The Role of Desktop Publishing in the Translation Industry

22:54 | 29.12.2019

Shara Javier

Desktop Publishing or DTP is a process of using computer software specialized to create page layout and designs.


The most common programs used for editing and rendering are Autodesk AutoCAD, QuarkXpress, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe FrameMaker, and Adobe Acrobat.


So how does DTP play a role in the translation industry?


Within the process of translating documents from one language to another, the word count of the translated document changes. In cases where a translator has to translate marketing collateral (i.e. brochure), it suggests not only changes in the texts itself but also to its entire layout. Going through this procedure makes the final product either shorter or longer. This is where the role of DTP services steps in.


DTP focuses on creating page layouts that meet the requirements of its target language. It requires a trained DTP Specialist to manage each modification brought along by the target language's different structure.


At the same time, a DTP specialist needs to maintain the design consistency from one source language to its target languages as much as possible. He has to be mindful of the page elements like spaces, size, font, columns, images, shapes, and icons.


To make it clearer to understand how desktop publishing plays its role in the translation field, here are the factors that translation alone cannot simply complete.

  1. Direction of TextThere are documents translated into a language with different direction of writing. Languages that are written from right to left such as Arabic, Aramaic, Dhivehi/Maldivian, Hebrew, Kurdish (Sorani), Persian/Farsi, and Urdu. Also, there are languages from top to bottom direction like Japanese.
  2. Narrowed or Extended Words - Translating to languages such as Spanish and French extends an entire content to 30%. Meanwhile, if translated to Chinese, the content becomes shorter simply because this language is logographic. Every shortened or expanded text means a possibility of adjustments within the page layout.
  3. Knowledge of fonts - Not all alphabets are compatible with every font design. DTP specialists have broad experience and knowledge of the font compatibilities for every language you need
  4. Graphic design skills - With extensive knowledge in editing using various graphic design software, DTP specialists have the right skills in modifying text on images with the target language required.
  5. File FormatIf you are submitting a .pdf file as the source file, then you will need a DTP service. DTP professionals are experts in handling files in different types. They manage files in various formats.

With the help of DTP, all the listed circumstances are resolved to make information from one source language to another to be conveyed successfully.


DTP comes hand in hand with translation which therefore making it play a vital role in the industry. This is also the reason why it is common for a translation company to offer DTP services too. Having both processed from a single provider assures to result in a more consistent, compliant, and quality translation projects, both in textual and graphical aspects.


Would you like to learn more about Desktop Publishing/ DTP? We'd love to explain to you every detail of this subject! Don't hesitate to ask us here.