A translation agency does more than merely translate words. Desktop Publishing (DTP) is also an important part of the profession. A DTP specialist ensures that your document (a book, magazine or brochure) can go straight to the printer’s. We’re regularly asked questions about translations in combination with DTP work, so we called on our Senior Project Manager, Bart-Jan van Sluijs, to put him through the mill. What about DTP, when is it needed and how do you calculate the costs?

When thinking of a translation agency people often think of the literal translation of texts. What you often don’t realise when submitting your first translation, is that it involves much more than that. For example; ensuring that the text is suitable for the local target group so that your slogan in de target language conveys the exact same message as the one in the source language. Also important is to make sure that the document looks fully presentable. This is why translation agencies have DTP specialists. You can read exactly what they do in this blog post.

Which documents require DTP?

DTP is almost always recommended if you want to have a document translated that has been formatted in Photoshop or InDesign, for example. This usually involves printed matter such as folders, brochures or manuals, which are more complex than a simple text file. Do you want all your files to match your house style? That the layout remains presentable, even if you’ve chosen a font that cannot be edited in Word? ‘If this is the case, by all means opt for our DTP service,’ says Bart-Jan. The most common file formats in this respect are .indd, .inx or .idml.

How do you know if your document requires our DTP service?

Bart-Jan van Sluijs: Your translation reviewed by DTP specialists; why, when and more
Senior Project Manager Bart-Jan van Sluijs: ‘We are happy to go the extra mile to give you the result that will make you happy.’

It’s difficult to judge for yourself whether a document must be reviewed by DTP specialists. It depends on several factors. Thankfully, good translation agencies have their own DTP teams that can assess how well your document is tailored to your needs and that without obligation . ‘DTP is basically always custom work. Sometimes adjustments aren’t necessary, although you would have expected it. And sometimes it’s exactly the other way round.’ This doesn’t mean that your entire document will be overhauled. A DTP translator only adjusts what is needed — everything else remains the same. The one time it’s only the header and sometimes the body text as well.

What if you’re translating from Dutch into French or German? In that case the translation will probably be longer than your original text. The text could also end up being shorter, as is often the case in English. ‘This is not a problem as we’ll adjust the layout in such a way that the translation comes out well. No ugly cut-off sentences, but a consistent whole. Thanks to the DTP service, you’re assured that your text is linguistically correct and that your document remains intact.’

Do you employ your own DTP specialist? Then you can sort out any adjustments internally and only outsource the textual translation. Senior Project Manager Bart-Jan: ‘But if you want we could take over the entire job.’

Okay. And what exactly does a DTP team do?

The DTP specialist ensures that your document looks exactly the way it is intended. ‘For example, the DTP team will check the hyphenation and graphics. Images and logos sometimes require adjustments. Our team will do whatever it takes to ensure that your document is returned to you in the same format. We work with the same software that you used for drafting your document, such as Photoshop and InDesign.’

What about the costs?

The cost of a DTP translation depends on a number of factors. Bart-Jan explains: ‘It’s always custom work. We determine per document what the costs are. As we calculate these costs per page, we look at each page to determine how editable it is. What must the DTP expert change?’ We will inform you of the costs in advance, to avoid any surprises. The quote will be tailor-made and without obligation.

Is there something you, as a customer, still need to do? ‘Not really. We can format your text in such a way that it’s ready to go to the printer’s. We like to go the extra mile to give you the result that will make you happy.’

DTP and the delivery time of your translation

If the DTP team has to work on your document it would be good to take a longer delivery time into account. Of course, it depends on the amount of work, but it would be realistic to add, at least, one extra working day for this. The delivery time increases if there are more pages. Project Managers such as Bart-Jan will assess this and always consult the customer on deadlines and delivery times.

Advantages of DTP

The great advantage of entrusting your document to our experts is that you no longer have to worry about your translation. ‘The design, alignment, white space, margins – it will all be correct. It will save you tons of time and your document can go straight to the printer’s.’

Do you still have questions about your DTP translation? Is it a substantive question or would you like to know more about the costs and receive a quote? Don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll tell you all about it and a tailor-made quote will be on your digital doormat within 2 hours.