Creating and maintaining multilingual documentation is not as simple as many people think. The actual translation of the text is a significant part, but should not be treated as a sub-procedure independent of the rest of the process: copying and pasting translated text into your original layout (unless you are completely fluent in that language and are familiar with language-specific typographic rules) can create problems.
If you are planning to release the same catalogue in two or more different languages, the most cost-efficient way to do it is to bear this in mind from square one. Different languages take up different amounts of space – often very different amounts, as is the case with English and Chinese, for example.
For this reason, if you design the catalogue to accommodate only one language, then you will have to do a huge amount of adapting and re-designing when you come to translate it. Imagine you have a two page spread in Spanish, and the English translation only takes up one page. Or, even worse, that it is the other way round, and you need to insert an extra page to accommodate the Spanish.
This is particularly true if the desktop publishing (DTP) is relatively rigid and inflexible. Many graphic designers tend to work in this way, as they are generally 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 will generate significant expenses.
For these and other reasons, at QuickSilver we believe that the language service provider (LSP) should be involved in DTP work from the outset.
One of the techniques we use is to pay close attention to the early stages of design work. During pre-processing, 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.
By taking control of the DTP as well as the translation(s) of a catalogue, QuickSilver is able to pass considerable savings on to our customers:
– Time-to-market is reduced, because as soon as the translations are ready, it can be released: no more to-ing and fro-ing of emails between designers, translators and project managers.
– Costs are reduced, because you do not need to pay a graphic designer
– Hassle is reduced, because all you need to do is send us the document to be designed and translated, and we’ll send it back – finished!
In addition, our state-of-the-art translation software means that, when you come to revise your catalogue, we only translate the updates you make, rather than the entire document.
We understand that producing a ‘new’ version of a catalogue often involves very little actual revision. By using translation software, we are able to save you money and time by working on only what has actually been changed in your new version, rather than translating the whole thing from scratch.