Work with in design
Thread poster: Lorenzo Rossi

Lorenzo Rossi  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
Member (2010)
German to Italian
+ ...
Dec 19, 2013

Hallo Everybody. Today I have been contacted by a new customer. He asked me if I'am available for regular translation project into Italian and that he was looking for somebody who is proficient with in design. I never used it and I know that it's quite expensive: about 2000 Euro.

I don't know if I should buy it or not. What do you think? Please give me advice.

Thank you.



Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:05
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
free trial Dec 20, 2013

InDesign is a lot more straightforward than you may think. You can download a 30 day free trial, which will be sufficient to get a good overview. On the Adobe website, you will find free videos talking you through the functions. Spend some time on that first and see how comfortable you are before going ahead with the assignment.
After a trial, you can opt for a subscription, somewhere around £20/month. Personally, I find it worthwhile, as I have a few clients that use InDesign. I charge extra for that format, but it still saves the client, as its more work for him to set things back up from a converted translation.

Not all CAT tools support InDesign, MemoQ does, you will need to check for your own. But you will need to go back into the file to fix the formatting, so you still need the program yourself.

[Edited at 2013-12-20 03:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-20 03:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-20 03:29 GMT]


Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
German to English
division of labor Dec 20, 2013

I get a recurring call for bids every Spring involving InDesign files and my solution has been to simply hook up with a graphic designer who would extract and reinsert the text and check the final formating for me at an hourly rate.

That seemed to me like the most efficient solution likely to bring the best quality results.

Do any CATs "genuinely" (dependably) support the current version of InDesign?


Alexey Ivanov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:05
English to Russian
Check first with the client Dec 20, 2013

I advise you clarify with the client what exactly he is looking for. Translation of anything directly in InDesign is impractical:
1. it would take too much time comparing to translation with any of the standard CAT tools.
2. Besides, I understand “regular work” most likely means that some parts of the source texts will be repeated in later projects. They usually are. So, in case of translating directly in InDesign you will have no translation memories. That's another minus.
3. The third minus is that when translating in InDesign you will have to replace the source text and you will have no version of the source preserved for any editing/amendments, etc.
So, you may forget about translating directly in InDesign. And for translating texts from InDesing you don’t need to own a copy of InDesign itself. No CAT tool handles the original InDesign format (*.indd), but you can translate texts from InDeign either using memoQ ,as Diana suggests, or SDL Trados Studio which also handles InDesign export format files (*.idml).
It may be useful to have InDesign software, as Diana rightly suggests, for correcting the formatting issues, such as text overflow, changing order of words in 2 line titles, changing the fonts, etc. but it is not required if you use memoQ, because you can open the resulting translation file on their cloud server which provides this service for those who don’t have InDesign application. I have my own InDesign software, so I don’t need this service, But you can use it to your advantage without buying InDesign.
I bought my InDesign about 12 years ago, as at that time I was also doing some DTP work, but it my experience has proved that I don’t need it for translation AT ALL. It has many good uses, such as preparing a nice looking resume with your photo, or editing web pages and such, but is not a required tool for a translator. Besides, 2000 euros seems too much. I checked the price and it is about 600 euros only. Also there are other ownership alternatives, such as monthly/yearly cloud plans.


Jutta Deichselberger  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
Member (2004)
French to German
+ ...
Studio 2011 and 2014 do support InDesign files! Dec 20, 2013

Look here:

In this discussion you have a description of the workflow.
I tried it and it works fine. With Studio it isn't really complicate to translate InDesign files.

Ask your client with which version he is working. There are lots of different versions.
Up to CS4 it can be translated with all Trados versions. From CS5 on you need Studio 2011. For the most recient Version InDesign CC you Need Studio 2014.

InDesign CC is only available as a subscription. Attention: You pay monthly, but you have to subscribe for a full year!!!

The demo version works fine and is easy to download!


Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:05
English to Czech
+ ...
Just to add... Dec 20, 2013

Alexey Ivanov wrote:
No CAT tool handles the original InDesign format (*.indd)...

I may be exactly wrong, but as far as I remember, Transit NXT handles native InDesign INDD files with an optional filter. Unfortunately, that filter is more expensive (about €900 if I'm not mistaken) than InDesign itself.

Just for info...

Anyway, I've been receiving InDesign translation projects on a regular basis since more than three years and the IDML workflow in Trados Studio works perfectly both for me and for the client.

[Upraveno: 2013-12-20 09:49 GMT]


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
DTP and translation Dec 20, 2013

Alexey Ivanov wrote:

I bought my InDesign about 12 years ago, as at that time I was also doing some DTP work, but it my experience has proved that I don’t need it for translation AT ALL.

Supposedly translators will not be creating new layouts; this is a job for graphic designers. However there is nothing to prevent anyone from doing both.

I first bought PageMaker (InDesign's "father") in the 1980s. It was v3, running under the still iconless Windows 2.01. Over the years, I went through a series of upgrades, both in PM and Windows.

PageMaker v6.52 under Windows XP works fine, and is extremely stable; no crashes in the past few years. Okay, it lacks some more advanced contemporary features, but certainly does the job. Adobe launched v7, but it didn't fly: nobody who used v6.52 liked it. That's why they decided to develop and move on with InDesign.

Throughout the two decades or so I used PageMaker, I had numerous requests for translating and rebuilding hard copy original publications. Practice led me to do the DTP with PM very quickly. However over the years electronic publications became more and more the standard; hard copy nowadays is very rare.

DTP file formats are proprietary by nature, specific to each app. The leading professional level ones are InDesign (and/or its father, PageMaker), QuarkXpress, and FrameMaker. The amateur level apps are Microsoft Publisher, Serif PagePlus, and Scribus. Some people try to fake DTP using Word, however that's extremely lame.

The point is that it is hardly possible to open one DTP app's files in another and have its features adequately preserved. There are some converters, but I haven't yet seen one that works.

Having InDesign and knowing how to use it could be good, however Murphy's Law is merciless: you'll probably get requests to translate Quark or FrameMaker files.

One day I first met Infix - a PDF editor - through an ad on Proz. I tried it, and suggested its developers to create a translation solution, which they did later, and named Infix Pro. It exports the text from a (distilled, not scanned) PDF as tagged XML or TXT files, and tags the PDF. Then you translate that file, and Infix Pro imports all that back into the tagged PDF file, providing tools for all DTP adjustments.

Unless the publication is layout-wise simple, the process may be not as simple and straightforward as it seems, however it gives me full coverage in translation for ANY file converted into PDF format: all DTP apps, as well as messy layouts created with Microsof Office.

So now I (still) use PageMaker for scanned originals, re-create them entirely during translation. All other DTP apps' output, I translate them in PDF.

I'm not advising against the InDesign/MemoQ or Trados alternative; it may be worthwhile as long there is enough demand. The Infix process is not a piece of cake either; the PDFs some apps generate are quite complex to adjust. However these are two quite different approaches to solve the same issue.


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