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Another way for translation of InDesign CS2/CS3 files?
Thread poster: avsie

avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
English to French
+ ...
Feb 22, 2008

Hi all,

I'll try to make a very long story as short as possible. Our DTP department has recently migrated from InDesign CS to InDesign CS3, but unfortunately, we are still working with SDL Trados 2006 in combination with SDL TeamWorks 3.0. I'll spare you the technical bits, but the files we get for translation are CS3 files opened in CS2, then exported as INX from CS2.

We did some tests before making the permanent move and everything seemed to work to perfection. However, shortly after the migration, we have been PLAGUED with problems: either we get errors at clean-up/save as target, or the DTP person cannot re-import the translated INX file because of errors. Some errors were caused by the fact that a patch hadn't been applied to our Trados/TeamWorks environment, but since the patch has been installed, other errors have started to pop up. We have been harrassing people at SDL Support for more than 1 month, but they are very slow at responding and we are basically going nowhere. Downgrading to CS and going back to ISC isn't an option either...

My questions are: are there any ways of translating CS2/CS3 files OTHER than using the INX format? Does anybody knows the existence of plug-ins for CS2/CS3, such as CopyFlow for QuarkXpress? Is there a StoryCollector or equivalent for CS2/CS3?

Thank you very much in advance!

[Edited at 2008-02-22 08:15]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 23:59
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
SDL Trados 2007 Feb 22, 2008

is said to have lots of improvements for Indesign. Try the evaluation version. Others might have more to say about this, I hope.
Regards
Heinrich


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not an option Feb 22, 2008

Hi Heinrich,

Thanks, but we cannot do that at the moment, because of our TeamWorks environment. We could upgrade to v. 2007, but since TeamWorks isn't compatible yet with CS3 INX (and a new version won't be available until end of 2008, early 2009 from what I've heard) it wouldn't be able to handle the files anyway. And we cannot afford to work without TeamWorks, from a time and project management point of view...

This is the reason why we're looking into alternatives to the INX format!

Marie-Claude


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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 15:59
English to Spanish
Don't know InDesign, but... Feb 23, 2008

I have PageMaker 65 and... you could try what I did if InDesign allows you.

· Export the text to a .TXT file directly from InDesign.
· All tags must appear on the .txt file.
· Translate with TagEditor.
· Save target as...
· Open the resulting "target" file with Notepad, and save as .TXT.
· Finally, import to InDesign or simply place the text instead of the original.

It could work!

If you think my Adobe PageMaker "Story Collector" could be inserted to your InDesign Plugins, just ask. It might work too.



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xxxBrandis
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
a working solution... Feb 24, 2008

Continue processing InDesign cs2 files in trados and save back in cs2 and open in cs3 and save again. I have done it and it works. But there may be a few layout issues, if you have graphics etc., some manual adjustment would be needed.Brandis

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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Feb 29, 2008

It appears that we managed to fix some of the problems/error we were getting - that's a big relief. Some bugs are still popping up here and there, but at least we are getting somewhere...

Thanks to everyone for their comments, highly appreciated!


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Stefan Gentz
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
Prepare Documents / Simulate translation / Consider XML Mar 3, 2008

Marie-Claude Falardeau wrote:
ther we get errors at clean-up/save as target, or the DTP person cannot re-import the translated INX file because of errors.
[/quote]

Hello Marie,
Engineering InDesign files can be a pain for any TMS. Here at TRACOM we are engineering InDesign files for language service provider since version 1.5. Therefore we have a longstanding experience with it – from the old days with Story Collector up to today’s preferred processes with INX. And I can tell you, that sometimes the only solution is to "re-translate" the inx files with the TM.
The INX format is an XML-based representation of the InDesign document. While this is theoretically the best approach for the interface between InDesign and TRADOS (or any other TMS), the INX-Format is quite complex and can be hard to understand.
Actually SDL TRADOS 2007 with Service Pack 2 is more or less the best and most reliable solution available currently – as long as your InDesign documents are in a technically "perfect condition". "Perfect condition" means, that your documents should try to match the some "best practices" as close as possible. If your translators also follow some guidelines, everything should work.
Some things to consider:

  1. In InDesign do not use embedded graphics, but referenced graphics only. This keeps file size smaller and makes it more easy for the TRADOS converter to process the INX files.

