Business Translation Center

What are desktop publishing services and how do they relate to translation?

by OFER TIROSH 10/07/2019

Many of our translation clients come to us with a leaflet, brochure or other glossy publication that they wish to publish in another language but aren’t quite sure how to do. That’s because the content translation is only one element of the task. When it comes to the design software not supporting foreign languages or the translated copy taking up significantly more (or less) space than the original, or how to include translated labels on a graph, many clients find that they are pouring a vast amount of time into a frustrating task. 

This is why Tomedes offers desktop publishing services as well as translation services. We can provide desktop publishing work either as part of a translation job or as a standalone service. For those who are new to desktop publishing, this article covers everything from what we mean by this term to how to solve common design problems. 

What are desktop publishing services?

According to Career Explorer, in this article on what desktop publishers do, desktop publishing refers to the use of design/publishing software to create page layouts. This can be for a range of publications, from newspapers, magazines and books to leaflets and brochures. Essentially, if you want a publication to look good, you need to use desktop publishing software. 

Desktop publishing software includes everything from relatively expensive packages such as Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress to less costly, purely cloud-based options such as Canva. These types of software range from being complex to use to being fairly easy, but all require you to have a basic eye for which colours work well together and to understand what makes the difference between a catchy page layout and one that looks cluttered and unappealing. 

Desktop publishing with translation 

Interestingly, even if you feel confident in your desktop publishing skills, it’s not always possible to master the design process using a foreign language. This is because introducing another language can give rise to a number of issues. 

One such problem is the fact that different languages use different numbers (and lengths) of words to convey the same message. 1,000 words in English, for example, equates to around 1,225 in Arabic. As such, the Arabic version of your publication will require around 25% more space for the copy than the English version. This can create design headaches, as well as the frustration of having to respace and alter the document when you’ve already spent time very carefully fitting the amount of English copy to each page. 

This is why some professional translation services offer to take care of desktop publishing as part of their work. It’s why we have a design team here at Tomedes who are pros at dealing with issues just such as this. 

Another problem that the Tomedes desktop publishing team can overcome is the use of foreign scripts. Don’t worry if your in-house software can’t handle the Cyrillic script or gets in a muddle when you try to include accents – our team has both the software and the knowledge to address such issues! 

Then there’s the issue of applying translated labels to graphs and images. Perhaps in the original publication you’ve used a picture of a person holding up a sign. Do you know how to alter the content of the image in order for the sign to display another language? Or if you’ve used a screenshot of a graph, do you know how to change the integral data labels into another tongue? While both can seem like daunting (and lengthy!) tasks to most of us, desktop publishing professionals can make quick work of them, producing superb results that are worthy of any publication. 

Desktop publishing services for business customers

Whether you need a desktop publishing service for a single language, or as part of a translation project, the Tomedes team can help. Why not chat to our friendly staff to let them know what you need? We think you’ll be glad that you did!