In other posts we have defined DTP (Desktop Publishing) within the realm of translation. Simply put, it is the use of computer programs for the treatment of graphic displays, in combination with other tools for layout and design, printers and a long list of items that work as aids for the entire process.
But the point of this post is not so much about what the service is, but why it should be used in translation projects. From experience I can say that in my work, over 60% of my projects include documents that must then go through the DTP process. On many occasions we are working with books, magazines, brochures, etc., meaning documents where the layout and the optimal combination of text and images is not merely a preference but a requirement.
Paying for this service directly with the translation agency has several advantages.
The first and most obvious is that when the work is completed, the client receives the final product and it does not have to undergo any additional step, which removes one more (and often major) headache.
Secondly, it is often cheaper to buy a combined service in one company than to try to spread the tasks out among several suppliers.
But for me, from the point of view of optimizing quality, the biggest advantage is in the fact that the translator can work on the translation and see it reflected in the actual environment in which the text will appear, often in real time.
Usually the translator does not have the source text in its original format, which makes it virtually impossible to know where the text in question appears there and what image accompanies it.
Moreover, when the translator does have the original format, the normal methodology does not allow him or her to simultaneously see how it will appear in the text in the final version, meaning with any additional items you carry, including images, tables, charts, etc. Having a department that is acting as part of the team makes this possible.
The fact that the client hires this service allows us to see the final result and to refine our translation to fit completely to the environment where it will be inserted. Maybe we can consider another short phrase that fits well within a given image, or visually we realize that it is better to put a figure and not a number on it, or that it may be more appropriate to submit another slogan that works better in the image where it appears.
This also saves time because, not infrequently, the customer must send the first attempt back to the translation agency with modifications in the text because the DTP service that the client worked with on its won asked to make changes in the text due to space or otherwise, leading to a waste of time and money that would have been easily avoidable if they had hired the DTP service through the translation agency in the first place.
For these reasons, I think the translation client who needs a subsequent desktop publishing service should seriously consider entrusting the translation agency with this task since, as already indicated, this will represent a very valuable advantage, especially from the point of view of the quality of the final product.