  2. Use as little "stories" (aka "text boxes") as possible – try to use "connected" stories wherever possible.

  3. Make sure, that you have set up a professional catalog of (cascading) paragraph and character styles – and try to avoid manual / local formatting overrides wherever possible.

  4. Make sure you have no "overflow text" in your document.

  5. Do use only the Unicode based OpenType fonts. Try to find a fitting OpenType "Pro" font especially when you are also translating your documents into "non-western" languages. You should never ever use the outdated "Type1" Font format in the Unicode application InDesign – especially not if you are translating into "non-western languages.

  6. Clean up your documents before saving to INX: open the paragraph, character, object styles and color field palettes, execute the "select all unused" from each of their context menus and delete them.

  7. Clean up document history by using the "Save as copy..." command from the File menu. This can dramatically decrease InDesign file size and make it easier to process the file for the TMS.

  8. Please also try to save your InDesign files to INX and reopen the INX back in InDesign. This can further clean-up your document especially for legacy documents. In InDesign CS2 problematic documents often fail during save to INX or open INX. (Works better in CS3!)

  9. Advise Authors to never insert a soft or hard return within the middle of a sentence as this will create untranslatable, splitted segments in the TMS.

  10. Advise your translators to never ever use the "Shrink Segment" or "Expand Segment" function when translating InDesign documents.


Also it is a very good idea, to make a "simulation" of the translation process to verify if you can convert back the files after translation. To do this, please follow me on this:

  1. Open the Workbench.

  2. Create a new, empty Translation Memory.

  3. In the Workbench with the open Translation Memory go to > Tool > Translate and add your TTX file.

  4. Select (activate) the "Segment unknown sentences" checkbox.

  5. Press "Translate" button.


You will now get a pre-segmented TTX file. Open it in TagEditor. Open the "Replace" dialog (Ctrl+h) and type in e.g. "e" in the "Find what:" field and e.g. "XX" in the "Replace with:" field. Select (activate) the checkbox "Search target only". Execute with "Replace All". Now try to save this "fake translation" back to INX with > File > "Save target As...". If it works, you have a good chance that you documents will "survive" the translation process. If it fails, go back to step 1 in the beginning as there will be some other fundamental problems in your InDesign files.
 
 
An alternative approach: XML
Beside all these tips, tricks and best practices (which are only the tip of the iceberg), please also consider the following: If you work with INX or Tagged Text via CopyFlow (which is available for InDesign, too) you will always depend on tool vendors. Do they support the version of InDesign you are using? Do they offer attractive license models? Do they offer fast, reliable and affordable support? How are their tools working?
It's more than just a nice idea to consider the possibility to "free your content" and make your content (and company) independent from the authoring application (InDesign) and third party conversion tool vendors...
If your documents are technical manuals and follow a more or less structured architecture (in terms of content authoring and visual appearance) try to author in InDesign with XML. XML support is build into InDesign – you can even apply XSL transformations during export/import.
In an XML based authoring scenario, you could even think of possibilities like controlling if a section of the document is protected from translation (and word count analysis). Or think of more easy integration into Content Management Systems. And finally you would be more independence from the TMS-provider due to xml element names instead of proprietary TMS-specific tagging. And if you want to switch one day from InDesign to e.g. FrameMaker – no problem if you already have your content XML based in InDesign. It would be even possible to set up a scenario where some authors write in FrameMaker and others in InDesign and both could seamlessly share content.
You can contact me directly if your company is interested in this.

