Translating catalogues is not easy. The decision to translate a product catalogue has a significant impact, not only on the content itself but also on the layout of the document. The reasons for this are often not taken into account when designing the original. If you’ll be producing your catalogue 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 accommodates only one language, you will have to adapt, maybe even re-design it, when you translate. 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.
This is particularly true if the design/layout is relatively rigid and inflexible. Often graphic designers are unaware of the challenges involved in setting up and maintaining multi-lingual documentation. And don’t forget that designers generally charge by the hour, so retroactively adapting your catalogue or, technical document, will generate significant expenses.
One of the techniques we use is to pay close attention to the early stages of design work. 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 within paragraphs.
Translating catalogues to multiple languages
If English is the source language of the document then all translations will occupy more space. Once we enter the realm of multilingual translations we sometimes find ourselves modifying various documents to accommodate various translations. Whereas the modification of the original document — which we would only need to do once — would have sufficed. It is often more efficient to modify the original document in anticipation of the translation.
It is factors such as these which should be taken into account by whoever is designing the document, and this is why it is essential for the language service provider to play an important role in document design.
Benefits to you
We are able to offer considerable savings to our customers by managing the DTP, as well as the translation(s) of a technical document:
- Reducing Time-to-market — as soon as the translations are ready, you can release your document. No more to-ing and fro-ing between designers, translators and project managers.
- Reducing Costs — you do not need to pay a graphic designer.
- Considerably reducing the Hassle! All you need to do is send us the document, and we’ll send it back… finished!
In addition, our translation software ensures that when you need to update the document, it will be easy! We understand that producing a ‘new’ version of a catalogue or technical document often doesn’t involve very much actual revision. We use (client-specific) translation memories and termbases. This means, we only translate text that has actually changed — rather than translating the whole thing from scratch. This, of course, saves you both time, and money.