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We provide all kinds of graphic design and localising services, very often involving producing foreign-language versions of existing documents, sometines including transforming or repurposing existing documents for publication in different formats or contexts. Here are a few examples of services we most commonly provide to our clients:

  • Multilingual desktop publishing: Producing foreign-language versions of an existing document (e.g. user guide, catalogue, brochure, newsletter, etc.), by first preparing files (using Trados Studio) for translation by external translators, then processing the translated files to create the foreign-language versions, including reformatting text, replacing text contained in some images or infographics, entering amendments or corrections in translations, etc.;
  • Document transformation: Transforming an existing document into a multilingual version of the same document (e.g. user manual, food packaging label, administrative form, etc.), using translations provided by external translators;
  • Creating clean editable files for translators: Creating a properly formatted and editable Microsoft Word or InDesign document from a paper copy or a PDF file (e.g. scanned legal documents, administrative forms, etc.) to obtain a resulting document that is easily editable and can be translated externally without running into formatting problems (see Special services for translators and translation agencies);
  • File format conversions: When the native artwork files (e.g. InDesign files) have been lost and all you have is a PDF, or if the existing artwork files are in an obsolete or problematic file format (e.g. QuarkXPress, PageMaker, WordPerfect, Freehand, etc.), we can convert the existing files and recreate the document in InDesign (or any other more suitable modern Adobe application) so the resulting document can be amended, updated, repurposed and/or translated as needed;
  • Image processing: Creating, localising or amending images and infographics to fit a different language or format. Typically, replacing non-editable text in images by their translation, or tweaking or altering a graphic element or pattern to fit a different language or format;
  • Etc. Variations are endless.

Multilingual Desktop Publishing (DTP)

  • Experience, skills and resources  
    • Languages: We have many years of experience in handling DTP projects in almost all languages of the world.
    • Software and file formats: Although we normally work only with the latest versions of software from Adobe and Microsoft, such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Microsoft Publisher, etc., we are nevertheless able to recover and import documents from a very wide variety of other sources and file formats such as defunct software or specialised engineering tools. This means we can easily recreate or update old documents for which the files are only available in a problematic format.
    • Experience: We have accumulated many years of experience in producing foreign versions of product catalogues, technical manuals, marketing brochures, newsletters, food packaging and labels, etc. in multiple languages, and we have many tricks up our sleeves to handle the occasionally complex or unexpected situation.
    • Typography (fonts): We have a large collection of special fonts and foreign language font. In fact, we can even create fonts or add a few special characters to an existing font for a particular project, or convert Mac fonts to Windows or vice versa. And we can always replace missing fonts with similar-looking ones if needed, for example to avoid a copyright issue.
  • Typical production
    • Extracting text for translation or word-counting, and preparing files for translators: (see Special services for translators and translation agencies).
    • Technical documentation: We regularly produce translated versions of technical manuals or user guides of all sizes (some more than 2000 pages!) in English, French and other languages, which typically include technical diagrams containing uneditable text that needs translation, screen images that need to be recaptured, logos and other items that need to be amended or replaced. This type of work usually involves a translation workflow based on the use of Trados Studio or other similar Computer-Assisted Translation software.
    • Catalogues and brochures: We regularly produce foreign-language versions of catalogues and brochures, including in Middle Eastern languages (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew) and Asian languages (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.), using InDesign and other Adobe software.
    • Food packaging, posters, labels, logos, etc.: We routinely produce foreign versions of such items (particularly in Arabic and in European languages), carefully meeting the specifications and matching the spirit of the original composition in the target language.

Graphic Design Creation

  • Newsletters: We routinely design monthly newsletters for some of our clients, turning their raw text and selected photos into fully laid out newsletters, while conforming to a predefined visual identity or other design guidelines. Then, we often produce a few foreign versions of these newsletters, once the text has been translated by our client or some external translators.
  • Administrative reports: We are often ordered to create large reports including many tables, charts and graphics, in InDesign or in Microsoft Word, using raw text and Excel charts or tables provided by the final client.

Special Services for Translators and Translation Agencies

  • Extracting text for translation and preparing files for translators

    Translation agencies are often requested to translate materials sent to them in file formats that translators cannot readily process. Sometimes, converting a PDF file into a Microsoft Word file is all it takes, but quite often, the result is not ideal, or leads to other problems later on. For example, the original document may have some graphic features that can't be reproduced nicely in Microsoft Word and the client expects the translation to look exactly as good as the original, requiring the translation to be input into the artwork files (e.g. the InDesign files).

    Translators seldom have the DTP software applications required to open the original artwork files (and even when they do, they are seldom able or willing to do a perfect DTP job for a competitive price within a short turnaround time). Furthermore, to be effective as translators, they usually need to work in a software environment in which they can access all their translation tools easily, rather than in a DTP application not particularly well suited for translation work: in short, they prefer to work either in Microsoft Word, or in a CAT (Computer-Aided Translation) application such as Trados Studio, MemoQ, Wordfast Pro, Déjà Vu, etc.

