Translating InDesign/IDML

How to prepare your InDesign file for translation


We import InDesign documents in .idml format into one of our CAT tools (CAT = Computer-Assisted Translation). The InDesign document should only contain the text to be translated. This avoids text that is not for translation being included in the translation.

Including/excluding texts in the workflow

Most CAT tools have settings that allow you to decide what should be included for translation. The text we can choose to include/exclude is, for example, text on template pages or in hidden layers. This means that if you have a text that you do not want translated (or to be included in the word count), you can put it in a layer and hide it – and then tell us so that we can make sure it is not included in our workflow. Unfortunately, we are unable to exclude text on the pasteboard – this will be included, so it’s a good idea to remove this before sending the file to us. If it is absolutely necessary to keep it in the document, put it in its own hidden layer (see above).

Text in linked graphics

In a translation workflow involving an InDesign file, it may be a good idea to try as far as possible to avoid text written directly in graphics (e.g. .eps, .ai, etc.). Such texts will not be automatically included in our workflow; they will be dealt with separately. In cases where you still need the text in this format, we need access to the files linked to, with text in editable form if we are to insert the translations in them, or we can deliver these texts separately in text format if you wish to change the language yourself.

Space and adjustments

Many languages differ in terms of the space they occupy, and regardless of how much the translator tries to keep it brief, their translation may take up more space. Russian is an example of a language that “grows” the most, while Asian languages may take up the same or less space. When designing the layout, you should expect the translated version to take up 10–25% more space. Decide in advance how you want to deal with this – for example, is it acceptable to reduce the font size, line spacing, paragraph spacing, size of illustrations, etc.? It can be a good idea to bear this in mind when creating the layout for a document you know will need translating.

Notify the designer:

* Remove all texts or images outside the pasteboard that are not to be translated. (This is because all text appears/is translated in our CAT tools.)

* Accept all changes and then deactivate the change function.

* Export as “IDML” and send the file to us along with the original PDF version.

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