Creado el: 17/02/2021
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

Intended for Mobile Use: Subtitling of Vertical Videos

When half of the world’s population owns a smartphone, there is an audience of billions ready to play, stream, learn and communicate via mobile devices. For this reason, a lot of media content is specifically intended and produced for smartphones. Vertical videos, in which the image is taller than wider, are an example of this. Their aspect ratio makes them fit naturally into the devices’ screen. To watch these videos, mobile users don’t need to turn the phone, which creates a more user-friendly experience.

If an app or platform that integrates vertical videos is going to be localized, the audiovisual material in it needs to be localized too. Translating vertical videos into different languages, as with any other media content, is crucial to expand the audience globally and create more committed viewers and, hence, customers. To achieve this goal, subtitling can be a very useful and versatile solution.

Mobile and Localized

Vertical videos are now part of social media apps, such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. They are also utilized in streaming or video-based services, like Netflix’s previews or even YouTube, where some artists release their latest music videos in vertical and horizontal format. Lastly, we can find them on other kinds of mobile apps that have videos integrated, say delivery, mobile gaming or e-learning apps. These can include, for instance, advertisements, cutscenes or instructional videos in vertical format.

Subtitling can help localize all this content, with very favorable effects. First, subtitles in the same language as the audio are an accessibility resource for hard of hearing users. They also allow viewers to watch the video without sound, which is a common practice among mobile users. On the other hand, translated subtitles help content and products reach a global audience; they make content available to many more viewers around the world.

But to take the best advantage of this media localization solution, it’s worth noting some format considerations.

Vertical Fit

Technical specifications for subtitling vertical videos are mostly the same as for regular subtitles. Line breaks rules, subtitle duration or reading speed parameters don’t vary within image width. However, subtitles for vertical videos should fit in a more narrow screen. Because of this, the subtitler must evaluate the safe area and make adjustments accordingly. A safe area is a portion of the screen where subtitles are safely displayed. In that space, the whole text shows properly on the screen, allowing comfortable reading. In order to achieve this, subtitles for vertical videos can have a reduced character per line limit: from the standard 37-42 to 32-37 characters per line. Also, it’s possible to use smaller fonts to fit the text into the more narrow aspect ratio.

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Creado el: 09/02/2021
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

Localization Moves to the Studio: About Voice-Over Services

Content is king and the localization industry offers multiple mediums to serve it. From translation to transcreation, from subtitling to dubbing, language service providers have fitting solutions to localize audiovisual materials. Throughout marketing campaigns, streaming platforms, e-learning courses, just to name a few, translation is crucial because audiences and markets flourish when content is available in the users’ languages.

Media localization solutions have different outcomes, workflows, schedules and budgets. For example, subtitling or captioning can be cheaper and faster than recording voice-over tracks, since the process of producing and reviewing it doesn’t require studio sessions. However, localizing voices with native talents can result in a more engaging experience for the audience. This is why voice-over services are sometimes the ideal ally for campaigns, videos or courses.

Off-screen narration

Voice-over is the simplest way of localizing audio recordings. It’s mostly used for documentaries, e-learning courses, and instructional and institutional videos when there is an off-screen voice. The process’ deliverable is an audio track recorded by a voice talent, that can be male or female depending on client’s preference. 

Most voice-over projects don’t require major audio editions. But sometimes the audio track needs to be synchronized with scenes or other tracks, such as music. Because of this, and in order to ensure high-quality results, a skilled audio or video editor supervises the recording process.

Furthermore, the translation of the script for voice-over tracks must beware of sentence length, since ideally, the target text should be of the same extension as the source text. If not, the translated audio may be longer than the original material, and the talent would need to read it with increased speed.

Voice and acting

Other audiovisual materials, like movies, series, video games or advertising, need more detailed audio localization. In those cases, dubbing is a more appropriate solution, because its outcome enables immersion by recreating the original audio. An expert translator adapts the script taking into account actors’ lip movements and line duration. Moreover, voice talents are actors or are specialized in dubbing. 

Given that the audio should be adapted to the actor’s expressions and actions on screen, dubbing implies a very thorough process of edition and revision. A reviewer checks the final product line by line to ensure the text fits perfectly into movements or scenes. 


