Clients know that their texts are translated by a professional translator and that another translator usually takes care of the editing and proofreading phase. Then, they receive the translation and print it, skipping the DTP phase.
DTP stands for Desktop Publishing, and consists on applying the translation the same format as the source text, being it a brochure, a manual, a user guide, a flyer, etc.
Many localization agencies offer DTP services as well, so they do the DTP in-house and ensure that a DTP check is done before final delivery to the client. However, in other occasions the end clients have a DTP department that takes care of this. Unfortunately, when DTP is done on the client’s side, checks are easily skipped and they print the document just after DTP, which results in layout and other cosmetic errors.
After the text is DTP’ed it should go back to the translator for a DTP check, usually done in a PDF file. Being the last step does not mean it is not important. In many occasions translators work with a source file that is on a beta stage and therefore the text lacks of context or graphics that can help the translator understand what it says. During the DTP check, the translator can see the text in context and check if titles have been translated correctly, if the software references match with those on the graphics (if they have not been provided during translation), if the tags for font formatting have been applied correctly, if there are typos, etc. Usually no linguistic changes are made, although sometimes they are needed because the translator now has a context that was missing during translation. The translator enters the changes in the translation files for TM update (and therefore avoid them in future updates) and adds notes for the DTP team in the PDF, so that they can fix the DTP’ed file on their side and print it.
Therefore, even if this seems an irrelevant task, it is important that clients understand the importance of the DTP check. It does not matter how good the translation is if there are cosmetic or layout errors in the end result. Errors are not the problem, the problem is not wanting to fix them just to save some Euros.
At Jensen Localization we take care of small DTP tasks and we cooperate with DTP specialists when more complex DTP tasks are needed. We also offer DTP check as a service for those clients having their own DTP staff. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need a full localization service including DTP.