Essential Tips for Preparing Your Files for Translation

Essential Tips for Preparing Your Files for Translation

About File Preparation

For language experts to interact with content, it must first be editable. Although Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) has come a long way in the past 20 years, it still relies on the keen eye of an expert to understand when a file can and cannot be processed. This human touch is still needed with even the most advanced software programs available today.

The editability of text is not a problem for most file formats, but there are often when this isn’t the case. 

This includes:

  • Extracting text from images or desktop publishing (DTP) software.
  • Remove unnecessary line breaks and spaces that make content difficult to manipulate.
  • Tidying up PDF files after optical character recognition (OCR) processing
  • Filtering irrelevant content in Excel files
  • The creation of tag settings (.ini) files for .xml and other similar file types

Text extraction

File formats where text extraction is often required include InDesign (.indd), QuarkXPress (.qxp), PDF documents (.pdf), Adobe Photoshop (.psd), and PowerPoint (.ppt). Expert engineers go through your ‘non-editable’ content and extract it to an editable format (e.g. in Microsoft Word, the DTP Labs Editor, or other CAT tools). When text is translated, proofread, or provided by another language service, it is reinserted into the document to make it look as accurate as possible. as possible to the source content.

Tasks involved in text extraction typically fall into one of two categories: transformation or extraction. 



Converting PDF files into Microsoft Word files with editable text

Making the text in rasterized images editable

Converting QuarkXPress files into InDesign


Extracting text from Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files

Text extraction from layers (InDesign, AutoCAD, etc.)

Translation services allow brands to communicate with customers in their native language,  opening the door to more global business. Effective translation depends on many factors. Many of these factors are the responsibility of the translator and her translation service provider; others are within your control.

How do I prepare my files for translation?

Use editable file formats: Provide your documents in Word, text files, HTML, or spreadsheets with plain text (avoid merged cells). These allow translators to manipulate the text for accurate translation easily. Avoid using scanned PDFs as they require additional work and might introduce errors.

Ensure your files are monolingual: Only include the content that needs translation. Remove any existing translations, comments, or internal instructions. Translators only need the source language content.

Maintain clear and consistent content: Use consistent terminology throughout your document and provide a glossary of key terms and their preferred translations if available. Ensure all information necessary for context is included, such as meta descriptions and alt text for website content.

Keep formatting simple: Use a clean and consistent formatting style, avoiding excessive use of bold, italics, or different fonts. Numbering, bullet points, line breaks, and headers should be used logically for better readability.

Consider cultural sensitivity: Be mindful of cultural references, idioms, or humor that might not translate well, and consider providing explanations or alternative wording.

Specify formatting preferences: Indicate your desired date and time format for the translated content to avoid confusion.

Use clear file names: Use descriptive file names that indicate the content and language for easy identification and management.

By following these steps, you can ensure your files are well-prepared for translation, leading to a smoother and more efficient project.

The importance of file preparation:

File preparation is crucial for DTPLabs to ensure accurate, consistent, and efficient translations. Well-prepared files help maintain accuracy by providing clear, organized content with context for translators to understand the text nuances. Consistency is also promoted through glossaries, style guides, and reference materials, ensuring uniform terminology and voice across languages. Efficient file preparation saves time and resources, allowing translators to work effectively with original source files and minimal formatting. Text expansion considerations are also vital, as different languages may require more space, necessitating layout adjustments for readability. Ultimately, file preparation is integral to quality assurance, ensuring errors are identified and corrected before translation for higher-quality results.

Why Choose DTPLabs?

There are several compelling reasons to choose DTPLabs for your translation and localization needs.

Firstly, we have a team of experienced professionals who are experts in their respective fields, ensuring that your projects are completed with the highest level of accuracy and quality.

Secondly, we offer a wide range of services, including PDF to DOC conversion, multilingual desktop publishing, and e-learning localization, making us a one-stop solution for all your localization needs.

Thirdly, we understand the importance of timely delivery and cost-effective solutions. We work efficiently to ensure that your projects are completed on time and within budget, without compromising on quality.

Lastly, we prioritize customer satisfaction and are committed to providing exceptional service to all our clients. Whether you need a simple translation or a complex localization project, DTPLabs is the right choice for you.


Preparing files for translation is like orchestrating a linguistic masterpiece. Clean up content, ensure consistency, and provide backstage passes like glossaries. Format files gracefully, and let translation memory guide the way. Be the storyteller, proofread diligently, and witness a win-win symphony of words unfold. It’s not just preparation; it’s the art of linguistic alchemy, a short and sweet triumph for both content and translator. DTP Labs is a desktop publishing company based in New Delhi, India. We offer book publishing Services, PDF to Word conversions, post-translation DTP, File Preparation for Translation, and e-learning localization services to translation agencies worldwide. To avail of our services, check out our website, or contact us at

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