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April 23, 2024

less than a minute read

Multilingual Desktop Publishing (DTP) Basics

What is DTP?

If you’re working with a multilingual design document, translation is only the beginning of the workflow. After translation and proofreading, your project will require DTP, the process of converting graphic design-heavy documents into another language. This involves post-translation typesetting to ensure the final output is as well-formatted as the original.

What files require DTP?

In the broadest of terms, DTP is required for any projects that go beyond plain text. This includes:

  • PowerPoint

  • PDF

  • Adobe files (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator)

  • Images (.jpg, .png, .avif, etc.)

What DTP experts do

After proofreading, a DTP expert will import the final translation into the design software and reformat the text with three key goals:

Ensuring the Content displays correctly and fits the available space.

Languages vary in length and structure, so what fits neatly in an English text box may be cut off in a French one. Additionally, some fonts don’t work with all languages. For example, accent marks or non-roman scripts will need font work to display correctly in print. Finally, images in your document contain un-editable text that needs to be flagged and sent back to the translation team so the DTP expert can reproduce the image, with the target text, in Photoshop.

Adapting the formatting, so the final product follows the rules of the target language.

A big obstacle for many multilingual design projects is the variation of language structure, such as a target text that runs right to left unlike a source left to right language. DTP experts also look for errors in formatting rules such as capitalization in titles, color localization, and issues with bolded or italicized target text.

Running final QA for an attractive, easy-to-read end product.

Finally, a DTP expert must do one last look-over to ensure the output is comprehensive. This includes relinking images and files, checking for text box overflow or font errors, and line spacing to ensure the end product is neither too cluttered nor excessively spaced out.

What you should provide for flawless multilingual DTP

If possible, it is best practice to provide your Language Service Provider with a full design package, including:

  • All fonts

  • Source files for review (PDF, Word, or Powerpoint)

  • Design files for all your DTP projects (Adobe versions of PDFs and images)

  • Preferred color Hex or RGB codes

Any other questions on multilingual DTP? Our support team is here to help. Contact ORCA LS today to discuss your translation projects and get a free quote.

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