Desktop Publishing (DTP) Linguistic Sign-Off Instructions


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_________ DTP Linguistic Sign-Off Instructions _________

Introduction

How documents look plays an important role in how they are perceived. Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools and Translation Management System (TMS) platforms nowadays enable the translation of many formats while preserving their features, but it is not always the case for all files. Sometimes, extra steps are needed. This is where Desktop Publishing (DTP) Sign-off comes in.

In short, DTP is a task to ensure that the target version of the translated files properly reflects the source, looks well in terms of design, and follows the rules of the target language where needed and possible. This task is different from Monolingual Review, which focuses solely on the linguistic aspects of a document.

How does DTP fit in translation?

This task starts after the translation is exported from the CAT or TMS, and it comes after the internal DTP specialist looks at the file, processes any caught issues, and exports the file for DTP signoff. The file is shared with the linguist to double check that no linguistic or visual errors exist in the target document. If any issues do exist, the linguist highlights them for the DTP specialist, who then changes it as needed.

:triangular_flag_on_post: Depending on the case, the exported file can be an editable file (such as in the case of Word or PowerPoint file) or a non-editable file (such as PDF files in the case of InDesign).

After the changes are done , the files may be shared again with the linguist for a final check and to confirm that all changes were applied properly.

DTP Sign-off requires patience and a lot of focus: detail is key. Furthermore, a key thing to keep in mind is that the DTP specialist who implements your suggested edits might not be a native speaker of the target language. So, your instructions and feedback have to be very clear. See the process section below to learn how to do this.

Instructions

If you have any questions or need anything, please do not hesitate to contact your Project Officer or the person who does the DTP, depending on the case. They will be happy to help out!

Request

As part of the DTP sign-off task, you will usually be provided with:

  1. Source document for reference and comparison.
  2. Target document to perform checks and provide comments.
  3. A link to the job on the Translation Management Tool, or an exported bilingual document to check and flag translation/tag errors.
  4. Other reference material or instructions, where available.
  5. This document with the checklist at the end to help in the process.

Feel free to reach out and flag any issues or things you may need!

Process

When you receive the files and instructions, make sure you have everything you need, and that you have the correct files. If there is anything you don’t understand, or anything missing, let the Project Officer or DTP specialist know! If you are new to DTP, please read the DTP Awareness document to familiarize yourself.

Direct Edit

If you are provided with an editable file (such as a Word file) and asked to perform the changes directly, please:

  1. Make sure you have the appropriate software installed to view and edit the file.

  2. Always activate Track Changes where possible.

  3. Compare the target file with the source file and identify needed changes.

  4. Make changes as appropriate.
    a. Use the instructions and the Pre-delivery checklist to guide you and make sure you address all areas.

  5. Register the changes you make in comments, with explanations. If not possible, record your changes in a different format.

  6. Double-check the file once you are done to catch any errors that may have been missed or new ones that may have been introduced due to the changes.

  7. Once you are done, prepare two versions of the file:
    a. one with track changes and comments, and
    b. another clean version of the file without the comments or tracked changes.

  8. Deliver the files back pending further feedback. If any other issues are detected, repeat the process, starting from point 4.

Commenting

If you are provided with a non-editable file (such as a PDF file), or if you are provided with an editable file but asked only to check and provide comments, please:

  1. Make sure you have the proper software installed to view and comment on the files.
    a. For PDF files, for example, the best free tool is Adobe Reader. You can follow the installation instructions here.
    b. For Word files, the best is MS Office or LibreOffice.

  2. Compare the target file with the source file and identify needed changes.

  3. Leave your comments with explanations. You can check this guide on how to do so. Strikethrough can be used for deletions. Highlight for additions and modifications. Shapes and arrows can be used to point to particular places of interest. Please consider the following points:
    a. Placement: Try to leave comments directly on the relevant piece of text or part involved in feedback. If you have a PDF or Word file, for example, highlight and comment on the words or sentences directly.
    b. Instructions: Make sure you write down clear instructions on what is wrong, how it is wrong, and how to fix it. You only need to write the instructions for the first instance, but you still need to identify all other instances (You can leave the instructions in the comments. If it is not possible or feasible to leave explanations within the comments, you can add them to a different file and share them in this way).
    c. If a change involves part of a word or part of a sentence, always provide the full word or sentence. It may not be easy for the DTP specialist to make the change within a word for example. Furthermore, they may not have the keyboard layout or linguistic knowledge to change a single letter or a part of a word or sentence.
    d. Where possible, provide annotated screenshots where needed. Remember that the DTP specialist may not be a native speaker or be able to read the target language, so try to guide them with screenshots. They are also helpful if you try to show a problem with how something looks!
    e. Whenever you leave comments, make sure they are in the language you use to communicate with the PM (English usually), unless otherwise specified.
    f. Mark every instance of the same error you find, as it is easier and faster for a native speaker to do this.

  4. Double-check the file once you are done to catch any errors that may have been missed.

  5. Deliver the files back and expect to receive the copy after the new changes to have one final look before the document is finalized and delivered. If any other issues are detected, repeat the process again from point 3.

General Tips:

  • Always ensure that changes /suggestions are consistent and to the point.

  • Always double-check. When you introduce changes, some new errors might arise in unexpected ways or places. Once finished, go back to the beginning of the document and scroll through it keeping an eye for errors.

  • Try to use automation/search and find/styles to help streamline work and ensure efficiency.

Pre-delivery checklist

Key Area Checks Description / Examples
Fonts,
formatting,
and other
structural
elements

  • Do all characters display correctly?
  • Are there any missing letters?
  • Does the text look normal?
Check for substitute characters (typically small rectangles, question marks, or blank boxes thatlook like this “□” and also known as tofus), as well as any characters that don’t appear as they should, or any missing letters, hyphens etc.
Does the text look normal in every way?
  • Are all lists there?
    Are they localized properly?
  • Are all headings/
    subheadings present?
Check that bulleted/numbered lists use the letters/numbers of the target language.
Check for any missing small text elements
like headings and subheadings.

  • Are things like bold, italics, underlining, font colors, etc.
    used correctly?
  • Are paragraphs/lists
    indented properly?
  • Is the spacing consistent and
    appropriate?
  • Do sentences end where they should?
    Are line breaks where
    they should be?
Check the formatting to make sure it reflects the source, this includes colors, bold,etc. Check paragraph spacing and indentation and see whether there are any issues with them.









Graphics and
interactive
elements





  • Are all graphics present?
  • Are they placed where
    they should be?
  • Is any text covered by graphics?
  • Is the text inside the
    graphics translated?
Check for any problems with any graphics,
such as placement, location, translation, etc.






  • Are things like bold, italics, underlining, font colors, etc. used correctly?
  • Are paragraphs/lists
    indented properly?
  • Is the spacing consistent
    and appropriate?
  • Do sentences end where they should?
    Are line breaks where
    they should be?
Check that bulleted/numbered lists use the letters/numbers of the target language.
Check for any missing small text elements
like headings and subheadings.









  • Are all hyperlinks
    /bookmarks working correctly?
Check all links and similar elements to make sure they are working.

Check text direction,
numbers
and other
typographical elements
  • Does the text/page
    /graphics display in
    the right direction?



Check the direction of the text or page and suggest changes as needed.




  • Are native numbers used?
  • Are there any other problems related to numbers?
Check for any other problems, such as numbers, typos, spacing, punctuation, etc.



  • Did you find any typos?
  • Did you find missing
    /extra spaces?
  • Did you find any missing punctuation?


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