Carved in Stone: (Un)editable Documents

Many times, as account managers, we find ourselves grappling with a recurring question when we receive a file to translate: is it editable? In my quest to find the answer, I asked several colleagues why they think it’s important for the client to send us editable files for a translation project.

In summary, the three main responses were the following:

  • The quality of the translation will be much better.
  • The project will be carried out faster and more efficiently.
  • The final price of the project will be lower.

In this ideal situation, the client and the translation company gain time, in addition to achieving a better result with a lower cost.

Here, I intend to provide more information on the importance of sending us editable documents as well as tips on knowing how to identify them.

First and perhaps most importantly, you should know that a PDF is not an editable document. A PDF is actually just an exported version of a document that was originally in another format, such as a Word document or an InDesign file. In order to be able to translate a PDF, special programs are needed to recreate the file in another format, ideally its original format (Word or InDesign as stated in our previous example), and this requires more work, time and money.

In order to provide the best quality, not only linguistically, but also design-wise, it’s always advisable to work on the editable files to ensure maximum compatibility with whatever translation tools you may be using. This way, you can modify the design of the translated document so it looks nearly identical to the original. It is no less important to be able to use translation tools, as it allows us to ensure consistency and offer discounts for repetitions and for the use of translation memories.

At Trusted Translations we strive to achieve the best quality translations and customer satisfaction. That’s why we insist so fervently on receiving editable files. We want to save you time and money and deliver you the best possible product.