Starting off with Quark Xpress - what to buy?
Thread poster: Dr Andrew Read

Dr Andrew Read  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:58
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
Mar 17, 2004

Dear colleagues,

I am getting a lot of good leads in from clients in the publishing industry, having done projects mainly for agencies up to now.

It looks as if my new publisher clients will want to send me Quark files for me to "pour" the text back into the same format, ready for printing/publishing.

I've not used Quark before, so have no copy of it and am a PC rather than a MAC user.

My questions are:
- Can I get away with buying a 2nd hand copy of Quark Xpress, for example version 4.1? To buy a new copy of version 6.0 is very expensive (around GBP1000!).
- Will I be able to continue working on a PC, not a MAC?
- I share an office with another translator; will we need to get one copy each? Any tips here?
- I am PC-literate and use Trados, DV, etc, but not experienced in DTP. Will I be able to teach myself Quark using, say, a "for Dummies" book, or will I need to pay for a training course (which I can ill afford at the moment)? Any tips for getting up to speed quickly?
- Any general thoughts/experiences on starting off using Quark Xpress and/or doing work direct for publishers from other Quark-proficient translators?

Thanks for your help!


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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:58
Member (2003)
German to English
Depends on the clients' needs Mar 17, 2004

Andrew Read wrote:
- Can I get away with buying a 2nd hand copy of Quark Xpress, for example version 4.1? To buy a new copy of version 6.0 is very expensive (around GBP1000!).


Maybe, but probably not. Same issues as with word processors, or TRADOS--if they're working with a higher version, your old version won't do squat


- Will I be able to continue working on a PC, not a MAC?


Quark is out there for the PC now, it's fine.


- I share an office with another translator; will we need to get one copy each? Any tips here?


Don't know the answer on this one.


- I am PC-literate and use Trados, DV, etc, but not experienced in DTP. Will I be able to teach myself Quark using, say, a "for Dummies" book, or will I need to pay for a training course (which I can ill afford at the moment)? Any tips for getting up to speed quickly?


It's a somewhat different world than word processors, but not viciously so. Pick up a good dummies book (back when I learned quark, almost 10 years ago, the books from Peachtree Press were the best. May still be). If you live near a good public library or university, they probably will have some books on Quark. Unless you are going to design in quark yourself, you shouldn't need a class.


- Any general thoughts/experiences on starting off using Quark Xpress and/or doing work direct for publishers from other Quark-proficient translators?


Get a book and try designing some of your own things--greeting cards, or a newsletter for your business, whatever. The process of learning Quark is kind of like learning Photoshop. Doing basic photo work isn't hard, and that's probably all you'll need to do. Getting to the next level is a bear, though.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2004-03-17 19:25]


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:58
German to English
+ ...
a bit more Mar 17, 2004

Most of your questions have been adequately answered, but I can add the following:

1. Yes, your version should be at least as high as that of your client(s). Ask them what they're using (not everybody uses the latest version; it's expensive for them too...).

2. Besides outrageous pricing, Quark also has a fairly stiff licensing policy. Basically, you will need a separate copy for every concerrent user (that means more than one person can use a given copy, but only one at a time). Essentially, Quark wants you to have a license for every computer running XPress. You can buy a group (network) license, but you might want to ask about taking out a second mortage first.

3. If you know someone in the US, it's significantly cheaper there. Of course, Quark is not amused if you buy Quark in the US for use elsewhere (they claim it's illegal), and you'll get absolutely no support for a grey-market product.

4. I found XPress very easy to learn. Once you understand the basic concepts, it's quite intuitive, and it's highly predictable and stable (much better than Word). Of course, there are a lot of fine points in the details, but for basic work you should be up and running quite quickly. The documentation for the version I bought (3.2, quite a few years ago) was excellent, but that may no longer be true.

5. You should be aware that Quark has a long- standing policy of encouraging third-party extensions that augment its native capabilities (or put the other way around, many functions you or your client may consider desirable or even essential are not part of the basic package and have to be purchased separately). The XPress extensions business is a thriving industry, and most of the extensions are priced in line with XPress itself.

PS: Regarding the US vs International versions: for the Mac at least, the US version will (or at least would in the OS7/8/9 days) only run under a US version of the operating system. I don't know what the situation is with XPress on a Windows machine.

[Edited at 2004-03-17 20:59]


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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:58
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Quark & OS Mar 18, 2004

Kenneth Cox wrote:
PS: Regarding the US vs International versions: for the Mac at least, the US version will (or at least would in the OS7/8/9 days) only run under a US version of the operating system. I don't know what the situation is with XPress on a Windows machine.


The US version of Quark 5.0 will run under a "foreign" Windows version, but you will have to set the locale to US.


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Roberta Anderson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:58
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
a few things to consider Mar 18, 2004

Andrew Read wrote:

- Can I get away with buying a 2nd hand copy of Quark Xpress, for example version 4.1?

The version you buy will depend on the version used by your clients: although a newer version can open a file from an older version (but I do not know how far back compatibility works), older versions cannot open newer files. Also, cross-platform compatibility is usually restricted to the same version.

- Will I be able to continue working on a PC, not a MAC?

There is cross-platform compatibility; but I think this is limited to the same version. One of the major cross-platform issue is about fonts: your layout (and how it will look when opened on the Mac by your clients) will depend greatly on the original fonts used; if your client works on the Mac, he may not be able to supply you with the correct fonts and that will be an extra responsibility for you - making sure you use the correct fonts; changing fonts involves text reflow and the layout may get messed up when changing platform.

- I am PC-literate and use Trados, DV, etc, but not experienced in DTP. Will I be able to teach myself Quark using, say, a "for Dummies" book, or will I need to pay for a training course (which I can ill afford at the moment)? Any tips for getting up to speed quickly?

Following the product's documentation and for Dummies book should be sufficient, but it will take you longer (and time is money, after all) to get up to speed than attending a 1 day course with a QXP expert. Another advantage of attending a course is that if you get on well with your trainer, he/she may become a valid resource in case you get stuck - he/she may be able to help you out with just a call or an e-mail.

- Any general thoughts/experiences on starting off using Quark Xpress and/or doing work direct for publishers from other Quark-proficient translators?

As you are a novice, make sure the client has your files checked by his DTP department before considering them ready for print, especially if you do work on PC and they work on Mac! Supplying "print-ready" files is a lot to take on, if you do not have any printing/prepress experience...

HtH,
Roberta


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Dr Andrew Read  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:58
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everyone Mar 19, 2004

... for some really useful tips. I am checking with customers, investigating training courses (even informal training from an experienced user), and may post a query on the Smart Shoppers site.

Thanks a lot!


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