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If you have ever requested document translation services, there is a good chance that there was an extra charge for DTP services in your quote. But what is DTP and why is it so important for translations?
What is DTP?
DTP stands for Desktop Publishing and is the creation of documents using page layout skills. In a translation context, DTP comes after the translation, editing and proofreading stage and it is the formatting of the localized text in order to match the source text.
No matter how good the translation quality is, a file with truncations, layout inconsistencies or even small typos can seriously affect the image of your brand. This is even more important in cases of high visibility content such as Marketing Brochures, Packaging, Instructions for Use, Newsletters etc.
Today, Desktop Publishing can be performed on a number of different source files such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW files and more.
What does Desktop Publishing include?
Depending on the file format, the DTP stage can include the following:
- Layout check of localized document to insure it reflects styles, format, layout guidelines, fonts etc. of source language documents
- Check for untranslated text on images or in the body
- Scan the document for proper hyperlink functionality
- Check for no cut-off translations or hidden/overlapping text behind images
- Αdjusting the layout to accommodate text expansion/reduction
- Formatting of bullets, numbering, boxes, graphics etc.
- Capturing localized graphics/screenshots to be included in an e.g. localized user guide
- Localizing graphics, including translation and editing in the appropriate application (e.g. Photoshop, etc.).
- Regenerating the Table of contents
What is Linguistic Sign-Off (LSO)?
After the DTP stage and depending on the document, another step usually follows. This is the Linguistic Sign-Off (LSO) and during that step we make sure that the final localized and formatted file is checked by another pair of eyes to ensure correctness in both language and layout. After that step, the created file is ready to print/use.
Desktop Publishing by translators vs designers
You might be asking yourself; why should I have the translation company perform the dtp? We have an inhouse designing team at my company, can’t they do it?
The answer is simple. The DTP specialists working at translation companies are experienced in handling multilingual content. They are trained in using multiple platforms and file formats in multiple languages and scripts. They can easily handle European languages, double-byte Asian languages as well as right-to-left languages such as Arabic or Hebrew.
Your designers might feel reluctant to hand off the designing work to a translation agency but it is important to understand that not all designers are qualified to work in other languages. Not being familiar with the norms and conventions of a language can create more confusion and mistakes. Instead of saving time and money, this can result in more expenses for your company.
Moreover, as previously mentioned, after the DTP stage, the language service provider will pass on the file to a linguist for a final linguistic check, the LSO, making sure that the final file looks and feels as if it was initially created for the intended target language market.