Editable, not editable. What’s the difference when translating?

A word that only recently made its way into dictionaries, “editable”, can change everything when translating a document.

When using an editable source the translator can easily assess the number of characters, and thus they can estimate the time needed to complete the work and the correct price for the completed translation.

Also, when the document to be translated is editable, the translator can start working on the translation right away.

The translator literally transforms text in one language into text in another language, but the process in itself is not that simple. To do it right, the professional needs to access, see clearly and read the source text, understand it, decide on how to convey the intended meaning in the destination language, phrase it in their mind and then type in. After that they may decide to edit (which means to modify and optimize) their work, just to make sure it really reflects the source text: its meaning, its tone of voice, its level of complexity and its formatting.

This is a piece of cake with short texts, easy sentences and some titles, but it can require a lot of extra focus when dealing with long pieces of text. It can prove especially challenging with long, complex sentences and specialized wording.

This is why translators need a very clear and easily editable source for their work and this is why professionals require editable documents in common formats, such as DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT, PPTX and even TXT or RTF.

When the translator receives a document that cannot be edited, they first need to make it editable.

  • Sometimes this means automatically converting your PDF to DOCX and then stitching text together to replicate formatting and page layout to match the original document. Conversion tools are imperfect and they usually change the flow of the text, fragment words, ruin formatting and even mix sentences with one another. The need for ulterior manual corrections cannot be avoided.
  • Sometimes the document is partially editable, and that’s when the translator or the editor replace the uneditable parts with editable text, keeping with the original formatting.
  • Sometimes only the tables and graphs appear uneditable in the source document, but they can be easily retrieved from their source files, so that the translator can work directly on them.
  • Sometimes the tables and graphs need to be recreated, as their source files are not available.
  • Sometimes it may mean typing it all all over again to obtain an editable document, and this is many times the case and it needs to be done, even if it takes a lot of time.

All preparation takes time. When the file is fully editable, the translator can start working right away; but the more edits are needed prior to the actual translation process, the more time it takes.

And this time is billable.

It is not a good idea to leave all this to the translator, as their job is to focus on words, phrasing, meaning and overall message of the text they translate, and not on moving letters and words in a document back to where they belong before actually translating. Doing this can distract the translator’s attention and they can become pressed for time and try to compensate by speeding things up. The quality of the translation can be affected in such cases.

So it is best to either provide a fully editable document or, if this is impossible, make it editable yourself or hire an editor to do it and then hire the translator.

We make your documents editable

As a company specialized in translations, we take this burden off our clients’ shoulders and offer editing services. We employ specialized editors who can rapidly transform uneditable documents in such a way that the translators can do their work properly and without distractions and also in due time to meet all deadlines. We convert PDFs, reposition displaced text, regenerate tables and graphs, format everything and we can even work with photocopies of documents. If your document to be translated is uneditable, we solve this problem for you.

And then we translate your document to match the original both in meaning and formatting and we deliver it to you. Never late!

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