Our core business is the typesetting of documents in languages. We use Adobe InDesign by preference, though we can also use Quark Xpress. We have developed a series of working practices, supported by custom-written software, that mean we can typeset multilingual documents quickly, accurately and cost-effectively.
As well as a dedicated team of dtp operators, we have experienced project managers, so can manage projects from beginning to end – from design, through translation and typesetting, to print – or we can work with a client’s current designers and/or translators as required.
The following sections represent a summary of the practices/software that makes the service we offer in this field unique.
LanguageFlow is both the name of our company and the name of the software we use in-house. With the LanguageFlow software we can flow translations from text files (Microsoft Word files) into InDesign artworks and automatically style the text as it is flowed in. This means that we can make duplicate language versions of a master artwork very quickly, each perfectly matching the style of the original. This system is far quicker and more accurate, and therefore more cost-effective, than either cutting-and-pasting translations into artworks or importing translations and manually re-styling.
Creating a language artwork is only the first step. The text in the artwork then has to be proof-read and any required revisions implemented. We use the translated Word files. Typically the client’s country managers receive from us a Word file and a PDF of the artwork in the language for which they are responsible. They amend the Word file as they wish and mark any layout changes in the PDF. We take the amended Word files and, passing them through the LanguageFlow software again, are able to selectively re-flow just those paragraphs that have been altered in the Word file.
This is an incredibly efficient way of handling revisions. It is convenient for the country managers because they can make their changes in the Word files. Because the revisions are implemented through the LanguageFlow software, we can be entirely confident that precisely the text revisions that the country managers want have been implemented. The translations in the Word files and the artworks are kept in synch through however many rounds of revisions are required. At the end of the process the client has a set of Word files containing the approved translations which they can keep to update in the future if updates to the artworks are required.
For a discussion of the benefits of RevFlow, see also: No more Post-it-Notes
Because multilingual projects can involve 30 plus languages, it is very important to carefully track Word files and PDFs through the process from creation to approval. We have a dedicated FTP site with a web interface. The client’s country managers can log in and download their Word files and PDFs from the site. The revised files are sent back to us, we implement the revisions and put fresh files up on the site. Keeping all the files together in one place, on the WorkFlow site, means cuts out emailing files back-and-forth with the attendant risk of getting proofs out of sequence, mislaying files, working on the wrong proof or the wrong language version.
Our project managers constantly monitor and traffic the files, and update reports on the site. Those reports show the live status of any given project. A client can quickly see what the status of any given project is – what proof number any particular language version is at, which language versions have been approved, etc. If required, reports can also show the number and cost of revisions that have been requested and implemented for any given language.
For an outline of the steps in a multilingual project, see also: Steps in a Multilingual Project