How do I edit the text of an image?
Thread poster: Kévin Bernier

Kévin Bernier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:31
Member (2013)
English to French
Jul 1, 2013

Hello,

I am working on the translation of an user manual for an electronic tablet, and there are schematics of the tablets with descriptions of the outlets and such. Only, on the .docx, the words are part of the image of the schematics and hence are not displayed under Trados.

How do I translate the words? Do I have to recreate the same image and translate the words and insert it back in?

Help would be much appreciated.


 

Valeria Rivero  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 01:31
English to Spanish
Text boxes Jul 1, 2013

Hello, Kévin

I don't know if this is the most efficient way of going about it, as it is very rare that I have to do this, but in those cases where I had to translate this type of image, I do the following:

- Copy the image in a new Word document
- Cover the text to be translated with Word text boxes (after formatting it accordingly, removing the outer lines or choosing the approppriate fill color/font/font size, etc.)
- Save the new .doc as .pdf
- Select the image in the .pdf file using the "Snapshot" feature in Foxit pdf reader, which copies the selected image in the clipboard
- Paste the image in the .doc or .docx with my translation.

Also, you mention "Trados", but which Trados? If you're using Word+Workbench, some things may not be displayed which probably could be translated using Tag Editor, or Studio. You could also try a good OCR tool, to see if it picks up the text and then you can create a new image with the translation.

Regards,

Valeria


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 06:31
Member
French to English
+ ...
My way... Jul 1, 2013

I often find it is possible to do this directly in Word itself, using the graphics commands, but without needing to go through all the rigmarole of copying out and back. The worst thing is if the original graphic uses a special background colour / pattern not offered by Word; if the customer is prepared to pay the extra, then I will copy and paste the graphic out to be able to work on it with the more sophisticated facilities offered by Photoshop.

Some customers, unwilling to pay the extra, simply ask me to supply a separate Word file containing the text from the graphics; to help their graphic artist make the necessary changes, I usually create a 2-column document, so they can easily see the source and corresponding target texts alongside each other.

Of course, it depends a lot on whether or not the customer did actually create the graphic in-house or not; if not, then they may be no more able to edit it than the translator, in which case the 'bodge' solution of pasting little text boxes may be the only viable solution.

One customer of mine loves using graphs derived from Excel embedded into their PowerPoint presentations; so they also have to give me the relevant spreadsheets to work on. Fortunately, another chargeable extra service!

Sometimes you can use OCR software such as ABBYY FineReader to extract the text; this is all very well, but only solves part of the problem; usually, the amount of text contained within graphic elements is not so great that re-typing it by hand is any real problem.

To my mind, the bigger problem is rather how to integrate the translated texts elegantly back into the graphic, without having to resort to lots of manual 'fudging'.
I'm lucky in that I have Photoshop for other work; I certainly wouldn't consider buying such expensive software just for this sort of thing! However, there are other photo/graphics programs around in the freeware field that are less sophisticated than P/S, but more so than the rather basic graphics facilities in Word -- at any rate, more than adequate for this sort of purpose.

I perhaps should have explained my workflow a bit better: if I encounter a graphic with a problem background (colour, pattern etc.), then I first process it in my graphics program so as to strip out the original text and clean up the result (which you can do right down to pixel level if necessary); I then paste the graphic back into Word, where I use the 'text box' facility to type in my new, translated texts; this way, I can use the slightly simpler text processing features in Word, but I can use a transparent text box background (as I no longer have to worry about blotting out the original texts); I find this way of working gives me the greatest speed and flexibility. Naturally, it is vital to group all the text boxes together with the main graphic at the end, so it doesn't all 'float around' by the time your customer gets to see it!


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 13:31
Japanese to English
+ ...
MS Paint Jul 1, 2013

For my workflow, MS Paint is usually faster than using text boxes in Word. You can also use the color picker eyedropper tool in Paint to match background colors exactly. I actually have the latest version of Photoshop installed but I never use it, because MS Paint loads much quicker and I don't ever need the advanced features of Photoshop.

You can just load the picture into Paint, use the eraser to delete the source text, then add text there. The biggest advantage I've found to this method is that you can keep the images as individual graphics files rather than part of a Word document, which might come in handy if you are translating a web page + graphics and aren't working with Word documents at all. The disadvantage of doing it like this is that you cannot go back and edit the target text that you type in; for that, you would have to use Photoshop or something more advanced. Anyways, I try to stay away from too much DTP lately, as most of the clients I have worked for thus far don't understand that DTP sometimes takes a lot more time than actually translating (and thus don't want to pay me what it is worth to do it).

