The Importance of Formatting a Document for Translation

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An article from The Dallas Morning News recently examined how the language industry is booming. The article goes on to mention how translator jobs have doubled in the last 10 years. Of course, this is great news for translators!

This boom in the translation business means more words will need to be translated. However, it also means more documents will need to be formatted. Unfortunately, there are many who believe that a translation project simply involves translating words. Seasoned professionals will tell you otherwise. In addition to converting text from one language to another, a translation project also requires good formatting skills.

Formatting a document for translation means successfully replicating how a source document looks. This includes recreating watermarks, inserting borders, superimposing text over images, and reproducing other details.  Knowing how to format a document will give a translator a level of professionalism that will catch the attention of clients and project managers.

Here is what some professional translators and project managers have to say about the importance of formatting a document:

“One of the goals of a perfect translation is for the translated document to resemble the source document as closely as possible, right down to seals, stamps and signatures.  This takes the guess work out of it for the recipient as to what they are looking at.

– Cathy Radloff – Translation Project Manager, Bromberg & Associates


“It is much easier for reviewers and clients to understand a translation if it matches the original. Keeping the formatting the same is also a good way for the translator to make sure nothing has been missed. In the end, good formatting actually saves time for everyone.”

– Denise DeVries – Italian/Spanish/French Translator   


“Formatting any document for translation requires, most importantly, a thorough working comprehension of the languages translated from and into coupled with plenty of patience and careful thought on content placement so as to allow for a rhythmic and sequential ebb and flow that makes sense to the reader.”

– Richard Lankenau – Portuguese/Spanish Translator


“I have benefited a lot from the Formatting course. Although I was familiar with many features, it was very educational for me as a translator and will help me to improve my future work and to keep up with the latest updates in the 2013 Word version.”

– Moheeb Al-Chona – Arabic Translator  


If you’re looking to learn formatting skills that will give you a competitive advantage over other translators, check out IEO’s course “Formatting a Document for Translation“.  This course, offered for the 2007, 2010, and 2013 versions of Microsoft Word, includes video tutorials that will teach you how to achieve the desired look of your translation project. Lessons include: creating a border, modifying fonts, adding a stamp, and more!

Our “Formatting a Document for Translation” course is also approved for 2 continuing education points by the American Translators Association!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I have to agree that a well-translated document should be formatted as close to the source material as possible, complete with all the stamps, watermarks, borders, images, and other decals. If I work with an international agency, I would understand how seamless translations are really necessary for international employees to process their work seamlessly as well. So, I think in hiring a service that lets you change languages, you should look into how they format the new material.

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