How long would it take to lay out such a file?
Thread poster: Jurate Janaviciute

Jurate Janaviciute  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
English to Lithuanian
May 26, 2009

Hello everybody,

I am new to DTP process and recently I was asked to lay out my own previously completed translation in a pdf file according to the original. It took me 4 hours to do it. My client thinks that it took too long and I should have warned about it in advance. Of course, I had no idea about it myself, as it was the first time I did DTP. And the matter is even more complicated by the fact that this company never issues purchase orders.

First, I converted pdf into a Word file. It was not possible to do it with Acrobat Pro trial due to unsupported font problem, I searched for an alternative on the Internet, so the conversion took me about 1 hour. (I reported about the conversion problems to the client but received no reply.) The final pdf file contained 16 pages with background pictures, headers, footers, and footnotes. All fonts of the text had to be changed.

If I only knew how long it normally takes to lay out such a file, I would charge only for these hours in order to avoid charging the client for my inexperience in DTP. Could anyone please give me a rough estimate?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

Jūratė


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
MS Word is not DTP... May 26, 2009

... and neither distilling an Acrobat PDF file!

DTP is about laying out formatted text, illustrations, and other graphic elements on pages to assemble a publication.

Microsoft Word is no more than a word processor enhanced with all features they could think of, but it is still a word processor. Its paradigm is a typewriter, enhanced with scissors and glue sticks.

PageMaker, the surviving forefather of DTP, as well as its offspring, InDesign, are like paste-up art studios in virtual reality. The other high-end DTP packages, such as Frame Maker and QuarkXpress use their own "virtual" paradigms, and have no equivalents in the non-computerized world.

There are also the low-end DTP packages, such as the horrible Microsoft Publisher, the low-cost Serif PagePlus, and the freesource Scribus.

It's impossible to predict how long it should take you to DTP a file without having seen it. It also depends on what DTP software you are using, and how skilled you are with it. An additional variable is whether the illustrations are available in separate graphic files (jpg, tif, bmp, etc.) or if you have to "peel" them from a PDF, scan from hardcopy, etc.

16 pages? With PageMaker I might do it in 20-90 minutes, depending on the complexity. With Quark it might take me a couple of days to figure out where is everything there, and how it works. Distilling anything from any program, if properly done, takes only a few minutes.


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:52
English to Czech
+ ...
Are you a translator, or a DTP specialist? May 29, 2009

Hi Jurate,
I believe my question in the title is the very fundamental one.

Firstly, if your client asked you to translate a PDF file, it should have been enough to deliver more or less plain text with little or no formatting.

Secondly, if your client asked you to re-format your translation to resemble the layout of the source document and you did so, your client has to pay regardless of what he/she thinks about the amount of time you spent on DTP tasks. No need to tell him/her beforehand. He/She knows that he/she is dealing with a translator, not a DTP specialist.

Therefore, I suggest that you insist on getting paid for the work you've done.


 

Jurate Janaviciute  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
English to Lithuanian
TOPIC STARTER
my thanks for information and advice Jun 1, 2009

Hello everyone,

Stanislav, I think you have a point here. I have never explicitly or implicitly said or advertised that I do DTP (or whatever it is called in this case according to José). I can, however, as any literate person working with Word, make text look like in the original.

Regarding DTP (or whatever it is called), José, I did not quite understand, when a given task merits to be called desktop publishing. It is difficult to believe that it depends on whether I use professional DTP software or MS Paint to get the same result. I saw other threads suggesting complexity as a benchmark. Then how one should call those easier jobs below a given benchmark?

Besides, thank you for the additional information on DTP software. I might very well use it if I ever decide to do DTPicon_smile.gif


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
DTP or not DTP? Jun 1, 2009

Jurate Janaviciute wrote:
Regarding DTP (or whatever it is called), José, I did not quite understand, when a given task merits to be called desktop publishing. It is difficult to believe that it depends on whether I use professional DTP software or MS Paint to get the same result. I saw other threads suggesting complexity as a benchmark. Then how one should call those easier jobs below a given benchmark?


Jurate,

Have a look at


This will give you an idea on how text is handled differently by a word processor (Word) and a DTP program (PageMaker). It's about looks.

It's a matter of output quality, and the ease you get it. It's also a matter of things you can do, which the word processor can't.

To illustrate, you can attach the M/F plugs to a piece of electric wire to make an extension cord using a plain table knife. It might not be so safe, nor so neat, but it will work. If you use the proper tools instead, it will be easier, faster, and the result will be safer. However you can't make a RJ-11 (phone) or a RJ-45 (network) cable without the proper tools.

It's difficult to draw the line. You can have a complete, heavily illustrated book originally developed in Word. However if translation results in a longer text, you might have a really hard time rebuilding it in another language while using the same Word program.

[Edited at 2009-06-01 10:43 GMT]


 


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