Note: This blog post was originally written in Japanese for our Japanese website. We used our machine translation platform Translation Designer to translate it and post-edit the content in English. The original Japanese post can be found here.

When requesting a quote for translation, did you know that saving costs and getting quicker turnaround times depend on the data you provide?

In this post, we're going to talk about the advantages of providing the original data. It makes a big difference whether or not you have the original source data.

We have put together a list of things to keep in mind when it comes to translation data. These points will help you to ensure that the finished document is delivered exactly as you imagined and to prevent you from having to modifying it yourself.

Is that the original data?

If you want the deliverables to have the same layout as the original, this is easy if you provide the original source data (i.e., the original data format). Then, we can overwrite the data and deliver it as is. Depending on the target language of the translation, it may be necessary to adjust the sentence length and font size of the translated document. But since the layout of the original data can be used as is, you will most likely receive the deliverables exactly as you imagined without surprises.

If the data you provide is not the original and instead a PDF file, translation companies like us will need to recreate the layout using certain applications such as Microsoft Word. This will incur additional layout creation costs, which we call DTP costs. Furthermore, since that will add another process to the project, it will take more time.

To make it clear, PDF files are data that has been converted from their original data format so that information can be shared without depending on your computer environment or fonts that you have. Basically, PDF files cannot be overwritten. If you want us to overwrite the data with the translations and prepare the deliverables, you will need to provide the original data. So, if you notice you only have a PDF file at hand when requesting translation work, try searching for the original data that is the source data of the PDF.

But what if only PDF files are available?

If you are unable to obtain the original data, which is the source data of your PDF file, we'll be working with an application that can recreate the closest format. For example, we might use Microsoft Word for reports or contracts, and PowerPoint for presentation materials.

What needs to be checked at this point is that how similar the layout should look compared to the original. The cost of creating a layout will vary greatly depending on whether you want the layout to be as similar to the original data as possible or whether you are not particular about the details.

If it doesn't have to be the exact same, let the translation company know. You can just say something like, "We'll be only sharing it internally, so we're fine with a simple layout." This will cut down on the extra layout creation costs. But if you do want to faithfully recreate the original layout, it's a good idea to include your company's style guide or template if you have one when you request the translation work.

If the PDF file includes photos and diagrams, check whether the image data (data in formats such as JPEG and EPS) is available. If the image data is not available, it's necessary to cut out those photos and diagrams from the PDF file or recreate the diagrams. Many PDF files are generated by compressing the original data, so the images have a reduced resolution and are difficult to read. You should remember that even if images are cut out from a PDF file, the resolution will not improve any further.

Is it created with the correct application?

When creating reports or procedure manuals, it's common to use Microsoft Word. For presentation materials, PowerPoint. For spreadsheets, Excel. However, occasionally, we see documents created using an application that is not suitable for the content. It may be an instruction manual created in PowerPoint, or a report created in Excel.

Translating and overwriting data created by an application that is not appropriate for the document can be less productive and therefore cost more than if it was created by a common application.

Also, for example, if you make detailed settings so that Japanese in particular can be printed clearly, or if you fill a page with too many characters or cram too many characters into a text box, depending on the target language you are translating, the translated text may not fit properly. There is a possibility that the appearance of the text may have to be adjusted from the original, such as by reducing the font size or changing the layout.

What about data for print?

If you're translating a data for print, the applications that can be used may be limited depending on what kind of print it will be. Adobe InDesign is often used for creating booklets, and Adobe Illustrator is common for creating flyers and brochures.

If the original data was created by a printing company or design company, or if you're requesting the data from one of your overseas offices, make sure to ask for a complete set of image data along with the original data. If the original data is in Adobe Illustrator format, also ask for the data before outlining fonts. There may also be a specification for the font to use. In addition, the size of the data can be large, so you will need to use a company-specified drive or file transfer service to exchange data.

If you can't obtain the original data and only have a PDF file, we can also recreate the layout using an application that suits your situation the best. For example, if you want to translate a handout that needs only a small number of copies, we can maybe use Microsoft Word instead of Adobe Illustrator. In the case where you only have PDF files, as mentioned before, check to see if the image data is available for better resolution.

We can recreate the data for you

It's common to only have the PDF file and not the original data. Or even worse, you might only have a scanned data. At Kawamura International, we can help you recreate the data for translation at a reasonable cost and efficiently by utilizing AI and annotation technology.

By utilizing the original data, it's possible to reduce costs, save time, and also even convert it into your translation asset to improve quality. Feel free to contact us if you have any data related questions.

Kawamura's translation services

Kawamura International offers translation services in fields such as IT, medical devices, legal, finance, and patent, supporting more than 40 languages.

We provide consulting on the effective use of machine translation with post-editing services along with human translation services to meet the various needs of our customers. Not only that we also handle a variety of language-related services, such as editing and localization services of video and audio data.

Get in touch with us if you need professional translation services or have any other questions about translation and localization services in general.