How to translate a document? And the layout!?

The question that introduces this post is common among our clients when considering how to translate a document. Many people come to us with the idea of editing a document. They don’t know if they should do it or think that translators and language professionals know about design by default.

Here you have a few things that can be decisive when considering how to translate a document including final layout or without it? Let’s go!

What do we actually mean by layout?

Layout is the technique of arranging written and visual contents in the same space (nowadays it also includes audiovisual content). As we said, it’s a technique and as such it requires a set of acquired skills and knowledge.

Not everyone has these skills or knowledge, only DTP professionals do.

Translators are always not DTP professionals

It might seem obvious, but it isn’t always so. Many people think that the layout is included when translating a document. Or that translators are always experts in layout. And nothing could be farther from the truth. Both are different and highly specialised professions.

That’s why the professionals who know how to translate a document will probably not know how to edit it visually. There are many translation agencies that meet this demand. But they’ll never offer you a layout service without specifying it first.

Need DTP services?

So when you go to a translation company to ask for the translation of a document, think if you need DTP services too, so we can plan it with you. Think about the needs you have to understand how to translate your document:

  • Layout is necessary when the translation of the document is going to be shown to a client or a third party you have to impress. This is the case of business dossiers, catalogues, handbooks…
  • Layout is useful when the audience is not going to be extremely critical but needs to access the documents. Maybe you can skip doing the layout if you’re translating a memo or an internal PowerPoint presentation, for example.
  • Layout is unnecessary when the translation of the text is going to be posted on social media. Then consider how to translate your document so it works on these channels. But layout might not be very useful in these cases…

Translating a document with layout

A translation company obviously knows how to translate a document. But we don’t necessarily know your standards or needs regarding the layout of the document without you informing us. We can advise you, give you recommendations, but you have the final say.

Once you understand that the layout is not included in the translation process, ask yourself if you want us to do it.

Shall we talk?

About the author

Oscar Nogueras

Es el CEO de Ontranslation y dedica algunos ratos libres a escribir en este blog para compartir sus conocimientos sobre internacionalización, cross-border ecommerce y Traducción SEO. No es para menos, ya que entre su formación cuenta con una licenciatura en filología inglesa, un máster en tradumática, un posgrado en elearning y un MBA. En definitiva, una declaración de intenciones donde la cultura y los idiomas se sirven mezclados, no agitados.

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