What do you know about DTP?
Thread poster: Imad Almaghary
Imad Almaghary
Local time: 18:51
English to Arabic
+ ...
May 19, 2006

Good morning and a very warm welcome

What do you know about DTP and what is the software used for that. How can DTP translation be done? I think it is a translation of pages for publishers but I want to know the correct thing.

Yours
Mr. Imad


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Damir Pavuna  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:51
English to Croatian
+ ...
DTP explanation May 19, 2006

Hi there,

DTP is desktop publishing and today various DTP software is available. However, SWs that are oftenly used by publishing houses, marketing agencies etc. are InDesign (Macromedia), QuarkXpress (Corel) , Framemaker (not sure about the producer). If you have to translate directly in one of DTP SW formats I suggest you the following:

1. Use Trados Tag Editor which converts all the formating into tags enabling you to see and edit only text to be trasnlated while not damaging the layout of the document.

For you to be possible to translate a dtp document in Tag Editor, your client needs to have Trados too, as she/he has to export original dtp file into Trados tagged file (if you have related dtp sw then you can do it yourself).

After you finish your translation, you can just clean it up and deliver your translation which is ready for printing (almost).

Hope I helped a bit.

Regards

Andreja


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 17:51
French to Dutch
+ ...
Some comments May 20, 2006

DTP was my first job. It is quite different from translating: it requires lots of hardware, software and patience, but DTP specialists earn their living very well, probably better than translators. It is quite difficult to do both on a professional level, so I prefer translating, and I now do the corresponding DTP only if it is possible to do so. If not I leave it to the printing houses. Andreja gave you an idea of the software, but highly formatted Word files with graphs and Powerpoint files require also DTP.

[quoteAfter you finish your translation, you can just clean it up and deliver your translation which is ready for printing (almost).
[/quote]
I translate directly with the requred software. It is impossible to concentrate at the same time on translation and on layout, so you have to translate first and check the layout afterwards. Formatted files don't like CATs (or CATs don't like formatted files!) so I translate "by hand", as in stone age, even for Powerpoint files (by consulting a list of terms, and eventually using the search/replace function). In each case, the layout of the translation should be checked with the right software, especially if the source langage is English (most other langages are longer and need more space). If you cannot do this, and if you are not skilled in typography, you cannot sell DTP to your clients, only the translation part of your work.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
DTP = desktop publishing, WP = word processing May 20, 2006

Imad Almaghary wrote:
What do you know about DTP and what is the software used for that. How can DTP translation be done?


To ask how DTP is translated, is like asking how WP is translated. There are many different WP packages (WordPerfect, OpenOffice, MS Word, etc) and in the same way there are many DTP packages (CorelDraw, FreeHand, MS Publisher, etc), and they all work differently.

To split hairs for a moment, though, any program whose output can be exported to PDF (or EPS) can be regarded as a DTP program. But in the DTP industry, DTP artists favour packages that was specifically designed for print media work, such as CorelDraw or FreeHand. These programs give the user much control over text and graphics placement and special effects, and is ideally suited for developing stuff which eventually will be printed in magazines, newspapers or other paper media.

In a WP, the text is king and any graphics or images are secondary. In DTP, graphics is king, and text is pasted onto the canvas as if it were pieces of artistic material (and not chunks of information). This means that DTP programs are often not optimised for translation. In most cases, it is easier for the translator to work from a hardcopy, do the translation in unformatted text (with indications to the DTP artist which text goes where) and leave it up to the DTP artist to make it look good. In fact, many DTP programs don't even have text export utilities (even though you can edit the text in the program itself).

You can export CorelDraw text, but the function is hidden and must be activated by a clever user. FreeHand can export text, but the text is in seemingly random order, and consequently not of much use to the translator. Besides, the method used by the DTP artist to put the translated text back into the file, is not by importing it in some automated fashion, but by copying and pasting paragraph after paragraph or line after line manually. This is why DTP proofs contain so many errors in the first or second draft (DTP artists may even retype the text if they think it'll go quicker, but have you ever tried to retype text in a language that you don't know?).

In WP, the translator is responsible for keeping formatting intact (bold/underline/italics, font face, font size, etc) but in DTP, the translator is often responsible only for the text (the DTP guy will take care of the formatting). This can be tricky if the DTP guy doesn't speak the language in which he is doing DTP work, which puts a lot of responsibility on the translator to write clearly, separate paragraphs and sections clearly, and give sufficient indication to the DTP guy about what goes where.

