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Is expertise in formatting a must for a translator
Thread poster: Mark Pinto

Mark Pinto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:32
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Feb 7, 2016

I recently had an issue where the client was using an older version of MS Word and I was using the most updated version. As a result, when he was viewing the document, it was appearing differently to him than it was to me i.e the text boxes and lines in a diagram I recreated were getting distorted in his view.

I faced 2 issues:

1. I did not have the requisite tools for creating an "organorgrama" (organizational chart). However, I recreated it in the best way possible (according to my limited formatting expertise).

2. Irrespective, it appeared to distorted to him since he was using a much older version of MS Word.

Hence, he said it was up to me to fix the issue. I explained to him that my expertise lies with translation and not with formatting and there was little I could do if there was a software mismatch.

What should I do in such a situation?

Thanks

Mark


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:32
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Convert to client's version. Feb 7, 2016

Is this a difference between .doc and .docx files?
You may be able to download something that will enable your Word to convert his file format to yours and vice versa. If not, the free office set WPS can probably do it.


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:32
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
PDF Feb 7, 2016

If your client requires good appearance of the document, export it to PDF.

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Mark Pinto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:32
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
.docx to .doc Feb 7, 2016

It is exactly this problem of version!

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KirstenL
Norway
Spanish to Danish
+ ...
Save your document as .doc ?? Feb 7, 2016

I have Office 2010, and when I save a document, I can save it as a 1997-2003 .doc file. You cannot do that?

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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Rich Text Format Feb 7, 2016

My clients are ok with RTF, which is ok for ANY Office suit and can link/embed pics too (if any).

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Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:32
Member (2011)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Docx to doc Feb 7, 2016

Try to save your docx file as a doc one (save as type under file name). It should save it as a 97-2003 Word version which should be sufficient, except if your client is living in the Cretaceous era

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Sandra& Kenneth  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:32
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Is expertise in formatting a must for a translator? Feb 7, 2016

Yes, it is. Word is your work tool and you should master it. It gives you plenty of graphics tools to produce all the organizational charts you will ever need as a translator.

You don't need to use special visual effects, or produce designer art. Drawing a few shapes and placing them is pretty basic. You don't need to add any lines, arrows, shadows, etc.
Save your work as doc.

An even simpler way is putting the chart in a table with hidden grid lines and placing the names in cells. This will avoid the use of graphics altogether.

HTH,
Sandra


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:32
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Feb 7, 2016

Not for this old dog. I make it quite clear in my terms and conditions that desktop tasks such as formatting are not included in the services I provide. Other than converting the occasional PDF into a workable format, that's about as far as I go.

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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:32
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
DTP ≠ Translation Feb 7, 2016

At least, that's how I see it. Two different tasks and two different services.

Besides, CAT tools can usually handle several different file types and output (more or less) (typo)graphically similar translated versions. Of course, if you're dealing with formats such as PDF, then that's a different story...

Other than that, if you worked with agencies in particular, I think you wouldn't really need any in-depth knowledge of that kind anyway...


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TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:32
Member (2014)
English to French
Not a must, but always appreciated Feb 7, 2016

It is not a must, but any extra service is always appreciated.

Most of my clients know that I only provide translation services. However, over the years, I've acquired some other skills that I sometimes add on to help clients. They usually very much appreciate it.


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Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 22:32
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Send pdf Feb 8, 2016

markpinto wrote:

I recently had an issue where the client was using an older version of MS Word and I was using the most updated version. As a result, when he was viewing the document, it was appearing differently to him than it was to me i.e the text boxes and lines in a diagram I recreated were getting distorted in his view.

I faced 2 issues:

1. I did not have the requisite tools for creating an "organorgrama" (organizational chart). However, I recreated it in the best way possible (according to my limited formatting expertise).

2. Irrespective, it appeared to distorted to him since he was using a much older version of MS Word.

Hence, he said it was up to me to fix the issue. I explained to him that my expertise lies with translation and not with formatting and there was little I could do if there was a software mismatch.

What should I do in such a situation?

Thanks

Mark


1. Send him your file in pdf format. Show him that the original version is correct and that the problem is his old-version office.
2. Downgrade your file and send him your downgraded file. I always downgraded 2010-version Word file to previous version when my client use 2003/5-version MS Word.

[Edited at 2016-02-08 04:50 GMT]


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:32
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
However… Feb 8, 2016

Dani Karuniawan wrote:
…and that the problem is his old-version office.


…the client may respond that the problem is about translator’s version of the office package. Generally speaking, a translator that works with a computer must understand issues of file formats and their compatibility, including the well-known fact that Micro$oft keeps on deliberately and quietly introducing changes into its office file specifications in order to compromise backwards compatibility.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree. Feb 8, 2016

neilmac wrote:

Not for this old dog. I make it quite clear in my terms and conditions that desktop tasks such as formatting are not included in the services I provide. Other than converting the occasional PDF into a workable format, that's about as far as I go.


This other old dog agrees. I'm a translator, not a graphic designer. A while ago I had a terrible argument with a client who sent me an atrociously badly converted PDF, to be translated urgently. My translation was perfect (of course) but the formatting and page numbering were shot to hell and I had neither the time nor the expertise to fix them.

The client showered me with abuse and I thought that was the end of the relationship but a few months later they came back to me because aside from the formatting, I do a damn good translation.

Of course one should try to preserve page numbering etc. but when it comes to creating completely new tables and entering data into them, that's where I (excuse the pun) draw the line.


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Texte Style
Local time: 16:32
French to English
I do my best Feb 8, 2016

I do my best to reproduce the layout, I consider that it's part of making my translation legible.

Having used Word extensively for years I can easily reproduce tables but since I find it boring I will charge a bit extra for that. When quoting for such work I'll charge the number of words + the number of figures in charts then round it up generously. But then I'll only quote a flat rate so the client doesn't see that I'm charging more to copy figures into a chart than translate complex prose.

If ever they query the flat rate I'll tell them that if they let me off the hook for the tables I'll charge less and they're often happy with that.


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