How To Prepare Translation Ready Word Files

elearning translation

To begin off, here is just a little thought to ponder over:

With over 7000 languages spoken in the world, is it not actually a miracle that we are able to make sense of each other!

Surprising, isn’t it? Well, it is truly a miracle, and translators are the silent workers who make this miracle come true!

In a connected world, the barriers between people aren’t physical – they are linguistic and cultural. And skilled translators are helping us build bridges over these barriers – be it closing a lifetime deal with an MNC executive or upskilling with the best experts over an eLearning system!

It is not an exaggeration that translation fuels the modern global economy!

Translation, though, is no easy feat. Good translation takes loads of time and effort. With modern tools like CAT (computer-aided translation) and translation memories (a large database of translated phrases and sentences, or translation units (TUs)), translation has become relatively fast. But these tools can be bogged down by some mistakes in writing.

With this awareness, every content creator has a moral duty to write easily translatable content.

You should avoid these mistakes to make translation-ready Word files.

1. Using Space or Tab to position text:

CAT tools work by extracting TUs. A human translator then translates them. His work is speeded up by CAT tool matching and repeating already translated TUs from the translation memory.

The CAT identifies TUs through punctuation and spaces.

Extra spaces with needless Tabs/Space presses become a part of the TU. The translator can make no meaning of these. He either ignores them, which spoils translation formatting. Or he spends needless time rectifying it.

Matching/repeating from memories need an exact TU match. With needless spaces, it is out of the question.

Format paragraphs with proper margins/indentation to position text in Word.

2. Using Return for Hard-Line Breaks:

This causes the exact same difficulties as above.

Needless confusion and labour for the translator, and inefficient performance of the CAT (no proper matching/repetition)

Use margins and proper paragraphs for custom wrapping.

3. Using Multiple Returns for Page Breaks:

Again, the same old issues. Meaningless spaces in your text confuse and unnecessarily burden both the translator and the CAT tool.

4. Embedding Objects / Links:

Ms Word enables dynamic data updates by embedding links/objects. These are big separate files that need separate extraction, manual translation, and embedding for the CAT tool. Links pose a peculiar problem. Linked files contain a lot of extra content apart from that embedded in Word. The CAT tool can extract useful data in any way. Needless extra effort.

5. Direct Formatting:

Languages have different character sets, attributes like italics or no italics, and formatting/pagination due to varying lengths of the same meaning. It is always better to work with global styles for fonts, attributes like italics, page numbers, etc., in such scenarios for smooth translation.

If your business spans multiple countries, you must choose a good translation agency. DTP Labs, based out of Delhi, is a leading multilingual desktop publishing firm with a track record of completing over 25000 projects in 101 world languages. We are a single-stop-shop for all localization/translation needs. Our clientele list includes top MNCs like Pfizer, Daikin, Honda, and Siemens.

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