It may seem at plain sight that voice-over and dubbing services only involve recording sessions. But it’s actually a process that also entails localization and several instances of revision. For example, once translated, reviewers check the script extensively before recording to avoid introducing errors in the voice track. Furthermore, audio editors revise the material and verify compliance with any technical requirements. And finally, the recording is checked for errors in pronunciation, syntax or audio edition.

With all these factors in the scene, one thing is for sure. The right media localization solution combined with a quality-driven workflow will secure optimal translated content for the audience out there.

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Creado el: 26/01/2021
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

Post-editing Highlights: What to Correct

The implementation of artificial intelligence provides new resources and possibilities to the localization industry. As a result, the translation workflows change. Because of that, language professionals perform additional tasks apart from translation or editing, such as pre-editing, post-editing or Machine Translation (MT) evaluation.

Post-editing implies reviewing a MT output in order to improve it and to obtain a semantically and syntactically accurate target text. This service is a specialized task that requires a specific set of skills, expertise and competencies.

Trained post-editors are aware of the most common mistakes MT makes and quickly implement the changes needed. Let’s analyze some of the most common errors addressed in the post-editing stage.

Mistranslations and omissions

Whether a document or project need deep or light post-editing, there are mistakes that post-editors always correct in the post-editing stage. They scan the output text for omitted or added words, phrases or segments. Additionally, they will correct mistranslations, semantic and syntactic errors applying quick and short changes. Correcting numerical and tag mismatches between source and target text is also a must during post-editing.

Furthermore, if specified for a project, reviewers evaluate if the output complies with stylistic guidelines and correct it accordingly.

With all these basic improvements, post-editing ensures that the target text is accurately translated and properly formatted.

Limits of AI

Mistranslations or omissions are common errors that can be found even in human translation. But other mistakes are related to the capabilities of the artificial intelligence engine. Some of them are the following:

  • Post-editors spot errors in the output that can be due to a spelling error in the source text. When the misspelled word or cipher exists, the engine translates it, but the target text will convey the wrong meaning. Because vendors master specific domains, they are able to spot those errors.
  • If there are acronym preferences specified, post-editors will ensure they are properly translated in target text. This is because the MT engine might accurately translate well-known acronyms (e.g., WHO>OMS), but non-familiar ones can be left untranslated. Also, there might be inconsistencies in how they are translated or explained in the target text.
  • Depending on the engine (if it’s, for instance, example based, ruled based or neural), some types tend to mirror the letter case of words. Post-editors correct any capitalization mistake generated by differences in the capitalization rules between target and source text. 
  • Some projects may have the specification of leaving untranslated certain terms or phrases, for example, codes of web pages, proper names or institution names. While reviewing the output, the post-editor ensures the target text complies with that requirement.
  • Sometimes, the MT engine misreads punctuation by interpreting it wrongly or mirroring the source text’s punctuation. Post-editors must be aware of the most common punctuation mistakes (for instance, mistranslation of the long dash and colon in English into Spanish text pairs) and correct them accordingly.
  • The MT output can be grammatically and syntactically correct, but still don’t comply with, for example, the character limit specified for a project. Post-editors will bear in mind the specific requirements and apply the appropriate changes.

Leave it to the experts

Relying on expert post-editors ensures that providers with a specific background and know-how handle the MT workflows. Experience and expertise allow vendors to implement the required improvements in MT outputs without sacrificing time nor productivity.

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Creado el: 12/01/2021
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

The Three Essential IT Resources for Translation Workflows

Several specifications and challenges can determine a localization project, like references, term lists, a big team with a large workload or tight deadlines. Because of this, computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are the best allies when handling translation workflows. First, they help the management team organize assignments and monitor the vendors’ progress. They also assist translators and editors with many useful features (like terminology management, spellcheck, search options, shortcuts, etc.). And lastly, they benefit quality assurance managers providing tools to revise and run tests on the project’s documents. 

Hence, the value CAT tools add in each of these steps is fundamental for a smooth workflow and, as a result, high-quality deliverables. In particular, three features of translation software impact consistency, productivity and optimal terminology management. These are translation memories (TM), term bases (TB) and alignment pairs.

1. Translation memories

This segment has a 101% match with one stored in the TM.

TMs are bilingual databases that store pairs of translated segments (source + target text). They are integrated into CAT tools, so linguists can reuse previous translations and save the new ones. First, this speeds up the process of writing. Second, it’s the basic resource for ensuring consistency within documents and projects.

There are different possible levels of matches between a segment that needs translation and the ones stored in a TM.

