When you need a translation, one of the first things that comes to your mind is the question “Is it possible to keep the layout and formatting of my text during the translation?”. The quick answer is definitely yes but let’s look at this in more detail.

In every project, one of a translation provider’s most important goals is to keep the layout and formatting of the original source language document and deliver the translated document with the practically exact same layout and formatting in order to make sure that each part of the document is clearly identifiable. Therefore, LinguaMED Translation Agency offers the delivery of edited target documents as part of its value-added services.

Editable files vs non-editable files

Keeping the original layout and formatting is relatively easy in the case of editable files (e.g. MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), while non-editable files (e.g. PDF or image files) require special software programmes and further meticulous work. In addition, there are differences between the various types of non-editable files: in most cases, converting and post-editing a photographed certificate that also contains handwritten text usually takes longer than the same process for a one-page PDF document.How to keep the original layout and formatting of a text during translation

How non-editable files are processed?

When we receive files in non-editable formats, we always use special optical character recognition (or OCR) software programmes to scan and convert the files into editable file format. OCR software programmes allow us to maintain the structure, the layout and the appearance of the original document as accurately as possible. This means that our clients will receive the translated file with the equivalent textual content, images, tables and graphs as the original file. However, it is important to stress out that the files converted, edited and usually delivered in MS Word format are not ready-to-print files, thus they are not suitable for printing purposes.

Turnaround times

There is one more important aspect that is worth considering when working with non-editable files: the time factor. Processing and preparing of non-editable files require more time than regular editable files due to which translation turnaround times may become somewhat longer. It is hard to tell the exact time the process requires as every project is different: it can only include a single PDF file of a few pages, or several hundreds of pages of scanned files provided in JPG format. The amount of extra working hours will depend on the volume, the complexity of the pages and the format in which the source files are provided.

What happens during the translation phase?

Non-editable files do not pose any problem during the translation process as the most advanced CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) tools are able to perfectly keep the formatting of documents processed and imported by them during the export process as well. As a result, translated and exported documents usually require only minimal post-editing.

Needless to say that in the case of documents received in editable file formats, we also keep all of the formatting instead of delivering a plain, unformatted text to our clients.

Both in the case of editable and non-editable documents, the challenge lies in cases when the text of the target language document is longer than the source language text, and we have to insert this longer text into a fixed form, like in the case of PowerPoint presentations. Here, at LinguaMED, we can overcome this challenge to deliver fully edited PowerPoint presentations to our clients.

Certified translations

Accurate formatting is one of our main focuses in every translation project but when it comes to certified translations, it is even more important to follow the original layout and keep the formatting. Certified translations are bound together with the original source text (or its copy) and the translation certificate, therefore each part of the original document including titles and paragraphs has to be clearly identifiable in its translated counterpart.

Evolvement of file processing

The processing of non-editable files improved considerably in the last couple of years due to innovative technological solutions. However, it is not possible at present to automate the whole file preparation phase even with the most advanced OCR software programmes, human editors are still needed to guide the software properly. We take this phase very seriously because the software makes mistakes that need to be corrected manually during the preparation phase.