Medical device clients who are new to translation are often surprised when they receive an estimate to translate documents, and they see desktop publishing (DTP) or production hours on their proposal. Typically, they think something along the lines of, "we already spent money with the advertising and regulatory agencies to create these files, we don't need any more work done on them; they just need to be translated".
In reality, both "DTP" and "production" are misnomers in the translation and localization industry. A better definition would be document reconstruction.
The ideal document translation process goes through four steps:
- A DTP specialist manually cleans up the file to make it more translation friendly (removes bad line breaks, extra spaces, etc.), and then uses automatic software tools to extract the text into a translation file format.
- Next, linguists use a Computer Aided Translation tool to open and translate this extracted text.
- Reviewers and Editors further refine the translation in this same file format.
- And finally, the DTP Specialist imports the translated and edited text back into the layout using the same automatic tools that extracted the text.
Uncommon and old DTP software, or complex regulatory procedures only adds difficulty, because there are fewer automatic software tools to speed up the process resulting in more manual production tasks. In worse case scenarios, word-by-word or character-by-character are copy and pasted back into the layout.
In the dream world of the future, XML with a Content Management System likely will eliminate much of the DTP time during a translation project, because content separates from the format. But for the time being, DTP remains an important (and sizable) part of the translation process.
Take a look at ForeignExchange's desktop publishing and multimedia services for medical device and pharmaceutical companies and request a detailed proposal for your next multilingual desktop publishing project.