Top Ten Tips for Translating Page Layouts (DTP)

The team at ASIST Translations has a wealth of experience, adapting our client’s design and page layout projects to many different foreign languages. Here are a few tips we have learned along the way, that will help streamline the process of translating your page layouts to other languages.

  1. Word counts in translated text frequently increase by as much as 25%. Be sure to leave enough “white space” in your layout to accommodate this.
  2. Indicate exactly which version number of the page-layout (DTP) program you’re using, and whether the document was created on Macintosh or Windows.
  3. If linked graphic files contain text requiring translation, be sure to include them along with the layout, in editable form! Also indicate which program (and version) was used to create these secondary files. As with the main layout itself, bear in mind that when English callout text barely fits in a figure, the translated version probably won’t unless resized.
  4. Be sure to always include all required fonts when submitting a project for translation to a foreign language. Also be aware that some fonts don’t support all the diacritical marks required for certain languages; Central European languages in particular can have this issue with many of the more “decorative” fonts. Obviously, many Asian languages will require specific fonts, and ASIST will alert you of this accordingly.
  5. Use actual paragraph formatting to create hanging indents and bullet lists, rather than placing returns and multiple tabs on each line to simulate the same effect! Because line breaks and hyphenation in the translation won’t correspond to the English anyway, eliminating such unnecessary characters saves time and money in the creation of your foreign-language layouts.
  6. Any review of a translation by in-house personnel (in your foreign office, for example) should be made on the MS Word file using the “track changes” feature—before any translated text is formatted within your layout.
  7. The ASIST team needs to know the preferred and permissible options for making your translated text fit. For example, are there any corporate or regulatory requirements, minimum point size and line spacing, or any graphics that absolutely cannot be reduced in size?
  8. Be sure to review your content prior to translation. Identify any contact information that may require changes for the international version; for example, mailing addresses or toll-free numbers that may not be valid for customers outside the USA and Canada.
  9. Some design and desktop publishing programs don’t properly support Asian fonts or right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. In some cases, once the final translation has been approved we can convert the text to outlines so that you can still open the layout file. Obviously, if your company is going to create many translated documents, support for non-Latin fonts may be an important factor for choosing the program that should be used for creating the layouts in the first place.
  10. Tables can be especially tricky, because of the greater length of many translated terms. Leaving plenty of extra column width—or even breaking the information into two separate tables if necessary— can avoid reducing the translated text to very small point sizes.

ASIST Translation Services, Inc. is a full-service translation agency located in Columbus, Ohio. We provide translation, interpreting, proofreading, voice recording and media production, localization of interactive and Web content, and specialized language services to clients around the world…

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