optimised processes for the creation, re-creation and maintenance of documents and websites
  • Creation of multilingual documentation (Multilingual PDFs)
  • Re-creation of PDF files in high resolution, ie. for printing, as well as online use.
  • Expertise in the interface between DTP and Translation Memory (TM) software
  • 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 regional and language-specific typographic standards and norms.
  • Version control


We can deliver your completed documents to you in any format: the original format (e.g. an InDesign Package), PDF, Multilingual PDF (all language versions in a single, interactive PDF — simply click a button to select which language you prefer to read) or press-ready print files.

Advanced DTP software

Our software first extracts your text and imports it into our Computer Aided Translation software. After translation, the completed, translated text is then re-inserted back into your original document — maintaining your fonts, layout, formatting, etc. In addition, the software we use gives us all the advantages of consistency and efficiency for one-off translations, and even more so when we undertake numerous translations for the same customer. Our process helps eliminate the risk of human error through manual intervention (for example, cut-and-paste mistakes) as well as avoiding the danger inherent in trusting regional- and language-specific typography to design specialists who are most likely unfamiliar with the foreign language in question.

This method enables us to return a document which is as close as possible to the original in terms of layout and formatting.

Keep in mind, however, the varying typographical conventions and space requirements for various languages. French, for example, has quite unexpected punctuation rules and German hyphenation is a world of its own! Some East Asian scripts can be written horizontally or vertically, whilst Hebrew and Arabic are written right to left, which calls for special typesetting techniques. The entire process is also made easier if a few simple points are taken into account. For instance, it is important that the text ‘flows’, that the format accepts text segments of varying length and that you avoid the use of manual line breaks in the middle of paragraphs.

QuickSilver Translate can work with any major format, including:

Design & layout tools

Adobe InDesign
Adobe Illustrator
Quark XPress, etc.

MS Office tools


Web-based formats


Outdated and unsuitable software

Some graphic-specific programs can complicate the process: Illustrator or its predecessor Freehand, for example, will considerably increase the time and cost of text processing. It is sometimes quicker to recreate the entire document in a more suitable format. We are, of course, able to convert older files (e.g. Freehand, Coral Draw, Quark XPress, Ventura or PageMaker) into more versatile, newer formats.

In conclusion, Quicksilver Translate can assist you with all your linguistic, translation and editing needs.

Contact us for more information, or a quote.