Join Diane Burns for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with one language per file, part of InDesign: Multilingual Publishing Strategies.
In my company we often get assignments to translate one document into several different languages. The most common way we approach this type of project is to create a separate file for each language version. There are several reasons for this approach. For one, we often have different language experts producing the layout for different languages, so having one file per language allows more than one person to work on the project at the same time. Another advantage of this approach is that we end up with one file with only one language that's less likely to get messed up down the road by our client's printing company, for example.
There are other advantages too. Let's take a look at converting our Roux Academy brochure from English to Russian. We start with our English InDesign layout and a translation done by a reliable translation company. Their translation is in Microsoft Word, and we asked the translation company to key the translations to their location in the English brochure, since our staff doing the layout doesn't read the language fluently, and so they've marked each page of the brochure and which text goes where.
The first step is to take the English version of our file and do a Save As for the Russian version. So we'll call this the Russian version, and now we're ready to get started. The first thing that we want to do in this file is to convert the paragraph styles from English into Russian. It's really helpful to start with a well-styled document, with clean paragraph and character styles throughout. If the original document was set up by someone else and isn't set up correctly, we may even tweak the existing styles and text, depending on how complex the document is.
So here we have a list of styles, some of which are based on other styles, so we just have to make a couple of changes. First, in the cover text style, I'll right-mouse-click here, and there are a couple of changes we need to make. First of all, the existing font in English is Adobe Garamond Pro. Now, I happen to know that Adobe Garamond Pro does not have the proper character set for Cyrillic characters, so I'm going to change it to one that I know that does, and doesn't look that different from Adobe Garamond Pro, and that's good old Minion Pro.
I'm not going change any of the type or leading for now. And the other thing that I'm going to do is to change the language dictionary that's applied. This way if there is any hyphenation, it will be done correctly for Russian. So we have our cover text style, then we have a series of styles that are based on the style Sans Tight. I'll check the font--Myriad Pro I know it has coverage for Cyrillic characters-- and then I'll change the language dictionary from English to Russian.
Several styles are based on that one, and the only other style I need to change is Serif Large. All of the serif styles are based on this one. So again, I'll check the font, and Garamond Pro won't do it, so I'll change this to Minion and I'll change the language dictionary. I'll also change the name of the style group from English to Russian. Now we're ready to start putting our Russian text into the file.
I'm going to switch from Preview to Normal mode. There are a couple of ways that we can do this. We could use the Place command and put the Word document on the pasteboard over here and then copy and paste it into position, but then when we go to the next spread, we'd have to move the text down or keep going back to this spread. Instead, what we'll do is copy and paste directly from the Microsoft Word document. In the Microsoft Word file, I'm going to select the first block of text. This goes on page 2 of my brochure.
I can copy or cut this text. I usually cut it so that I know that I've already put that text into place. I'll switch back to InDesign and then click in the text frame where this goes, select all, and paste. There's our first block of Russian text, and it's already formatted by virtue of the style applied. Back to Microsoft Word, and then we'll get the text for page 3. Missing that period there, that's important. We'll cut and back to InDesign, and then I'll click in this text frame, select all, and paste.
And basically, we go through the document and cut and paste from Microsoft Word into InDesign. Once we've gone through that process, we then need to take a look at the details of our layout and possibly make some adjustments. For example, I can see that because Russian text tends to run longer than English, this text block here has overset text. So now we can make some decisions about adjusting the style. I'll come into my style for that text block and start making some adjustments.
I might make the Size smaller. I'm going to move this over so that I can see my overset. And maybe I'll make this a couple of points smaller and also decrease the leading. And basically, I'll keep working with the style until the text overset is resolved, adjusting both the size and leading. That looks pretty good! And so we go through the document block by block with the styles automatically applied as we paste the text in, and then we just go back for a little cleanup. I've already gone through and completed this file. Let's take a look at the final version.
Here is our cover, pages 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. It looks great, and it didn't take much time at all. What's great about this is we end up with a clean file that contains only one language and leaves much less room for error. Managing multiple files is really not a big deal and well worth avoiding problems at the printer or further down in the workflow. Even if the document will be distributed as a PDF, readers will usually only want a file with their language in it.
One language per file is perhaps the most common workflow in multilingual publishing, and as you can see, it lends itself to a methodical approach that avoids many potential headaches.
- Topics include:
- Exploring fonts and character sets
- Working with language dictionaries
- Changing language direction
- Typesetting different languages
- Installing scripts and templates for Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Japanese languages
- Understanding the importance of translation
- Choosing the right workflow
- Working with one or more languages in a single file
- Using an XML workflow
- Creating PDFs
- Setting up a Digital Publishing Suite tablet app
- Publishing to EPUB