Translating your InDesign files

You’ve created a glossy brochure using InDesign, but now you need it translated. In this article we explain how we can translate the content in your artwork, brochures and marketing collateral, saving you valuable time and money.

It’s taken a great deal of hard work, but you’ve finally finished that promotional brochure. Then a request for translation comes in. It should just be a simple task of just translating and then replacing the content, right? Well, not exactly… Below we’ve outlined some of the issues that can arise during the translation of InDesign files. It’s important to consider these issues before translation begins as it could save you time and money, as well as many a phone call or email if we take on your InDesign translation project (which we would love to!).


One important consideration pre-translation is space. Certain languages are notably longer than others (French is around 20% longer than English, for example), and if space is already at a premium then you may need to think about a possible solution to the problem. Some ideas here could be to reduce the font size, move copy around, scale down images to create more space, or simply to reduce the amount of content altogether. Remember, white space will make your content more attractive and eye-catching, holding the viewer’s attention better, so it’s important to leave room for this in your foreign-language InDesign files too.


Consistency is vital – you may have chosen a specific brand font for your brochure, and you’ll want this to be reproduced in the translations. Unfortunately, not all fonts are available in every language. Whether you need extra characters for Eastern European languages, or different scripts for Asian or Middle Eastern translation, choosing the right font is an important consideration. Our design team at Sure Languages will be able offer you guidance on this – we’ve worked with most fonts you can throw at us!


With most languages, the translated text and images will be arranged in the same way as in the original InDesign file. However, this is something that needs to be re-thought with languages such as Arabic, where the text runs right to left (rather than left to right, like English). For an InDesign file, this means the whole document is flipped and restructured to accommodate the new text direction. We have a wealth of experience in working with right-to-left languages for multiple clients, from SMEs to global international organisations. When your hire a professional translation company (like us!) you won’t even need to think about this: we’ll deliver you the completed right-to-left document.

Case Study

The University of Exeter is one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions, attracting students from around the world. As a local company we are proud to help them widen their global reach.

One of our projects for Exeter University involved localising a course guide for prospective Chinese students. Translation was only part of this job, as we worked on the artwork to make sure that the final Chinese product looked as attractive as possible.

Making use of the technology available, we were able to take the original English InDesign files from the client and return a translated brochure that was ready to go.

Hover over each item below to see how we added value:


We reduced multilingual typesetting time from around 16 hours to 4 hours, saving the client unnecessary costs.


We saved the client valuable graphic design hours, allowing them more time to work on other projects and activities.


Nobody had to worry about pasting things incorrectly or worry about working with a language they couldn’t speak.

Does your charity, organisation or business need professional InDesign translation? We’d love to discuss your project!

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