Business Translation Center

The role of desktop publishing in business translation

by OFER TIROSH 28/06/2017

Professional business translation isn’t just a case of translating text. Many companies are also concerned as to the presentation of their translated documents. That’s because different languages use different numbers of words to say the same thing. For example, 1,000 words in English equates to around 861 words in Hungarian, or to roughly 758 words in Hebrew. This can create a headache for companies looking to present their translated documents, as the translation often won’t fit the page in the same way as the original copy. 

There are a couple of ways that companies can tackle this. Some choose to adjust the document layout themselves. The Tomedes word count ratio tool can be a great help in this, as it shows approximately how many words in one language will equate to in another. This can help when it comes to planning space requirements for financial documents, brochures, presentations, information leaflets, websites and many other documents. 

Another option is to use a translation agency that offers a desktop publishing service. This removes the headache of space planning and typesetting entirely, as the translation agency takes care of it was part of their work on the document. It becomes the translation agency’s responsibility to harmonize text and graphics in a way that both reflects the original document and fits the translated copy. 

Avoiding machine translation is essential when it comes to documents that have been carefully formatted, as machine translation won’t be able to preserve the formatting and layout of a document in the way that human translation can. Tables, charts and captions tied to graphics can all combine to confuse machine translation software, resulting in copy that can end up badly ordered (as well as badly ordered – machine translation is still a long way from perfect!). 

If you’ve put effort into producing a professionally presented document, it pays to ensure that any copies of that document look equally professional, regardless of the language they are in. Feel free to contact the Tomedes team for more information.