FAQ’s About DTP For Document Translations

Have you ever considered how many of the books, magazines, posters, product wrappings, advertisements, flyers, etc. that surround us, are actually the results of document translation services and DTP? DTP is often essential to correctly format translated texts in a professional, aesthetically appealing and error-free manner. Quality DTP clearly does not receive the recognition and appreciation that it deserves, which is reason enough for this blog to shine some light on the basics of DTP and reply to some frequently asked questions about it!


What does DTP stand for?

DTP stands for desktop publishing. The idea behind the term is that document layouts that will be published can be managed from desktop computers. This is in stark contrast to the past, when a whole range of machinery was required to create document layouts, and few people would have thought that the challenging and complex process could one day be managed from a desk.

What do DTP professionals work with?

DTP professionals work with layout software. The programs that are currently used are highly complex and each update brings new opportunities. They are very cost intense and cannot be used without professional training and/or long-term experience.

Which documents do actually require desktop publishing services?

Documents such as plain texts without any formatting, particularly documents for internal usage, normally do not require DTP services. In contrast, documents for which professional DTP services are typically ordered, are those documents that contain certain design elements and that will be published. Professional DTP artists know how to work with colours, graphics, photomontages and much more, which makes their expertise indispensable for many business publications (to see some examples, please visit our blogs on translation and DTP services for marketing collateral and on translation and DTP services for the engineering sector).

If the layout of a source text is properly done, why does it have to be redone when the text is translated?

Very often, translations create new challenges that DTP artists have to solve. One issue that naturally almost always comes up is that a text becomes shorter or longer when it is translated. As the original layout is based on the original text, it is often not suitable for other text lengths. That is why in many cases, illustrations have to be moved, pages must be removed (or added, respectively), etc. Other issues include font problems in foreign languages, the necessity to rearrange documents when texts are translated into languages that are written from right to left, localization of pictures that might be culturally insensitive, etc. (more details and examples can be found here).

What if I don’t know if my translated documents require DTP services?

A quality language service provider will be able to advise you and can include DTP localization services for your document translations in turnkey solutions.

Can businesses with own desktop publishing departments simply handle the DTP of translated texts internally?

This is strongly discouraged. Unless internal DTP artists know the languages of the documents that they are working with, there is a high risk of making mistakes, such as inserting line breaks at linguistically wrong positions, overlooking font display problems, omissions, etc.

Do you have any further questions about desktop publishing? You are welcome to contact elionetwork’s expert team in Singapore. As industry experts, we provide turnkey translation and DTP solutions for discerning clients using a multi-step process in which linguists and DTP artists collaborate to guarantee highest standards for multilingual publications. If you are planning a new translation and DTP project or would like to request a free quote please get in touch!