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What is DTP? And how do I deal with layout when the text is written in a foreign language?

A graphic designer faces many professional challenges, but the layout work for a text written in a foreign language can – in some cases – be almost impossible. What happens with a brochure that’s been translated into Arabic? Who should do the layout work? Where can you get help? This is where DTP comes in.

Published 1/23/2017

What is DTP?

DTP is an abbreviation for desktop publishing. You might wonder what exactly that means. If you don’t deal with layout work on a daily basis, you might not be familiar with the term. Today, many companies work with various DTP programs to give their texts a more professional appearance. DTP software makes it easier to work with graphic design. Once you’ve produced a product sheet or written a report, you might want to present the text in a more attractive format than Word. Such documents are now routinely presented as PDFs created using a DTP program.

The advantages of DTP in connection with translation are clear

If we’ve translated this kind of document for you, there are many advantages to getting our DTP team to deal with the layout work once the translation is ready. We will then deliver a print-ready PDF. This often saves a great deal of time, and possibly also money, as the translation doesn’t need to be sent to an internal graphic designer or a design agency. But in order to deal with the layout work once the translation is ready, we will need the actual file in DTP format (e.g. InDesign or FrameMaker) together with the related images (links) and typefaces.

What challenges are involved with carrying out DTP internally yourself?

Dealing with the layout work for a text that has been written in a foreign language is a real challenge for a graphic designer, particularly when the text does not use Western characters and may even be read from right to left. For example, it can be particularly tricky to layout an Arabic brochure, as the entire publication must be mirrored in order to be correct. If this isn’t done properly the consequences can be disastrous, as the text will be unreadable and will appear in the wrong order. It’s not just a matter of knowing the language and focusing on the task at hand when dealing with different language versions – you also need the right version of the DTP software to deal with the language.

What types of DTP software are there?

There are many different programs for working with graphic design. InDesign is the most common format used by our customers, but we also deal with programs such as FrameMaker and Illustrator.

By using the right expertise for layout work in foreign languages, you can save both time and money – as well as mental exertion! 

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