0-50% – No MatchThe segment to be translated is new, so there is no suggestion available in the TM. 
50-99% – Fuzzy MatchThere is a partial match between a segment to be translated and a segment in the TM. There can be low or high fuzzy matches.
100% – Full MatchThe segment is identical to one stored in the TM, so there is a full match.
101% – Context MatchThe segment is identical to one stored in the TM, so there is a full match. Also, segment’s context is the same. 

TMs are very valuable databases that can be shared, exported or imported in different software applications. 

2. Term bases

An example of an English-Spanish term base.

A TB is a database containing pairs of terms (words or expressions) in two or more languages. TBs can be created or edited using the CAT tool in an ongoing project. In addition, it’s possible to create a TB by importing an existing list of terms from a bilingual or multilingual document (like an Excel sheet). 

Suggestions for terms in a CAT tool.

Glossaries ensure consistent management of terminology across documents and projects. Skilled use of term bases will provide multiple advantages for translation workflows, because TBs can help with:

  • Forbidden or incorrect words
  • Preferential expressions 
  • Recognizing terms despite inflection
  • Providing context or conditions for a term
  • Distinguishing terms according to their letter case

An English-Spanish term base with forbidden terms.

3. Alignment

This is a feature of CAT tools that allows importing pre-existing translations. The software automatically aligns the segments of a pair of files (the source text and its translation) to create a bilingual document. This way, linguists can have access to these translations, reuse them or store them in a TM. Therefore, the information present in the document (terminology, references) is easily accessible to the linguists working in the project, as any other CAT tool resource. 

Alignment is an effective way of handling previous translations sent as reference, because it allows to import them in the tool. This way, the processing of this information and the consistency with it is ensured.

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Creado el: 06/01/2021
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

Mission Accomplished: A Case Study Review at Terra Translations

Whatever hurdle the Terra team faces will eventually become another milestone along the way. This is exactly what happened in the middle of summer 2020, when the team led by Operations Lead Julieta Trovant had to tackle a very large and complex project. The challenge began with the request of a special client. The IT startup needed its entire mobile application translated, including user interface, content, videos and voice tracks. First, the team analyzed the required actions and guided the client in deciding what was the best localization solution for their needs. 

However, translating a mobile app implies linguistic and technological challenges, such as establishing stylistic guidelines, setting file processing protocols or managing videos and subtitling formats. All these factors immediately put the whole team in motion.


In order to manage the project successfully, Julieta believes that teamwork played a crucial part. “We worked alongside vendor managers, business development managers, the human resources department, project managers and a large team of vendors,” she explained. This articulation helped them choose the right profile of professionals. “We were in the need of highly skilled translators and subtitlers. Vendors had to be open to changes, suggestions and catch immediately the desired tone for the app,” she said. With this assistance, Julieta’s team found the translators who perfectly fit the project and were enthusiastic about it.

Additionally, given that the client was developing the app, the Terra team was always open to the changes they introduced, and flexible enough to adapt their workflows accordingly. This is where the business development managers played their part. Julieta explained that they worked side by side, because “they built the perfect relationship with the client, based on smooth and clear communication.” This really made a difference in the project as she puts it, since it allowed them to match the client’s expectations with the production capability of the team.

Managing and value

Sometimes the value that the operations team adds in the final deliverable is overlooked. For Julieta, this project was very insightful for both the client and the team, as they all realized how much worth comes from efficient management. Initially, they built a risk management approach, which helped them analyze potential problems and anticipate solutions. Also, the IT expertise was decisive in establishing the correct processing method of the translatable files. With all these actions on the table, the team delivered high-quality outputs on the agreed dates.

“We also had the chance to use our creativity to come up with innovative solutions tailored to the client’s needs,” Julieta said. For example, they developed a specific channel of communication with the client, in order to have an expert language lead answering linguistic queries. Furthermore, they needed to come up with a method to work between two different translation tools, while keeping format and compatibility. Thus, they assembled a unique workflow to properly manage the translatable files and run exhaustive quality checks. 

Look beyond

It is known that facing challenges and coming through them successfully unites any team. But as Julieta shared with us, it is also a step in continuous learning, because all the lessons learned are an asset that helps in future projects. “We are confident in our abilities and the integral solutions we can offer to our clients,” she explained. From planning to file processing, from risk management to vendor selection, we really look forward to putting them to work for the future projects that are to come.

