Advice on DTP
Thread poster: Alain Alameddine

Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 03:12
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
Apr 14, 2016

Hello everyone,

A friend of mine is considering getting in the DTP business. Any advice from experienced DTPers on what software he'd need to master, how to find work online, etc?

Thanks a lot!

Alain


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Piyush Ojha  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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English to Hindi
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LaTeX is still the gold standard ... Apr 14, 2016

... for publishing in the mathematical sciences and engineering, but the learning curve for typesetting would be steep and that for designing documents, very steep, as it requires programming experience. On the other hand, the software is free, very stable and available for Windows, OS X as well as Unix/Linux. The end result is very precise and beautiful. LaTeX can, of course, be used for non-scientific work as well.

I believe there is a demand for LaTeX typesetters from publishers of scientific books and journals but I don't know how such work may be obtained.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:12
German to Swedish
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Adobe software Apr 15, 2016

Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. Learning that should keep him busy for a couple of months...

He'd do well to take a course in printing basics: Different papers, surface-finishings, color handling etc.
This knowledge is common to all print-based jobs, regardless of software used.

[Edited at 2016-04-15 10:12 GMT]


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TechStyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:12
Good starting points Apr 15, 2016

All good starting points: LaTeX is indeed excellent and free but tricky, Adobe's Creative Suite much more user-friendly if a bit wobbly at times (I've had quite a few crashes on bigger jobs there, though it's still the gold standard for manipulating PDFs and EPS graphics).

DTP is a pretty broad area, focussing on something more specific might help. Commercial posters and leaflets? More an Adobe thing. More technical material? Perhaps LaTeX, or tools like Omnigraffle (Mac only!) which are excellent for things like flow charts.


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Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 03:12
Member (2009)
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Thanks all :) Apr 15, 2016

Thanks all for your replies, I'll make sure I forward the info

Quick question: Joachim, you mentioned Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. James, you mentioned Creative Suite. But I've never seen a client ask for anything besides InDesign. So isn't InDesign enough for DTP?


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:12
German to Swedish
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Stable Apr 15, 2016

James Sutherland wrote:

… Adobe's Creative Suite much more user-friendly if a bit wobbly at times (I've had quite a few crashes on bigger jobs there …


I've worked with Indesign for many years and thousands of hours in professional media environments where reliability is paramount. It's rock solid software. There is virtually no data loss when it very occasionally crashes. The one problem I've encountered is corrupt master pages.

Photoshop is also an extremely stable, well-tuned application.

Illustrator - not so much, a grab bag of different components apparently cobbled together by different teams.


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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:12
German to Swedish
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No Apr 15, 2016

Alain Alameddine wrote:

So isn't InDesign enough for DTP?


No, not if you expect to deliver a complete service.

Indesign is layout software, you also need to be able to do image processing and graphics.

(Translation clients will ask for Indesign because the translatables are mostly Indesign files. But they could also be Illustrator files like graphs, or Photoshop files with text layers. So even a translator will sooner or later need Photoshop and Illustrator. With the subscription scheme it's not a big yearly expense.)

[Edited at 2016-04-15 12:10 GMT]


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TechStyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:12
Adobe software Apr 15, 2016

Alain Alameddine wrote:
Quick question: Joachim, you mentioned Indesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. James, you mentioned Creative Suite. But I've never seen a client ask for anything besides InDesign. So isn't InDesign enough for DTP?


Creative Suite is the bundle of those applications (plus some more besides); if the client is using InDesign, they're also quite likely to be using Illustrator and Photoshop alongside InDesign to manipulate the components of the document.

InDesign is great for building the hundred page book or whatever, but Illustrator and Photoshop are the tools for working on the individual graphic files that go into that publication. Most of the text will be in InDesign itself, so that's where most of the translation effort would be as well - but diagrams and graphs may well require the use of Illustrator to edit labels.


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Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 03:12
Member (2009)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
And about how to find work? Apr 15, 2016

Thanks a lot And how/where could he find work online?

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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:12
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
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Did you mean DTP services in the target language? Apr 16, 2016

If so, no "designing" is involved and all you need to do is to export the translation to the file type in the same software which has been used in the creation of the software, and do a little light formatting work.

You have to use the software that is required by the client. Among my clients, InDesign is much more popular than the more complicated ones like LaTeX.

[Edited at 2016-04-16 01:12 GMT]


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:12
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
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I think the market for this service is shrinking Apr 16, 2016

Alain Alameddine wrote:

Thanks a lot And how/where could he find work online?


And it is shrinking at a flashing speed. About 10 years ago, a client might be willing to pay $15 per page for DTP service (typesetting, formatting and creating a high resolution PDF, etc). Nowadays the same job can be done in a much more efficient way. Probably it will take less than 2 hours to finish the layout of 10 pages in the target language text in InDesign and the client tends to pay by the actual hours spent. See the difference?


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