Have you ever contacted a translation agency and someone asked you if you require DTP services? What exactly is Desktop publishing (DTP), when is it required and why is it important for translation? Find answers to this and many other questions in an interview with our long-time DTP manager, Marija Djilas.
First of all, since there is a lot of confusion about what DTP really stands for, could you explain it in a bit more detail and tell us what this term really means?
In our case, DTP represents the processing of documents both before and after the translation. Each document is prepared according to strict formatting rules, in such a way that all of the text contained in the document can be translated using CAT tools.
What it means?
There are 2 types of formats we get from clients.
Editable – Word, InDesign, FrameMaker, PowerPoint …
Uneditable (read-only text) – PDF, JPEG, TIFF …
Computer-assisted translation requires that the document to be translated is editable. This means that it is necessary for the text to be accessed. We need a « live » text that can be edited. When a client delivers such a document to us, there is usually no job for our team (in the pre-translation stage). Otherwise, the DTP team is here to handle all the challenges.
When a client contacts a translation agency asking for a translation quote, when and in which cases is DTP mandatory?
When it deals with uneditable formats (PDF, JPEG, TIFF …) or when parts that cannot be edited appear inside the editable format. For example, a Word file or a PowerPoint file that contains non-editable graphics with text. PDF is one of the most commonly encountered formats. In order to be able to prepare an offer for this type of document at all, the team must « revive » it. Using the best OCR (optical character recognition) software, we convert PDF files to Word files. After that, the team checks each page in detail in order to enable it to reach the total number of words, which is used as a basis for project managers to prepare the best offer for the client.
– Preparation of documents in a way that enables the project managers to prepare a quote for the client as quickly as possible.
– Preparation of documents for translation.
Creating editable documents that visually and fully match the original (pdf, jpg …). Each word must be identical to that in the original so that our formatting does not affect the quality of the translation.
It is only after making sure that each paragraph, each title, each table and each image is in the right place, usually in a Word file, that you can access the translation.
The quality of the translation, among other things and to a large extent, also depends on the quality of the translation preparation.
– Post-formatting of documents after translation
In the post-formatting phase, the task of the DTP team is to make sure that all the text is translated, by comparing the translated document and the original. By carefully checking each page, we make sure that everything is in place. If necessary, we make small (or larger) corrections in order to ensure that the translated document retains the quality of the original, visually as well.
You have been working for flexword’s DTP team for quite some time now and, as its lead manager, could you describe what a usual day looks like and what the main challenges of your job are?
In the DTP team every day is very dynamic. Every day and every project brings a new challenge. These range from projects with just one page to those with 1000 and more pages. For large projects, the challenge is to estimate the time it takes to prepare it for translation or post-formatting. Two things are crucial: quality and speed. One does not go without the other. Our goal is always the same – to deliver a quality file to the client in the shortest possible time.
Good organisation is most important. Since most people in the team have been here for many years, I can say that we often bounce off each other. Also, new colleagues quickly catch up, because it is easy to learn and work in a good atmosphere. The aim is to transfer the same knowledge to all members of the team, to provide the same training and, through examples and our previous experiences, to point out possible problems with certain types of projects.
Why is it important that the tasks within the team are carried out in the same way and following the same rules?
Because only in this way we can ensure consistency in service quality. Every project needs to leave the same impression … the best possible one.
In the end, would you give any advice to our future clients on how to prepare files in order to cut translation costs?
Keep the original document formats (if available, of course). For example, it often happens that clients provide us with PDF documents originally created in InDesign, because they cannot find the Indesign file or simply do not have it for some reason. When dealing with a PDF file, the DTP team has to completely prepare it for translation in Word, which, depending on the size of the file and how complicated it is, may take more hours. Therefore, the editable version is very important, because it does not require any intervention in 99% of cases, and this can greatly reduce your costs.
Author: Ivana Dronjak