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Creado el: 08/12/2020
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

A Quality Cycle: About Back Translation and Reconciliation Services

Assuring quality in all its aspects —semantics, grammar, stylistic and cultural accuracy, optimal format, correct terminology— is one of the pillars of localization workflows. In this regard, quality is not ensured by applying one single action. On the contrary, many factors contribute to quality, such as linguist selection, efficient use of tools and different processes of quality control.

There are certain textual materials that are highly sensitive and have a major impact on the life of people related to them. This is the case, for instance, of pharmaceutical and clinical protocols, clinical research, financial or medical reports. When working with these documents, clients and/or Language Service Providers (LSPs) can opt for adding another quality assurance step, called back translation. This step can be useful in the following scenarios:

  • The content needs rigorous control, since any semantic error can have practical consequences.
  • Sometimes clients don’t speak nor read in the target language and want to check the accuracy of the translation by themselves.
  • When reviewing transcreated text, clients want to assess how the linguistic team translated a slogan or other marketing copy, and what meaning it conveys in the target language.

The three-column text

The aim of back translation is to have another instance of control of the target text’s quality; mostly in terms of terminology and semantic accuracy. It consists of performing another translation, but this time of the target text into the source text language.

For example, if we translated a clinical protocol from English into Spanish, we would apply another process of translation, but from the Spanish target into English again. The resulting new English text will never be an outbound translation. The new English translation  is not intended for publishing nor distribution. The outcome of a back translation process is only for internal use in the localization process. The linguistic team performs it only for quality assurance purposes.

Moreover, we can point out the following characteristics for back translation outcomes:

  • They are literal.
  • They will never result in a version exactly the same as the original source; it helps to identify discrepancies or errors in the translation.
  • A different linguist not involved in the original translation workflow works on it. Sometimes, they don’t even have access to the first source text (blind translation). 

Let’s reconcile

After the above-mentioned step, the same linguist or a different one will read and compare the source text against this new outcome. If no critical difference in meaning or mistranslations are flagged, the translation is considered accurate, and the process finishes. On the other hand, if the reviewer spots discrepancies, he or she will mark them up for further review, in which the team fixes the translation. Sometimes, they fill reports with the errors found and corrected in this step.


The process of back translation is very thorough and implies an exhausting revision of the translation that goes beyond editing or proofreading. However, it demands a well-planned and wide deadline, and the use of several professionals. Because of this, LSPs and/or clients should consider if back translation is appropriate for a certain project considering time, resources and budget. If not, there may be other ways of ensuring quality too, through one of the multiple means the localization industry has come to develop.

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Creado el: 02/12/2020
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

In Team We Trust: Virtual Leadership

Unexpected times come along with unexpected outcomes. Recently, many companies around the globe had to face this fact. In order to continue their operations (providing essential services), they found themselves in need of moving the workplace from the office to home. Organizations that are new to this setting are discovering and dealing with the specificities of working remotely. For example, communicating face to face differs from a briefing by email. Or scheduling activities for on-premises staff implies different strategies than planning tasks for a disperse remote team. Thus, leadership is not the same either: managers who are accustomed to working in the office need to refine their skills for the purpose of leading and having a positive influence over a virtual staff.

Terra Translations has put together virtual teams and achieved goals every day for 20 years, with the invaluable support of its operations managers and language leads. Based on that asset built over two decades, here we provide some insight into organizational and communication strategies to support the switch into a model of remote leadership.

Enhancing vs. controlling

Monitoring and over-controlling sometimes are common reactions when shifting to a remote workplace. Leaders can’t see what the team is doing, and that could be upsetting for them. But soon that kind of supervision will be proven limited and unnecessary. When operating remotely, controlling a team at all times isn’t possible nor desirable, because engaging in those attitudes is very exhausting for every member of a team, and also an obstacle for building strong interpersonal relationships. 

Successful leaders will enhance the potential of the members of their team and motivate them to achieve the outcomes desired. This is done by establishing daily workflows based more on projects than on daily fixed schedules. Project-based workflows imply working target-oriented, so every member of a team can provide their skills and competencies with this shared goal in mind. In contrast to monitoring compliance with a fixed schedule (like from 9 to 5), leaders will assess projects’ progress, productivity and wellbeing of the employees regularly. It’s trust, motivation and a shared sense of purpose that’s behind the cohesion of a team, not control nor fear.

