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How to Translate InDesign Files

InDesign files require special attention in order to achieve an efficient and complete translation. This is because, unlike other file formats, the documents created with InDesign have a main file (with either an .indd or .idml extension) which contains the structure of the document. Complementing this main file are the so-called “links” and “fonts”. “Links” are linked files, usually images in different formats. Many times there are texts, or images with text included in the links. On the other hand, the “fonts” are the different typographic fonts and their variables that were chosen for the design of the document.

In order to begin the translation of an InDesign file, the first thing to verify is if in the “package” the “links” and “fonts” of the files are also included. This is so the translation agency can keep the design as close to the original as possible, since without them, the original design can be affected and any text that has been delivered to us as an image, cannot be translated. In addition, after translation, it is crucial to look at the document with the specific fonts and links to proceed to the last step of production: DTP (Desktop Publishing). This is where the point of connection between text and image is reorganized according to the new extension of the texts. A typical example is a text that translates from English to Spanish, where there is usually a “text expansion”, that is, the translated text contains more words than the original, which forces the designer to rearrange the texts and make adjustments to the original composition.

Fortunately, lnDesign is a format that can be translated with a CAT-tool, that is, a translation tool that recognizes text and facilitates the process by maximizing the translation times by means of the repetitions and/or words found in the TM (translation memory), without the need for the translators to have this program installed. Only the texts that are in the links and not in the main file have to be identified, since they must be translated separately.

Once this small puzzle is reassembled and adjusted to the new language in the graphic design step, it is exported to PDF format for a linguist to do a final review so that the client receives a high quality communication and design creation.