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How to Translate a Publisher File

It is not that common, but occasionally it happens that a document to be translated is sent in MS Publisher format (.pub). This tool belongs to the Microsoft Office packet, and it is the main application thereof when creating documents that require DTP (desktop publishing). Though it is rather limited when compared with other programs for creating documents that require subsequent publication (such as InDesign or Quark), it is very useful for beginners or for creating brochures or other simple graphics.

The disadvantage with Publisher with regard to other programs is that it isn’t compatible with assisted translation tools. Although it includes the option to export the text to MS Word, it does so in plain text, thus losing references in the images or within the context itself. Ideally, you would switch the file to PDF format and then convert it to Word (you’ll find details on how to perform this conversion here, in Spanish). In this process, ideally you’d use Adobe Reader. It’s also important to do a pre-edition to verify that no text has been skipped and that there are no other conversion errors.

Though some people choose to translate directly from the document, which is also a viable option, you must take into account that by doing so you lose all the benefits of working with a translation tool (repetitions, maintaining a TM, the option of creating an automatic glossary, working with two columns, etc.). In the event that the document has few words, it may prove to be faster to work from the document, but Publisher files may sometimes have upwards of twenty pages.

The tedious part is when you have to replace the original text with the translated text. In Publisher, you work with boxes, so space is limited: if the text has expanded, you have to reduce the font size (unless you’re able to broaden the text area). In this case, it’s a plus to already have the translated text, since you can reduce the font size before pasting it and thereby ensure that nothing will be cropped or left outside the text area.

Of course, it’s always necessary to perform a final proofreading, following which we have the translated Publisher file, including a glossary and a translation memory.