    In practice, this means that the source-language text usually needs to be extracted from the original artwork files before the translator can start working. Then, once the translation is complete, the translated (target-language) text needs to be transferred back into the artwork files, in replacement of the original source text, and readjusted to fit in each page or illustration.

    It is important to know that in the last couple of decades, many software solutions have been created to avoid the tedious manual copy-pasting of many pages of translated text into artwork files, which used to be an inevitable part of a traditional DTP workflow. The improved workflow consists in extracting the text for translation automatically using special software (such as Trados Studio) to produced tagged work files, i.e. basically text files containing page formatting data that allow the software to recognise where each piece of translation should go on each page, so the translation can later be automatically imported back into the artwork files without much manual labour. This can be a great time-saver, as the DTP labour remaining thereafter is most often reduced to the adjustment of target-language text to fit the available space on each page, and the processing of illustrations containing text (which can rarely be processed automatically). Such tagged work files can be translated either in Microsoft Word or in Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) application (such as Trados Studio).

    Not only does this workflow save a lot of work at DTP stage, but it also prevents errors and shortens turnaround times. Incidentally, it also allows for more accurate word counts and better “fuzzy match” discounts (i.e. better leveraging of similitudes and repetitions of existing translations) if the translator uses a CAT application.

    We have extensive experience in this field, so we can quickly and confidently prepare tagged work files from the original artwork files for translators to translate into any language, in either Microsoft Word, Trados Studio or any other Trados Studio-compatible CAT application (i.e. capable of importing and exporting files in Trados Studio format, as most modern professional CAT applications currently available on the market).

  • Solutions to typical problems encountered when word-counting and preparing files for translators

    Typical problems with certain types of files:
    • File contains a huge number of tags: These tags often result in an artificially inflated word count (the counting software counts some of them as words for translation) and they often end up causing many text formatting and page layout problems during and after translation. We know how to effectively “clean up” this type of file.
    • File is full of graphics containing non-editable text needing translation: This non-editable text can't be read by the counting software and results in a falsly low word count. Also, it can't be extracted easily so it will be missing in the files sent to the translator. We can often extract this image text using OCR (optical character recognition) or we will retype it if necessary.
    • File is a password-protected PDF: The software used by the translation agency can't read the file so the text can't be extracted or counted. In 90% of cases, we can circumvent the problem and extract the text to be word-counted or translated (depending on the type of protection).
    • File was created by scanning a bad photocopy: The file resulting from the OCR is full of text errors and page layout aberrations which will cause problems when counting words and later when translating it or reformatting it. We have a lot of experience in the art of effectively “cleaning up” this type of file and/or rebuilding a properly laid out document from such a file.
    • Etc.
    We have experience in resolving such problems and we know how to produce “clean” files that give relatively acurate word-counts et can later be translated and reformatted easily.

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in most European languages

    We will convert a hard copy (i.e. printed on paper) document or a “scanned” PDF (in which text cannot be selected) into a Microsoft Word document in which the text is fully editable. If the language is French or English, we can also manually proofread the resulting text to make sure no errors have been added during the OCR process (e.g. the occasional “rn” changed to “m”, etc.), which is sometimes an issue, particularly if the text is intended to be machine-translated or processed by an artificial intelligence.
  • Password-protected PDF files

    PDF files are sometimes password-protected and the client may have lost the password or it would take too long to get it. In 90% of cases, we can help (depending on the type of protection).
  • Expert knowledge of Microsoft Word and how to handle complex or huge Word documents

    We are very familiar with Microsoft Word's Advanced Features, such as automatic lists, automatic indexes, cross-references, watermarks and background graphics, text boxes, macros, special functions only available for some less common languages (such as complex script options only available for Middle Eastern and Asian languages), etc.

    We also have a lot of experience dealing with Microsoft Word's common and less common issues. For example, when creating high-resolution PDFs from Word, when handling files converted from PDFs and containing text boxes, including with counting words within text boxes, or issues with graphics, with image resolution, with automatic font replacements, etc.

    When handled properly, the current version of Microsoft Word can be used to produce large, complex and sophisticated documents, with a few limitations, of course.

    We have years of experience in handling large and complex Word files, and we can suggest cost-effective and reliable approaches to complex word-processing projects.
  • Cost-effective solutions for file format compatibility issues or font issues

    We sometimes find that some clients operate on outdated technological solutions, imposed years ago by a third party, such as a commercial printer, to avoid certain technical issues, and are unaware that more modern and more cost-effective approaches are now available today to handle these issues.

    For example, a client may insist that Arabic or Chinese text should always be delivered in vector-outlined EPS files — not knowing precisely why, and generally assuming that it simply must be so — when there are nowadays cheaper and faster ways to handle problems formerly associated with these languages and fonts. In fact, while such clients are usually afraid that their printer might object to more modern solutions or newer file formats, we usually find that printers are quite happy with these newer solutions.

Any question? Call us or send us an email now (see our Contact Us page for details).


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