So, if you are going to translate for DTP, ask the client to provide you with the text in electronic format. It may be best to create a two-column table with source text paragraphs on the left and their translations on the right, so that the DTP artist knows what text is a translation of what other text. Also ask for an image file or PDF file of the end-result in the source language so that you can print it out and see the visual context of the text.

If the DTP artist and you are going to be in the same room all the time, then perhaps you can attempt various quick methods for putting the translation back into the DTP file, but that'll only speed up the DTP artist's job (not yours). For CorelDraw you can try to "extract" and "merge" the text (search the Proz.com forums for it). For FreeHand you can try my AutoIt script at http://www.leuce.com/tempfile/TM4FH.zip.

Certain DTP formats can be translated using certain CAT tools such as Trados, but ultimately some graphic artist would have to double-check the stuff on screen.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Three types of DTP documents May 20, 2006

integra wrote:
1. Use Trados Tag Editor which converts all the formating into tags enabling you to see and edit only text to be trasnlated while not damaging the layout of the document.


From a translator's point of view, you have three types of DTP documents.

1. The type that you can edit directly (using tagged text). This includes SVG files, which are plaintext XML files.

2. The type that you can't edit directly (unless you have the DTP program itself) but from which you can export text, which can be imported again. This includes CorelDraw.

3. The type that you can't edit directly (unless you have the DTP program itself) and from which you may or may not be able to extract the text (but not merge or import it back into the file). This includes FreeHand.

For types 1 and 2 you should be able to use a CAT tool even if your client doesn't have it. In other words, you should be able to use Trados even if the client doesn't have Trados, as long as the file which you deliver to the client is in the format which the DTP program can recognise and import without a hitch.

You don't have to use Trados Tag Editor for such files if you don't want to (what Tag Editor basically does, is to create an intermediary file for which Trados is necessary, but in some cases you can use plain old uncleaned tagging and bypass the Tag Editor step altogether).

After you finish your translation, you can just clean it up and deliver your translation which is ready for printing (almost).


Do not be under any illusions that the text will be print-ready directly after you've translated it. The DTP packages I've worked with were not designed with automated formatting-lossless text replacement in mind (which includes translation).

I would be happy to hear from translators who have worked with other DTP formats about their experiences (preferably if you have actually seen the DTP program itself and have seen what method the DTP artist uses to put the text back in).


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Imad Almaghary
Local time: 18:51
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just two questions May 24, 2006

Dear integra Croatia, Nicolette Richy and Samuel Murray

Actaully, you have been really more than helpful over this matter. One more thing. What is the various extensions of DTP files of CorelDraw and other forms? For example: .doc is for MS Word and .txt is for text documents and so on.
Where can I get some samples for training on that?

You have been really helpful.

Yours
Imad


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ruhdaM
English
Who makes what Jul 28, 2006

integra wrote:

Hi there,

DTP is desktop publishing and today various DTP software is available. However, SWs that are oftenly used by publishing houses, marketing agencies etc. are InDesign (Macromedia), QuarkXpress (Corel) , Framemaker (not sure about the producer). If you have to translate directly in one of DTP SW formats I suggest you the following:


Just wanted to clarify - InDesign is a product of Adobe (not Macromedia). Macromedia was a company the Adobe acquired recently, and their flagship product is Macromedia Flash. QuarkXPress is developed by Quark, and not Corel. Corel develops CorelDRAW.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:51
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Translation and DTP Jul 29, 2006

I have been a DTP artist since I began as a translator. Okay, over three decades ago when I began, things were quite different.

In those days, for VERY small run technical manuals, the text was neatly typewritten, drawings were reduced to fit using the "new" Xerox 7000, and everything was glued to sheets of paper from which the same machine made the final copies.

For product literature to be printed with large offset machines, the translation, pictures, drawings etc. were sent to an art studio, which did the same - more neatly - in a process named paste-up. They usually had to send the (translated) text out for typesetters to compose it on strips of photographic paper.

Now, this whole process can be done with just one computer and a printer. This is what DTP is all about. The software that sticks to the original paste-up studio paradigm is PageMaker, from Adobe, which is trying to forcefully replace it with InDesign. Upgrades alone are not enough for them to pay the bills - especially when there is little left to improve: the last PageMaker version is 7; while the "best" is 6.52.

As the translation was "sent out" for typesetting, it required cross-reference markings, assuming the typesetter was not bilingual. You may see a (fabricated) example of such markings on the original at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/dtp/mark1.jpg and how the translation is sent at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/dtp/mark2.jpg (These are parts of my web site DTP4XLT, in BR Portuguese).

