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Why it is better to translate source files

Better translation services with original format

Why it is better to translate source files


We need the text in an editable format and ideally in the format in which the file was originally created in order to be able to produce the translation.

Clients often send us PDF files to translate. However, PDF files are not source files. The PDF format is a publication format and is only editable in a very limited way. It is used above all for publishing documents on the Internet or in print format. If you give somebody a PDF file and ask them to edit the text it contains, it is almost like giving them a handwritten letter and asking them to translate the letter in its original format. It is an impossible undertaking. In this case, the only solution would be to write the letter from scratch in the target language.

Translating PDF files is more expensive and gives rise to more errors

  • When we receive a PDF file to translate, we must first convert it into an editable format, for e.g., into an MS Word file. This takes time and costs more. In addition, although the result may resemble the PDF file, such conversions are often far from perfect. Structural and layout information contained within the original format is often lost during conversion from PDF to another format, other information is added and thus the source text becomes ‘contaminated’.
  • Converting a PDF file to an editable format often leads to segmentation issues. For example, line breaks are inserted into the middle of sentences, which then leads to segmentation errors in the translation memory. This can in turn cause translation errors and is almost certain to lead to a less than optimal reuse of your translation memory, i.e., you are then not taking full advantage of potential savings. We can resolve these line break issues prior to translation, but this again implies an extra cost.
  • Automatically-created text (table of contents and keyword indexes, headers and footers, etc.) are counted just once when importing source files. When converting a PDF into a Word file, such text is counted several times, i.e., the quote will be inflated unnecessarily as well as being inaccurate.
  • To maintain the original quality and layout, the easiest way is to provide the source files for translation. We can process all original formats that are currently used for content creation. Furthermore, our translation memory protects the original layout automatically during translation, which means that nothing gets lost and no modifications can be made. We will then deliver the files to you with all of the structural and formatting information that was contained within the source files.
  • Images and graphics can also be processed better in the original format. Without the source files, images must be converted, text boxes must be inserted over images for the translation of any text within the image, etc. All of this is possible, but it reduces the image quality in comparison to the source file.
  • When we deliver the translation in a Word file but you require the text in the original format, an additional step is necessary. The text from the Word file must be transferred to another format, e.g., by copying and pasting. In doing so, embarrassing errors can easily creep in, above all when the person doing this task doesn’t speak the language in question. When we translate the source files, these additional costs and the sources of such errors cease to apply.

Advantages of using source files instead of translating PDF files

  • You will receive a more accurate quote.
  • You will receive your quote faster.
  • You are guaranteed to receive a better quote and thus a lower price. Automatically-created text is only counted once, repetitions within the text can be detected and quoted at a lower price.
  • You will receive your translation faster.
  • The end result is guaranteed to be better as it will reflect the exact same quality as the source files that you send to us.

What is a source file?

A source file is a document in its original, editable format. There are three types of format:

  • Office formats: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, as well as Open Office and other word processing formats.
  • DTP, layout and CAD formats: Adobe InDesign, FrameMaker, QuarkXPress or AutoCAD DXF
  • Markup or software formats: HTML, XML, CSV, RESX, DLL, Java, JSP or RC files etc.

PDF files are not source files. They are usually first created in another application before being saved as a PDF. A PDF is a file format that is specifically used for publication (printing, publishing on the Internet) and is usually only editable in a very limited way.

 

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