If you are not in the world of graphic design, the phrase “desktop publishing” won’t keep you up at night. The chances are that you may even never heard about it before and it probably won’t matter to you at all.

However, it can definitely change when you need a translation and the only file you have is in pdf, and you go and ask a person or company if they can translate it for you, and even before telling you they can, they ask you if you also need DTP.

First, we need to know what DTP or Desktop Publishing is

In basic words, it means to lay out pages on a computer.

For example, a cover from a book or a page of a newspaper; these documents might have a lot of different elements that we even don’t think about when we look at them,  like different colors and sizes of the letters, pictures, tables and some other things alike that give these documents a unique presentation.

A DTP specialist uses different supplies to create the documents needed, these supplies change depending on what needs to be done, within the list of supplies, one of the most important ones, if not the most important is the computer where you can run the design software. The most common programs for Desktop publishing are the Adobe systems , however you can also use some from the MS office package such as word or publisher.

And how can we relate DTP with translation?

When a document is translated it must be delivered some way. Normally, the fastest and most comfortable one, is the electronic version of it. The most common way for an electronic version of a document, when translations are concerned is  Microsoft Word.

But sometimes, Word is not enough to comply with what we need, as sometimes, what we aim is to translate a children’s book that we finally decided to write, or a presentation for a meeting with our pairs from a foreign country.

Then is when we find out that DTP is very important when we refer to translations.

Whether you need to translate a power point presentation or a brochure, you need to keep in mind that the work it takes goes beyond  just translating the words into another language.

In this case we need to keep in mind a few things that might affect the looks of a document when translating it.

Among the challenges that a DTP specialist or a translator might face you will find that many languages can either expand or shrink when you translate them, which can give you a lot of problems if you want to keep the same form of shape of the original document, and to this we can add that some languages don’t even have the same alphabet or they are not even read from left to right as English and Spanish are.
Translated content poses specific design-related challenges. For example:
Skilled DTP practitioners can ensure that these and other variances are accommodated, not as an afterthought, but as a central component of the project.

So finally, when do you need to request for DTP service?

If you are translating a book and you need the translation ready to be printed out and that it looks exactly the same as the original, or your want your company brochure in a different language, or you are translating your thesis presentation to participate in a conference in a different country or you just need your document to look exactly the same as the one you have, you are most likely to need a DTP specialist’s service, as the skills needed for recreating a document are commonly out of the scope of a translator.

Things to keep in mind

If you already know you need DTP service, you also need to know that there are different levels of difficulty on what needs to be done, as there are different kinds of files and also the final product will be used in different ways.
Depending on what you need, you will have to provide the DTP specialist with a list of different files that will allow him or her to create a mirror replica of your original document, among these, the DTP specialist will most likely  to need the font, the original editable files, links, images, and other things, so you can have the best product.

In our next article we will explain a little bit deeper about the software that is used to Desktop publish and what are the names of everything that you need to have in order to get the desired product.

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