Cross-reference is the most delicate aspect in the translator-DTPer interface. The worst of it is when there is text embedded in graphic files to be translated. Not only the original text has to be erased, but quite often, the background has to be rebuilt before placing the translated text. This calls for other skills and software like PhotoShop, PhotoImpact, etc.

A tough decision is whether it's worthwhile for a translator to learn DTP. To do it with a word processor is an uphill battle. The other option is to get a multilingual DTPer. This is a service I've recently started to offer. Though I only translate between ENPT, I speak IT, FR, ES fluently enough to DTP translations involving these languages without X-ref markings, but not to translate. [This is not advertising. As such work usually involves the exchange of hardcopy and/or or huuuge files, I only offer it within Brazil.] But it might be worth looking around for bilingual DTPers in your country and language pair(s).

I'd like to add some comments on Samuel Murray's reply.

Samuel Murray wrote:
To ask how DTP is translated, is like asking how WP is translated. There are many different WP packages (WordPerfect, OpenOffice, MS Word, etc) and in the same way there are many DTP packages (CorelDraw, FreeHand, MS Publisher, etc), and they all work differently.


Right! And if a translator takes the time and trouble to learn one DTP program for the sake of one job, chances are that the next one will require a different one. And they are quite different from each other, it's definitely NOT just like driving a different car from your own.

Samuel Murray wrote:
To split hairs for a moment, though, any program whose output can be exported to PDF (or EPS) can be regarded as a DTP program.


I beg to differ. Any program whose output can be printed to a PostScript printer can have its files exported to PDF. But it takes some skills and software (which are worth the time and effort for a translator to learn) to extract "workable material" - viz. text & graphics - from a PDF file, a convenient way for a client to send originals, if nothing else is available, or if the original pub was made with an unknown/obsolete DTP or WP program.

Samuel Murray wrote:
In WP, the translator is responsible for keeping formatting intact (bold/underline/italics, font face, font size, etc) but in DTP, the translator is often responsible only for the text (the DTP guy will take care of the formatting). This can be tricky if the DTP guy doesn't speak the language in which he is doing DTP work, which puts a lot of responsibility on the translator to write clearly, separate paragraphs and sections clearly, and give sufficient indication to the DTP guy about what goes where.


There is one more issue. As an EN-PT translator, I can tell you that from EN to PT, the text "swells" up to 20%. Your language-pair-mileage may vary. If the pub is tightly laid-out, it is often necessary to do several things with text: justify, hyphenate (more acceptable in PT than in EN), micro-reduce the distance between lines and/or letters, or even the letter width, etc. The last resort ever should be to reduce font size. But this is too much to ask a translator to do, especially if it's not charged extra.

Samuel Murray wrote:
So, if you are going to translate for DTP, ask the client to provide you with the text in electronic format. It may be best to create a two-column table with source text paragraphs on the left and their translations on the right, so that the DTP artist knows what text is a translation of what other text. Also ask for an image file or PDF file of the end-result in the source language so that you can print it out and see the visual context of the text.


Quite frankly, this is messy. There is often ONE word in a paragraph in bold, italic, underline, whatever, and the DTPer must discover which one it is. Pasting formatted text from a MSWord DOC or RTF file often wreaks havoc in PageMaker, and unformatting and reformatting might be troublesome, as well as it might remove that specific word's specs.

Samuel Murray wrote:
If the DTP artist and you are going to be in the same room all the time, then perhaps you can attempt various quick methods for putting the translation back into the DTP file, but that'll only speed up the DTP artist's job (not yours).


In the same room? This is some kind of a dream situation, even though there is a translator and one DTPer inside my head.
But if this is possible, the ideal transfer format for DTP is plain text! When I get a translators's frustrated attempt to DTP in MS Word, I put it through Windows Notepad for Cut&Paste operations. Text formatting in PageMaker is much faster and easier to do than in Word.

Finally, a thought on workflow. Imagine this: I get a publication in QuarkXPress or FrameMaker (which I don't have, and never used). All the client wants is a PDF, translated, laid out exactly as the original. The best way for me is to extract all the elements (text & graphics), and get a PDF of the original pub. Then I get the text translated, either by myself or someone else. To assemble it, I put each page of the original PDF as a background on each corresponding page, in PageMaker. It's just a matter of completely reassembling the translated pub on this background, then deleting it (the background), and distilling the final PDF. I use PageMaker, but I guess this can be done with any other DTP program..

[Edited at 2006-07-29 13:03]


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