Thursday, February 27, 2014

Best Design Application for Translation

Here at PLG, we deal with many file types and typesetting programs, but for the sake of simplicity, we are going to look at 4 of the most common: Word, InDesign, Illustrator and PDF. In this article, we will answer which file type is the most compatible with translation. Read on to find out more.

For simple translations that contain little to no formatting and images, Word files are best used. This way, the client can use the translation however which way he or she wants. Word can certainly make the job simpler. However, for Word files that contain complex formatting (charts, long tables composed of numbers and text, and images,) using word can become a translator’s nightmare. Word has poor text design capabilities so Word should be preferred for texts with little to no formatting.

InDesign files are the most common file type when translating manuals, catalogs, books, magazines and marketing materials such as brochures and flyers. The best feature of using InDesign is the ability to export text into an XML translation file format. This allows translators and typesetters more flexibility in working with InDesign. Much more can be done with InDesign than with many other programs.

The other most common format used in translations is Illustrator. While commonly used, Illustrator files are generally not very “translation-friendly” however. Illustrator’s XML features are less robust which means text has to be manually copied and pasted, often one text box at a time. If you feel like you would want to translate your manuals or materials with large amounts of text, opt out of Illustrator and use InDesign instead. However; Illustrator is best used when translating packaging or other artwork with small amounts of text (less than 300 words).

Contrary to popular belief, PDFs are the least compatible with translation. The reason for this is that the PDFs were generally created with another software program (such as InDesign or Illustrator for example). In those cases, the original source file should be used. When the source file is not available, the only option is to recreate the PDF in an appropriate format. The only exception is if the PDF is an editable PDF file, which is rarely the case.

Other programs/file types that are translation-friendly include Framemaker, HTML, XML, Excel, and TXT files.

Which file types do you use most often?

Project Highlight: PRO1 Manuals and Packaging – Spanish and French

Earlier in the year, PLG completed the translation and typesetting of PRO1’s technical installation and operation manuals and packaging for their heating and cooling controls products into Spanish and French. The project was a 3 month project, and with Spanish and French combined, PLG translated a total of about 184,000 words and did the typesetting of 850 pages! Managing a project of such size is certainly a large undertaking. For these 3 months, we had a team of 2 translators, 2 typesetters, 2 editors and 1 project manager working exclusively on PRO1’s project.  With this combined effort, the project was delivered within Pro1’s schedule.

We were certainly excited to work on this project and are eager to continue supporting PRO1 Technologies in their future translation needs.

“Thanks again for all your hard work” – Matt Bellows, Graphic Artist, PRO1 Technolgoies

To learn more about PRO1, visit their website at

Waygo: An App that helps you eat Authentic Chinese food

Have you ever been curious what was being served in the Chinese menu at a Chinese restaurant? Well it used to be that only those that knew how to read Chinese would be able to order from that menu. Now, there is an app that fixes this problem. Developers at Translate Abroad have developed an app that automatically translates the menu for you into English. No longer do you have to drag your Chinese friend to come with you, you can go it all alone.

If you love Chinese food, you know this problem very well. You are sitting at the table and you glance over at the Chinese family that is brought something entirely different than what is written on your English menu. You ask them, “what is that?” and they give you the name of a Chinese dish that you’ve never heard of. You thought you knew all about Chinese food (you’ve mastered Orange chicken, Egg Foo Young, Chop Suey) but now your claims to Chinese food expertise have been tested.

Using the app to translate the Chinese menu allows you to choose dishes that are more authentic.

We tried this out on a few Chinese items we had found, below is our results. Would you eat any of these delicious-sounding dishes?

The app can be downloaded at the link below (only available for iPhone only at this time).

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