One and others

The essence of leadership implies building a relationship with others, even when the task is carried out in a remote environment. Communication is the ground and the means to do so. In that regard, experts suggest that, first of all, leaders need to learn how to communicate through the media that works best for each team or member. Maybe some colleagues are more receptive to oral communication, while others receive better input by emails or briefs. 

Moreover, efficient virtual leaders build a healthy self-image that helps them in their role. With that in mind, despite being aware that they are not perfect and are not able to do it all, leaders build a confident self-sense around their capabilities and competencies. In that regard, in the process of developing a leading personality, continuous learning is crucial. Leaders should always be receptive to feedback and need to ask open questions to the colleagues they trust the most to learn from their insights and opinions. 

Lastly, a virtual leader embraces and masters the available technology, because it’s an ally, not a barrier. Successful managers explore the possibilities that software offers to daily operations: file-sharing, dynamic scheduling, pervasive communication and automation.

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Creado el: 24/11/2020
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

The Toolbox for Subtitling

Subtitling is a media localization solution that requires proficiency in two different fields. First, the text in the subtitle must be a linguistically correct and culturally accurate translation of the source audio or text.

With the purpose of delivering optimal subtitles, audiovisual translators and subtitlers can access resources to guide their jobs, such as software, specifications or reference materials. These are also quality assurance tools that guarantee that the delivered file is consistent, accurate and in agreement with all the client’s parameters and specifications. We’ll describe some of the resources that support audiovisual projects here.

1. Software

Reliable software is a key resource for subtitling. On one hand, it helps to automate several aspects of the job and, on the other, it’s a tool to ensure quality. Professional programs can be configured with parameters (such as line limit, reading speed, shot change preference) and they run QA analysis based on them. 

There are free software options, such as Aegisub, SubtitleEdit or Subtitle Workshop. Other programs must be purchased (by a one-time payment or a monthly subscription), like EZTitles, SubtitleNEXT or WinCAPs. Certain applications support more file formats than others, or handle more complex workflows. They synchronize subtitles to shot changes automatically, or they show the audio waveform. Others are lighter applications that don’t include these features. The choice depends on every need.

2. Guidelines

Technical and stylistic guidelines are the first touchstone for a consistent and accurate subtitling project. Depending on the transmission support (streaming platform, web pages, theatres, television, etc.), subtitles must have certain technical specifications, like length or aspect. Compliance with requested requirements is very important in subtitling, because it has consequences in layout, video aspect and reading.

 A complete project guide specifies the following preferences:

  • Subtitle type/style
  • Frame rate
  • Reading speed
  • Character limit
  • Shot change or audio wave compliance
  • Font and position

Also, style guidelines are a useful resource when translating or preparing the text of the subtitles, providing linguistic criteria of client’s preference. For instance, guides specify how to handle proper names and numbers, speaker’s IDs or audio in a foreign language. They also set preferences, if any, for punctuation, italics or letter case. 

3. KNP and Query Sheets 

Another very common tool in subtitling projects are KNP (key names and phrases) sheets. They are online collaborative documents. In them, subtitlers write down proposed translations and information for characters’ names, places, institutions, catchphrases or any other relevant term in the series or movie. The team can also register if characters interact with formal or informal tone. This comes in very handy to translate dialogues while maintaining consistency. 

KNP sheets are widely used in projects where several providers work simultaneously in related material, because they promote consistency. Furthermore, this resource is helpful for data collection. The information is utilized to ensure consistent translation and treatment across other media localization products, such as dubbing, marketing materials or web content. For collaborative projects, query sheets are also useful. There, translators can ask each other questions or clarify doubts with clients.

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Creado el: 13/11/2020
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

Integration Between Tools: Make It Work


Within the localization industry, there is a wide range of technology solutions. For instance, some computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are specifically designed to translate mobile applications, while others work perfectly for website localization or software development. They also vary in complexity, size or usability. Quality assurance (QA) checks as well as terminology and project management features are also factors that change among translation tools.

Operating in a business with such diverse opportunities implies that sometimes we have to work in very different tools, with their pros and cons. For example, a client may require vendors to use a certain software application, say, a web-based editor, that may not be that handy if the hired Language Service Provider needs to coordinate simultaneously the work of several linguists. When this happens, the management team can obtain better results both in terms of quality and time by exporting files, termbases and translation memories, and then work in a more suitable CAT tool. This is what we call integration between tools.