Luckily, my latest steady client sends me image source text in word documents with two-column tables, so all I have to do is type in the translation.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Get the client(or perpetrator) to do it Jul 1, 2013

This kind of thing is a recurring nightmare, terrible waste of time and not something I consider part of my remit as a translator. I include a caveat about graphics and similar awkward things in my terms and conditions:

"4) Las inserciones gráficas (TIFF, JPG, BMP, PNG) o cuadros de texto a menudo dificultan la agilidad del servicio básico de traducción, con el consiguiente aumento de los honorarios, al requerir más tiempo la ejecución del trabajo."
->
4) Graphic inserts (TIFF, JPG, BMP, PNG) or text boxes often hinder the basic translation service, resulting in increased fees, as more time is required to carry out the task.

When they know it will cost them more, they tend to either do it themselves or else tell me not to worry about it, "they'll sort it out later". Or else I just send them the text in a separate document and they can "insert" it at their leisure.


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Only one additional free program Jul 1, 2013

All the previous posts summed everything up rather nicely (where were you guys when I first started?!). The only thing that I would add is that there is another program that you can use along with MS paint (and potentially photoshop) called Gimp 2, which offers a lot of tools and resources that you might find helpful.

These days I do everything in photoshop and illustrator, but paint and gimp can handle most simple - moderately complex image editing.


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 06:31
Member
French to English
+ ...
Painting programs Jul 1, 2013

Thanks Triston!

Yes, there are several free painting applications available, I seem to remember I used to use PhotoStudio or somesuch.

There's just one point I'd like to emphasize: I find it MUCH easier to do this in 2 stages, using the 'paint' program ONLY to blot out the background, and then going back into Word to add fresh legends using Word's text box facility.

There are several adavantages to this:

Most of the image manipulation programmes either have fairly basic text entry facilities — or else unnecessarily complex ones! Using good old familiar Word is often a lot quicker.

More importantly, the text boxes you create will be available in the document for later processing — for example, minor tweaks following proofing or customer feedback; and also, as is often the case for me, my EN version is used as the exchange version for subsequent translation into several other languages: in a multi-language publishing house, every input language is first translated into EN, then from there into all the other languages; this simplifies workflow for my customer and streamlines the translator panel.


 

Kévin Bernier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:31
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Quite annoying indeed Jul 2, 2013

Hello and thank you.

It is indeed quite a pain. I tried to explain the situation to my client and told them that this was basically graphic design, not translation. Luckily, they suggested I make a caption below each image and translate the words on it.

The image was clearly not designed for translation, as it was actual words on them. What I usually see is the image of the product with numbers, and then a caption separated from the image with said numbers each referring to the description of the matching part.

I will keep all those suggestions in mind though, might definitely come in handy.

Once again thank you!


 

atmcclure
United States
Local time: 00:31
Easiest solution Jul 17, 2013

Orrin Cummins wrote:

For my workflow, MS Paint is usually faster than using text boxes in Word. You can also use the color picker eyedropper tool in Paint to match background colors exactly. I actually have the latest version of Photoshop installed but I never use it, because MS Paint loads much quicker and I don't ever need the advanced features of Photoshop.

You can just load the picture into Paint, use the eraser to delete the source text, then add text there. The biggest advantage I've found to this method is that you can keep the images as individual graphics files rather than part of a Word document, which might come in handy if you are translating a web page + graphics and aren't working with Word documents at all. The disadvantage of doing it like this is that you cannot go back and edit the target text that you type in; for that, you would have to use Photoshop or something more advanced. Anyways, I try to stay away from too much DTP lately, as most of the clients I have worked for thus far don't understand that DTP sometimes takes a lot more time than actually translating (and thus don't want to pay me what it is worth to do it).

Luckily, my latest steady client sends me image source text in word documents with two-column tables, so all I have to do is type in the translation.



This is the fastest way, and I recommend it. When I worked in translation and DTP for automotive industry we would delete the English text from technical drawings and use a special overlay layer for the other languages, which would load with the text. These were called "annots." (annotations). This method is more efficient when working with a large number of languages---up to 23 in some cases. But the substitution in the original graphic makes more sense for only one or maybe two languages.


 


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