InDesign : What if we Simplify our Lives ?

These are the words said by any translator who had to work on his document’s layout : bugs always occur at the last minute. And for good reasons, the files sent by customers are not always well thought out.

InDesign, a wonderful little desktop publishing software, allows you to automate the layout work very easily (according to those who use it). We will give you some very useful tips, your collaborators will love you and even adore you !


First of all, take the time to set up layers and templates. This may seem basic to some of you, but it is always good to remember it. These templates will provide a basic layout (automated page numbering, decorations, logos, etc.) that will not need to be systematically replaced.

Let’s then move on to paragraph styles. For translators, there is nothing better than clearly defined styles in the file. It should also be remembered that computer-assisted translation (CAT) software does not take into account style formatting, but only text. It is then necessary, during the conversion, to reapply the paragraph styles in the document. Styles also make it possible to take into account the difference in size of the translated segments. Indeed, from one language to another, the sentences will not have the same length even though they convey the same idea.

Right after paragraph styles, you have to deal with character styles. These are small nuances in a text, for example a word in italics, bold, underlined, or written in a different colour. To highlight them, we do not create a new paragraph style but a variant of the one used thanks to the character style.

Finally, a last very useful notion for having an optimized document is the implementation of a title numbering system. We could have presented it to you in paragraph styles, but the importance of the subject deserved its own part. A numbering of titles and parts allows you to better organize your document, and to have better references in case of bugs in the sequence of articles.

Many tutorials are available on the Internet, just ask the right question and forums, videos, websites and online PDFs will have the answer you are looking for. There is nothing complicated and translators will be pleased to work with you on your files.

So, what are you waiting for ?

Julie Daval

Translated by Arthur Chevallier-Letort

Sources : http ://

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