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Best Way to Translate an InDesign File (2024)

Looking for the best way to translate an InDesign file (.IDML) online and haven’t had much luck? As seasoned veterans of the translation industry, we’re not surprised your organization hasn’t yet found a good Adobe InDesign translation method.

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There are multiple roadblocks people commonly encounter when attempting to translate InDesign files into another language. Fortunately for you, we’re going to help. Continue reading to learn the best way to translate an InDesign document so that you don’t need to deal with these common issues.

Or, watch our InDesign File Translation series below. We’ll also recommend the best InDesign file translator tool for enterprises (better than an InDesign translation plugin!).

How to Translate an InDesign File

1. Convert Your INDD File to IDML Using InDesign

2. Translate Your InDesign File Using Pairaphrase

3. Open & Save Your Pairaphrase-Formatted InDesign File


Best Way to Translate an InDesign File for All-Around Success

1. Find Professional Translation Software

First off, the best way to translate an InDesign file is to stick to professional translation software.

This is because these software platforms are more likely to have compatibility with InDesign documents than free translation tools such as Google Translate. While there aren’t many translation software programs that will translate an InDesign file for you, they do exist.

What’s more, depending upon the professional translation software you choose, it might include Translation Memory and Dynamic Machine Learning technology.

Translation Memory enables you to edit first-draft machine translations and simultaneously train your software so that it learns your company’s words and phrases. This eliminates the need to ever translate the same or similar phrases twice.

Not only that, but Dynamic Machine Learning automatically replaces repetitive instances of a phrase within a file, the moment you edit a segment within the Translation Editor. Translation Memory and Dynamic Machine Learning will save you a lot of time and will help you continuously improve your translation quality, the more you use the software.

But don’t worry about spending hours comparison shopping–we’ll recommend a top InDesign translator tool at the end of this post that will save you so much time and headache.

2. Make Sure the Software Preserves InDesign Document Layout & Format

Aside from finding software with InDesign compatibility, a common complaint regarding InDesign file translation involves retaining the layout and format.

Because InDesign files by nature are more heavy on design than a typical plain-old Word document, formatting retention is important. This includes retaining image placement, text wrapping, font properties, spacing, line breaks, paragraph breaks and more, within the translated file.

Can you imagine if your software ruined the layout or formatting of your file once you ran the translation? This would cause you to need to go back and redesign the file. So much for productivity, right?

The solution to this is to make sure the professional translation software you use contains automatic translation file formatting.

Again, we’ll point you in the right direction at the end of this post.

3. Hire a Translator to Check for Accuracy & Cross-Cultural Mistakes

It’s important to note that no matter what translation software you use, you should hire a translator (or ask a bilingual colleague) to check your translation for accuracy. This comes after translating an InDesign file with any CAT tools.

While translation software is quite powerful, it still runs on machine translation. And machine translation isn’t perfect–sometimes even for certain phrases you’d think would easily translate.

Idioms, slang and certain cultural references likely won’t be relevant or appropriate for the audience reading your translated material. With all that being said, you should always choose professional translation software that allows for collaboration and post-editing of the first-draft machine translated file.

Soon, you’ll know exactly where to look for that perfect platform.

4. Keep a Designer on Hand

We wrote this post assuming most people reading this have an InDesign file in hand and ready to be translated.

However, if the file has not been developed yet, please read our post on How to Get the Best File Formatting with Translation Software. This will help you understand how to build and design a source file so that the translated file format and layout will look as similar as possible.

For instance, you’ll get tips such as, “leave enough white space” because certain languages (e.g. German) tend to have a higher character count in their words than other languages. And this is just one of multiple matters that could potentially throw off your beautiful design.

Best Adobe InDesign File Translation Software

The best way to translate an InDesign file with translation software is by saving it as an IDML file and then using Pairaphrase to translate it.

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Easy-to-Use & Saves Time

Pairaphrase is easy-to-use online translation software for enterprises. It helps you manage your translations and collaborate with colleagues across the world. It even learns your words and phrases so that you never need to translate the same word or phrase twice.

This will save you a significant amount of money and time in the long run.

Preserve InDesign Layout & Formatting

One of the reasons Pairaphrase is the best way to translate an InDesign file is that our translation software will encode your file when you upload it for translation. The purpose of this is to keep as much of the layout and formatting as possible.

With Pairaphrase, you reduce the likelihood that you’ll need to rearrange images or spend time reapplying font properties or editing the spacing. Most translation software will completely lose your formatting. Pairaphrase works hard to preserve as much of your formatting as possible.

Secure & Confidential

Another reason Pairaphrase is the best way to translate an InDesign file is that it secures your data. With our software, you never again need to worry about sending your information through a tool that could expose your data. With Pairaphrase, your files and data are encrypted.

Not only that, but we never share, index or publish your data. It remains 100% confidential.

Try Our InDesign File Translator

Now that you’ve learned the best way to translate an InDesign file, try Pairaphrase. It’s the AI-powered translation management system for teams who value safer, smarter and faster translation.

Get InDesign files translated into 100+ languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hindi, Swedish, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and more.  

It’s better than an InDesign translation plugin, because it performs file translation for 22 file formats (translate word documents, PowerPoint Files, Excel Sheets & more). Regardless of whether you use a Mac or PC!

Get Started

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