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How to Avoid Garbling Up Your Files Before Translation

pain point file formats: how to avoid garbling up your files before translation

You are managing this translation project, you have painstakingly created the perfect document and sent it to your localization partner to be translated and taken global. What could possibly go wrong? You have the first hunch that things might not go as smoothly as you’d expected when you get an email saying that your translation provider can’t open your file in the format you sent. Then another email is asking for the fonts. And then another… You get the picture.

We have all experienced the frustration of not being able to open a file because it is in the wrong format. As a translation and localization partner, Venga is fully equipped to conquer every kind of file format. But while we can always find a workaround, it will definitely be more costly than if you’d abide by a few simple tips when submitting your original material.  

Version Variance

As one might imagine, as soon as more than one regional version or different software generation is used in a project, you have to deal with an extra layer of challenges. For example, Venga’s office uses the 2013 version of Microsoft Office which includes language packs. They allow the user to access help and use proofing tools in their selected language. Unfortunately, we at Venga ran into issues when clients did not have this software version. Files got messed up and garbled as 2010 versions tried to read Office 2013 versions. A generated PDF from the final file for verification purposes of correct linguistics is essential here. We can always save a file as an earlier version of Office if necessary. But that takes time from the final file and ultimately costs you money. So it’s a good idea for you as a project manager to let your translation partner know ahead of time what software version you are using to avoid any extra back and forth because of version problems. Remember to always provide the native files.

Sort for Simplicity

Another stumbling block is that we often will be sent one large project containing all sorts of file types. This easily leads to confusion and much time wasted sorting out which files go with which component of the project. To avoid that, we at Venga have implemented the practice to always group files by project type or only package files that go together, very much like the build-environment model of software engineering. As a result, all relevant images, docs, pdf, etc. for the final product will be grouped by project together. If you are using InDesign, there is already a packaging function built right in that makes the process easier. You can find an explanation of how it works here.

Worst Case Work-Around

As mentioned, if worst comes to worst, we can always work around file format issues. For instance, we recently received an eight-page project in Japanese that was an Adobe Illustrator file. It was completely outlined (meaning that there were no fonts in the file, all curves had been converted to paths) and it had very small text of about 8 points. In this case, we had to recreate the original text from scratch in Japanese before we could even begin translating into English — a very time-consuming process. While that is doable and not all is lost, it takes a lot more time and effort and will turn out to be more expensive for you.

By being proactive, doing a little organizing, and double checking to make sure that all the needed images, fonts, etc. are attached, you can save yourself time and money. If you want to learn more about how to best prepare your documents for translation, check out this blog post. Also, feel free to contact us or request a quote for your translation or localization project.

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