Kind regards,

Stefan Gentz
TRACOM OHG

[Bearbeitet am 2008-03-03 14:52]


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Upgrade not an option Mar 3, 2008

Hi Stefan,

Thanks for your message. There are interesting pointers in there, and we'll take those on board


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:59
English to Czech
+ ...
across Mar 4, 2008

I'll be repeating myself, because I posted this reply several times in the past here. As for InDesign files, my best experience is translating them with "across" (www.across.net), which is free for freelancers.
Never had any problems with export of the translated files back to INX. Unfortunately enough, the best practices as decribed by Stephan are followed by very few DTP agencies, so Trados becomes useless.


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Stefan Gentz
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
across? Mar 4, 2008

Hi Stanislav,

Marie-Claude was talking about a complex translation memory server scenario, so switching to a limited freelancer edition is probably not an option for her.

Besides, across has it's own drawbacks and I've seen quite some InDesign projects failing on across as well. For some InDesign files we even had only the chance to re-engineer them with Trados. However, I agree that across seems to be a little bit more "error tolerant" on some really ugly INX files or translator errors. Example: Where Trados TagEditor gives you explicit warnings if e.g. a tag error has occurred and asks you to fix it first (because otherwise this can have fierce side effects in your customer's InDesign file later), across let you write back the file with out any warning (or simply fails without a warning alternatively). Your InDesign files looks messed up due to missing segment internal tags? Ups. Doesn't care! At least we can write back, where TRADOS stops with a warning message.
Let's face it: Both across and trados have their problems with the ugly inx format and you're the lucky guy if you never ever had any problems with INX and across… When it's about InDesign both tools simply could be better.

Besides, the best practices I have outlined above are general recommendations to create technically clean and perfect InDesign documents. I do not see why recommendations to create proper documents make a translation memory tool "useless" just because it might fail on some ugly files where these practices were not applied.
Of course I know – perhaps no one better than me – that only very few people create "perfect documents". But why not give for the rest a few general recommendations on how to fix the root of the problem? I guess that's finally more useful than just pointing to another tool out of context.

Kind regards,
Stefan Gentz

P.S.: I'm wondering how long the freelance edition will be "free"? I would be surprised if they would survive the next years only by selling a handful of expensive server licenses…


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Stefan ;-) Mar 7, 2008

You are absolutely right in everything you just said in your last post - switching to another tool isn't quite what we are looking for. We are/were mostly looking for another tool or solution to create files for translation, tools like CopyFlow, ECM, etc. Maybe I should have been more specific in my message.

The culprit of one error we were getting was a simple little "", a remnant of the CS/Story Collector workflow. This character is everywhere in our TM and by mistake, we sometimes forgot to remove this character when translating the same sentence in an INX-based file. We'd get a 98% match but if you don't pay attention, it's easy to leave it in the target segment. InDesign CS2/CS3 wouldn't recognise it when importing the INX file and give us an 'Invalid character reference' error. We have now completely cleaned our TMs of every single "", so this error shouldn't be happening anymore

The other error we're getting is about a 'Resource tag', which seems to appear randomly so far. SDL told us this week that a patch will be coming within the next 3-4 months, so we just need to be patient I guess

The 'best practices' recommendations are much appreciated and surely something we will look into!

Thanks everyone for your help!


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Marco Cevoli  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Use Sysfilter for InDesign Mar 20, 2008

Hi:

Have a look at SysFilter (ECM Engineering):
http://www.ecm-engineering.de/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23_31&products_id=31

From their website:
«Sysfilter for Indesign® provides you with the ability to transfer text from your Indesign files to a text processing program of your choice or to XML. After translation, the text can be imported automatically into the original document.

Highlights
• Automatic text transfer to XML, to MS Word and other text processing programs
• Translation of texts by using any desired XML-Editor and most common translation environment tools
• Compatible with Macintosh: Mac INX xml
• Compatible with CJK Windows XP-Versions (Chinese, Japanese, Korean)
• Compatible with Windows Vista
• Full support of inline frames and complex formattings
• Many file administration features assist your project management activities
• For the INX XML Export and Import neither Indesign nor Word have to be installed on your PC
• Compatible to Adobe Indesign® 2.0, 3.0 (CS), CS2 (4) or CS3 (5)»

Hope it helps

Regards
Marco


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