How to be a VIC (III): Send your Documents as Editable Files

To keep your translator happy and be one of their VICs (very important clients), it is best to send editable versions of your documents so that they can focus on the content without spending time and effort on recreating the formatting.

Most of us only have one screen on our desk. Working on a non-editable file means having two documents on one screen: the source text and the target one side by side. This makes it hard to focus and follow the text, and this is when mistakes (omissions in particular) might occur. Additionally, many translators use a CAT tool, and these tools cannot work on non-editable documents or not without technical difficulties. Finally, recreating the layout of the original and fiddling with the formatting not only can take a significant amount of time but it is not the most riveting of tasks for a translator. While we can deal with typesetting tasks when necessary, this is not what translation is about.

So here is a list of the various types of file in order of preference to make your dedicated translator’s life easier:

  1. Word;
  2. Excel, PowerPoint;
  3. PDFs, web pages (provided, in both cases, that the content can be copied and pasted into a Word document – which you can do yourself);
  4. documents scanned as PDFs;
  5. documents scanned as images.

In the third case, you will probably have the original in Word or as an editable file anyway, and your translator is likely to ask you for it. Sending the original copy in the first place will save a few emails.

The key is to remember that documents that are easier to work on will ensure that no line or paragraph is missed; that by enabling us to work directly on your original, the formatting will be kept the same; and that saving us time and effort saves you money. If you can send your documents as Word files, it’s a win-win all round.

Old fax machine

No faxes, thank you.


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