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Your Complete Guide to Translating InDesign Files

If you are running a business and you are looking to expand it into new international markets, we know it’s not an easy mission. As you want to keep your content clear and fitting in with the new culture, so it’s imperative for you to partner with a professional translation company that helps you to understand the local market and to impress your target audience with your translated and localized content. This is mainly when it comes to InDesign translation files.

That’s why we have created an exclusive guide that will help you translate InDesign files into any language. They are some introductory steps that will make your files ready for better translation. Let’s get started.

1- Prepare the InDesign File for Translation

First, the team of graphic designers should check the InDesign files and prepare them for translation. Here are some tips about preparing the files:

  • Some languages need more space than others; so you need to make sure that the design has enough space for the translated content. For example, if you have an English file and you want to translate it into Japenese, the Japenese language content will need more space than the English – an issue which you should take into consideration while preparing the file for translation.
  • You need to mirror the file, especially if the file is going to be translated into a different writing style. For example, if you have an English file that will be translated into a Right to Left (RTL) languages like Arabic or Amaharic, so you need to mirror the document to be similar to the original file.
  • Keeping the same styles in the original document to maintain the consistency of the document.

2- Package your InDesign file

It’s common to receive an unpacked InDesign file without the original images, styles, layout and the font used in the original document. This usually l results in many changes in the new translated document – which is not recommended at all.

In order to do this, open your document go to File > Package. This will create a zip folder that you can save it on your computer, so you can share with your translation team.

3- Export to IDML file format

When you package your InDesign file, you will have an IDML file that you can use with other software programs. This file is very important as you will use to translate your file.

You can manually transfer your file to the IDML file by selecting File > Save As and then choose IDML.

4 – Upload the IDML file to CAT tool


Now your file is ready for uploading into a Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tool to start the translation. CAT tools are like memoQ, SDL Trados, Across and many more. CAT Tools are not considered an automated way for translation. Rather, they are just tools to facilitate and smoothen the work of the translators. They provide better quality, save time and are more productive than manual work.

5 – Translating & Editing


This step is quite simple yet very important as the quality of the translation itself is what really matters. First, you need to prepare an in-house team who has experience related to the subject matter of the document. Some companies offer 3 stages of translation (translation, editing, and proofreading), which actually guarantees a high quality of translation, as there are 3 linguists who check and edit the document to get the best out of it.


Companies like Contentech is an ISO 17100 certified company, which means that our process, resources and other aspects are up to the international standards of translation, with the purpose of meeting the clients’ requirements.


All of our team members are working within the same CAT tool to translate your documents and that’s aiming to keep the documents consistent. Once they finalize the documents, IDML can be downloaded.


6 – Edit Design in InDesign

Then you will need to open your translated IDML file into InDesign; you will find a lot of issues and a lot of adjustments that need to be done to make the file fit well. For example, you need to make sure that the text and the font used are fitting in with the new document and work well for the new language too. This step is done by a specialist named “multilingual typesetting specialist

7 – Final review

After the multilingual typesetting specialist has finished his task by editing the file, now you can download the translated IDML file and save it as a PDF file. Then the PDF is returned for the translation team for final check and review to make sure that everything is well done and fitted into the design.

Congratulations! After applying the above steps, now your file is ready as InDesign file to print or to use I online for a web or email version. 

Contentech’s professional InDesign translation service

With more than 20 years of experience as technical and language solutions and services provider, Contentech is helping hundreds of companies to extend their business to new markets. We are capable of providing Desktop Publishing services (DTP) in different design formats and in any language. 

Contentech can help you transform materials, whether it’s an online document or a printed manual, and translate and format them in a way that’s appealing to your target audience. We have a team of multilingual typesetting specialists, designers and linguists who can handle both the translation and the layout of any document for publication. We work with most of the design formats like Microsoft Publisher, Scribus, and QuarkXPress

To get an instant quote for our InDesign translation services, please feel free to contact us.

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