Reasons and Benefits

Working across tools is possible thanks to XLIFF files, which are a kind of XML-based format. They are compatible with any localization software, thus they can be exported and imported between different applications.

There are multiple reasons for using a different CAT tool than the one originally provided. However, this decision is only convenient in some specific scenarios, and must be always done with clients’ approval. For instance, some web-based editors only allow one linguist to log in at a time. In that case, exporting the files and using a desktop application may be a better option if the project managers (PMs) need to put together a large team of vendors. Desktop versions allow the management team to properly divide the amount of work and assign it neatly. Having total control over document batches and assignments also results in reducing production time. PMs can establish a schedule with partial deliveries, so translators and editors can work simultaneously.

QA Power

QA tools

However, the salient advantage of exchanging files within tools is the possibility of using different quality assurance (QA) utilities. In the market, there are many options of specialized software for automation of QA, such as Xbench or Verifika. CAT tools also include different types of quality control features, so it may be helpful to run checks in more than one software. Both specialized software and integrated functionalities spot and resolve errors in bilingual files, detecting formatting, consistency, terminology, grammar and spelling errors, and numeric and tag mismatches. Linguists can correct them manually or use the auto-correction feature these resources offer.

When to Integrate?

To tackle a project across tools is possible under certain conditions. First and foremost, working in a different software must be the best option for that particular case. The decision must be quality-driven and the result of a risk management approach. This is, after considering the original tool and the possibilities it offers, the management team decides that they will export the file and work with it in another software, because they will benefit incomparably from its features. Second, this workflow is only possible when web-platforms or applications allow importing/exporting using standardized files, such as XLIFF files. IT managers first test with small files whether the process runs correctly, and only in that case the workflow moves forward with the entire project.

Quality and value

Integrating files and tools is one of the ways in which project and quality assurance managers can add value during the translation process. They bring their experience, teamwork and analytical insight to assess which options can offer more quality and accuracy to the localization workflows they manage.

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The Value of DTP Services in Translation Workflows

Creado el: 13/10/2020
Creado por: Marisol Pérez Laglaive

The Value of DTP Services in Translation Workflows

The workflows Language Services Providers manage include more than the translation or edition of a source text. A certain project may need other professional services to ensure a finished and high-quality deliverable. These tasks can be voice-over, subtitling, video editing or graphic design, among others.

Specifically, when translating textual materials (like flyers, books, handbooks, posters, brochures, and so on), desktop publishing (DTP) is a crucial part of the workflow. In the localization industry, the DTP service mainly implies formatting a translated document using page layout software. Specialists recreate the original format, taking into account typesetting and layout, graphics, images, etc.

However, DTP specialists can also work before the translation begins, preparing documents so they are suitable for import into CAT tools. Hence, DTP is a process that can take place before or/and after translation.

Editable documents

Textual materials can be files stored in many different editable formats. The most common and accessible in the industry are Word documents and InDesign documents (IDML). These can be imported into CAT tools, which has many advantages in a translation workflow. Namely because they provide features that help with consistency and accuracy, like translation memories, termbases and quality assurance settings.

If the documents have non-editable images or graphics with text (maps, charts, diagrams), DTP specialists can extract it. Once it’s translated, they insert the text in the graphics retaining the original format.

Scanned documents

DTP specialists can also process and prepare scanned documents and photographs of textual materials that need translation. As stated before, it is always better to have as input for translation an editable text, since with it, the management and linguistic team can process it using a CAT tool.

Optical character recognition (OCR) is a technology that can distinguish printed or handwritten text characters in digital images or scanned paper documents. This way, it’s possible to get an editable version of the text, suitable for edition, formatting, searching and data processing. So, by using OCR software, DTP specialists can provide the translation team with editable documents from non-editable source texts.

However, to get an editable input document is not always possible. Some scanned documents have several pages with unintelligible handwriting or bad quality resolution, so OCR software doesn’t come with good results. In these cases, translators must work from them directly.

Extract of a scanned document processed with OCR

The final eye

DTP is not the final step of a project involving it. After the DTP specialist has worked on the files, a linguist (it can be part of the project or someone specialized in the task) must proofread the material. This last editor will review the formatted document in order to ensure the target text is accurately embedded in the original layout. He or she will also check that DTP specialists inserted no involuntary mistakes during their work process. Furthermore, they search for omissions, bad line breaks, spacing errors, spelling and punctuation errors, and text aspect.

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