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Can you translate brochures?

Hi there, we have a whole bunch of brochures which we need translating into French, Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese. I have PDFs of them here but they were created in a software package called InDesign which I’m not sure if you’ve heard of? I can get those files if you like but I only have the PDFs at the moment as the creative team keep the files. Can you help and if so, how much will it cost?

(Contact details withheld)

Hi Ian,

Yes, we can certainly help you with that and one of my colleagues is calling you now to get you the best possible price.

I’ve provided some information for you below about translating brochures which I hope you’ll find useful.

Translating brochures in PDF format

Most people provide us with PDF (Portable Document Format) versions of brochures which they need translating which is all we need in order get an idea of word count to provide a quote.

However since a PDF of a brochure is just like a scan of a document, it’s not directly editable and hence we’ll need the original InDesign files including fonts and high-resolution images if you’d like us to produce a mirror image of the original with all the formatting preserved.

We’ve written a separate article on translating PDFs if you’re interested in the background.

Preserving the formatting in translated brochures

Once the text of your brochures has been translated by our experienced linguists, it is sent to our DTP artists who will faithfully reproduce your translated brochures using InDesign.

The finished product is then sent back to the linguists again for proofreading to make sure there aren’t any line breaks or other formatting errors and that everything reads correctly.

The DTP team will then produce high-resolution PDFs as output for your printing company and we’ll send you the translated InDesign assets as well.

Brochure translation check-list

I thought it would be handy to jot down a few things to be aware of when translating brochures:

  • Be mindful of translation word growth: Perhaps surprisingly, the same text translated into different languages can take up more (or sometimes less) space than it does in English. This is due to a phenomenon known as word growth in translation.
  • Not all languages read left to right: Often the skill in creating a great brochure is making sure the reader’s eyes follow the flow of the text to the strategically placed images or charts. It’s important to recognise that not all languages follow the left to right convention which we are used to in English. For example some styles of Chinese writing flow from the top to the bottom of the page and Arabic text runs from right to left. We’ll be happy to advise on any issues arising from such differences.
  • Beware, not all names travel well: Most brochures are produced to promote a product or brand name. Unfortunately we have seen many instances where the name is simply not appropriate for the target market. In some extreme cases the translated equivalent is rude or even highly offensive. We offer a very cost effective international brand name disaster checking service to ensure you avoid such problems.

If you need any help, just let us know.

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