How Do I Prepare My Content for Translation?

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By Rossion

How Do I Prepare My Content for Translation?

For many people, translation is one of the last things they think about when planning out their projects.  What would happen if translation planning was included at the beginning of the process, instead of at the end?

There are many factors that can help speed up the process for translation and can save you time and money if your project is handled correctly.


Did you know that translators use CAT tools? No, we’re not referring to devices for your pet cat! Nor are we talking about Google translate. CAT stands for Computer Assisted Translation and it’s better described as an environment where the multitude of documents you need translated can communicate with each other. This means that any repeated phrases can get translated all at once. These tools help maintain consistency in terminology and can reduce workload for the translator. When your translator uses CAT tools, for you, this translates into money and time saved.

Looking for a quick quote? If your files are editable, then they can be quickly input into a CAT tool for a word count. The word count will determine how long the project will take to translate. If files are non-editable (ex: pdf), then time needs to be spent on file preparation and formatting, as well as the translation itself.


So often translators are thought of as elves that magically turn English documents into French content overnight. But what you may not realize is that for documents that are non-editable (ex: pdf), or for highly complex files, preparation work and file manipulation is required before it even gets to the translator. Preparation work is done or coordinated by your project manager and depending on your file format, it can take several hours to get your files ready for translation. If you have the files in an editable format, this is always best for file preparation. Next time you send in your project, think about what format it’s in as this could impact the turnaround time for your project.


At Rossion, we always check the format of your files and we’ll talk to you to discuss file preparation and any formatting that may be required. We’ll also book a call with you if we need to discuss any technical questions. If you can provide your original, editable files, chances are that time consuming extraction or file manipulation won’t be necessary, as many original formats are compatible within the CAT tool.

eLearning platforms with the option to extract .xliff files are particularly desirable to work with as they are compatible within the CAT tool. When choosing your eLearning platform, be sure to check if this option exists. Ask your translation team before you begin your project if you need technical guidance.

PDFs created with InDesign are the second choice for working within the CAT tool and we will ask you to send us the original .indd/idml files instead, which are the editable files are are perfectly compatible with the CAT tool. Of course, if you do not have the original, let us know and we’ll work with what you have. Formatting and file preparation are required for pdfs.

Scanned PDFs also do not work well in the CAT Tool. File preparation is required for scanned pdfs.

Word, Excel and PPT files are compatible with the CAT system.You will save time and money if you send us your original files and not the PDF version. If you are working with PPT, do you have notes and do the notes need to be translated?


It’s also important to think about any images, graphs, charts, etc. that may contain text. Let your translator know if these images need to be translated or not. Some images may need to be recreated by the graphics team which can add on extra time to the project.


At Rossion, we are here to help you through the process of translation. We lead with empathy and understand that time and money are limited resources. You may learn something new that will improve future projects. If you are tech-savvy, you will enjoy working with people who speak your language. Ultimately, we promise fruitful communication that will lead to a satisfying working relationship and excellent results!

Get started with our content production planning template!

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