In desktop publishing (also called DTP), specialists create page layouts for digital or printed documents. While the process can be straightforward at times, when it comes to multilingual or translated documents, there are specific factors to take into consideration. That’s where DTP translation companies
Why do I need DTP?
Translated texts always differ from source texts. They might be longer, use special characters, require specific formatting, need different spacing, or any other number of changes.
Now imagine designing a layout for a document in a language you don’t speak fluently, or at all. Not only do you need to navigate these changes, but you can’t understand what the text says. So, how do you know if it flows visually? Can you determine if the document has the right impact? Would you realize if you missed a letter, a word, or a whole sentence?
These are just a few of the issues designers can face when working with texts in other languages. By working with specialist DTP translation companies, you can be confident your document is well translated, well laid out, and quality controlled. They can navigate the complexities of desktop publishing translation to produce high-quality designs.
Challenges of DTP translation
- Text length
Translators often find that the source text (original document) and the target text (finished translation) vary in length. When the target text is longer, it is known as text expansion.
This can cause difficulties in even the simplest of document designs. With extra characters on the page or screen, certain sections suddenly look overcrowded or become hard to read. Boxes, buttons, and menus are suddenly too small. Text gets cut off or hidden by design elements.
This is why multilingual DTP services work hard to ensure the final design complements the length of the text.
- Right-to-left languages
Languages like Arabic and Urdu are written from right to left, known as RTL. At first, it might seem as though the text simply needs to be aligned to the right, but there are other factors to consider. It’s not just about how the document or page looks, either, but also its usability.
Do tables read correctly? Are images covered by justified text?
For example, the first image below shows Adidas’ UAE website in English. The text is aligned to the left and the layout appears correct.
Now, click on the Arabic language button and a translation appears, as in the image below. The text is aligned to the right as needed. However, the image is partially covered by text, making it hard to read, and there is a large space on the other side of the screen. Similar layout issues can happen in desktop publishing.
- Forgetting images
There are a few ways that images can be challenging in multilingual desktop publishing. To start, as seen above, images and other non-text elements need to fit around the translation.
Then, translators need to consider in-image text. This might be a label on a graph, a sign in a picture, a corporate slogan, or anything else. Decisions need to be made about how much or how little of this to translate, and how it affects overall understanding as well as the look of the document.
Images can also be culturally specific. An image might be deemed appropriate in one country and inappropriate in another, or the meaning may be interpreted differently due to cultural differences. This is where localization comes in, which is the process of adapting translations so that they’re not just linguistically but also culturally appropriate.
Swapping the images or graphics can mean creating new layouts to accommodate the changes.
- Using the right font
Some fonts work best in specific languages but failed to deliver in others. Perhaps certain characters aren’t supported, for instance.
It’s not always possible to use the exact same font and every language, which could be a cause for concern when trying to keep branding consistent. However, professional desktop publishing services can provide various options and find the right style for your text.
DTP Translation at Future Trans
At Future Trans, we have over 25 years’ experience in the translation industry. We specialize in MENA languages and have experts on hand to help you with everything from layout to localization.