In part 1 of this blog, which you can access here if you haven’t had a chance to read it, I discussed some of the common file processing challenges experienced by translators and project managers working at LSPs. This also included some general file preparation tips that you can easily share with your clients in order to simplify this phase of the translation process.
In addition to the more general recommendations I provided, here are a few more useful things to know when dealing with some specific file types.
When receiving files from desktop publishing software such as InDesign and QuarkXPress, I recommend applying the following best practices:
- Use layers to separate text to translate from text that should not be translated.
- Use the built-in table editor rather than tabs to create tables. Leave enough room for the table headers to expand.
- Avoid creating multilingual documents (one layer per language) because this makes the documents bigger in file size and thus more difficult to handle on lower spec’d computers. Also and most importantly, if you want such a document to be translated into multiple languages, the translation can only happen sequentially, i.e. one language after the other; you won’t be able to easily send the same document to multiple translators for translation into multiple languages at the same time and consolidate all translated versions back into the same file afterwards. It is much easier in that case to start from one document per language.
- Avoid long text chunks in table cells - table cells in Excel are limited to 32767 characters per cell.
- When working with MS Word or PowerPoint, separate text to be translated from text not to be translated using styles or the hidden text feature. For Excel documents, always tell the translator which row/column contains the text to translate and which contains text not to translate. Do not collapse or hide any columns or rows that you would like to be translated, as these will not get imported into the translation editor.
- When working with macros, avoid translatable text to be hard coded in the VBA code.
- Ideally accept all tracked changes before handing the documents into translation.
- Avoid using the old binary file formats (DOC, XLS and PPT) rather use the modern equivalents (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX).
- Avoid using Microsoft Publisher if at all possible, rather use InDesign (or QuarkXPress) as there is no reliable file type filter available at the moment for MS Publisher, so translating these documents always means tedious post-processing work.
If you’d like to advance your skills in preparing different types of files, including custom file types, this September I will be taking part as a guest presenter in SDL’s webinar series on File processing made easy for LSPs. Learn best practices on how to format files before translation, creating custom file types and much more.