Instructional materials need graphic elements, such as figures, diagrams charts, and animations to convey key information. Dealing with graphics is undoubtedly one of the most complex aspects of the translation process. Extracting text from images is not easy, and creating images in the target language can be time consuming, especially when source files with editable layers are not available.
These tips may help when working with these kinds of files:
- When creating new graphics, keep the original source files with editable layers for reuse in updates and for translation.
- When working with existing graphics, locate the original source files with the editable text layers. If these are not available, you will have to create new files with layers, which can be costly.
- If you are unable to locate the source files, and your budget does not allow for recreating the files in the target language, consider alternative strategies, such as placing a caption below the image.
- When developing original graphics, keep localization in mind: use a consistent font/point size convention, write clear labels, have plenty of space for the text, avoid excessive abbreviations, avoid acronyms or concepts that are not explained in the body of the document, etc.
- Avoid graphics with lots of text. If you want to present a table, create it in the body of the document, not as an image containing, say 200 words. If you already have such graphics, consider transferring the text directly to the document before sending it to translation. This will make it easier to translate, will eliminate the need to create a target language version of the image, and will reduce the number of files you are handling.
- When possible, consider using numbered callouts in the image, and then create a legend in the text, outside the image. This will allow you to use the same image in any target language, and will make translation process easier.
- Review animations for any text that needs to be translated. You will need to create a file with the words, or with screenshots, or give translators access to the running animations.