Polish before Publishing

What goes on behind the scenes...

Translation software, such as CAT tools, has revolutionised the way we work on translations. We’ve long spoken about the benefits that Translation Memories have on consistency, that tags have on preserving HTML codes, and how their interfaces streamline project management. But one benefit that isn’t spoken about as often as it should be, is how linguists and project managers ensure that both the formatting and layout of the original content are preserved in the final file and target language.


However, the system – using a CAT tool – isn’t perfect, nor can it be. Languages take differing amounts of words/characters to make the same point, and grammatical rules mean some sentences can’t be split in the same way as in the source. In fact, there are some languages that are written from right to left and therefore affect the layout of the final file altogether, such as Arabic and Hebrew. This is where that human touch is needed to ensure that not only does the formatting of a translation match that of the source, but also that the translation being arranged in that way makes grammatical sense.

Polishing practicalities

It may not be what immediately springs to mind when we think of translation services. But it is an essential part of our service offered, and helps to ensure that the desired impact of the source is maintained across international offices, particularly important for presentations or data sets.


This is easiest when working with editable documents such as Word or PowerPoint. However, we appreciate that this isn’t always possible. Sometimes, the document in question is handwritten, or it can be an uneditable or scanned PDF. In such cases, we‘re required to recreate that source file in an editable format, so that the advantages of translation software can be properly leveraged.


To do so, we enlist the help of Desktop Publishing (DTP) specialists. DTP came to prevalence as the requirement to digitise traditionally paper-based documentation for archiving arose, and DTP is now a sometimes-essential part of the translation process. Especially in instances where graphics need to be extracted from the source and translated. In such instances though, more creative licence is given to the DTP specialist, again to ensure that the same impact is delivered across languages and cultures.

Polishing your texts, subtitles & voiceovers

The art of Polishing before Publishing is not just restricted to text translation. In fact, it’s probably even more important in media localisation, where a polished final product can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign.


With subtitles, this means watching the subtitled videos through to check that the captions created actually match what is being said on the source video, and that they pop up on the screen at the right timecode. Not just this, but it serves as an opportunity to check whether the subtitles are not too long, whether they appear on screen long enough for a user to read them, and whether they block any on-screen text as they appear. Once all is checked and in order, then the subtitles can either be delivered or embedded onto the source video, if that service has been selected.


With voiceover, a similar listen-through is required to ensure any directions regarding tone have been followed and the VO matches the script. If there is the requirement to synchronise VO with a source recording, then we need to ensure that the synchronisation is maintained throughout. As with subtitles, once all of these points are checked, only then do we deliver or embed the voice recording.


Girl working on subtitles and formatting

Want to find out more?

Get in touch with us at Dialogue. Our project managers are always happy to chat through your requirements, and you can be sure we will go the extra mile to deliver a polished final product before publishing!

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