5 Best ways to translate a document in 2019 – Pros and Cons

by Stefano Bernardi 5 minutes to read

Photo by Frankie Guarini on Unsplash

When looking to translate a document online, your goals can be very different.

Sometimes you only need to quickly understand the content of a document, sometimes what you want is a quick translation, other times you might be starting to build your translation workflow and be looking for a team of translators.

There are many services online that can help you with translating a document, and you should pick the one that most fits your needs.

Machine Translation

Plus: cheap
Plus: very fast
Cons: quality is not good enough for professional usage
Use: to quickly understand the meaning of a text or in symbiosis with human translators to lower translation costs and improve production speed

Many players in the market are pushing to make Machine Translations a real option, but for now these tools can only be used to gather the meaning of the text and not to translate an entire document.

In recent years, Machine Translation has improved incredibly, but the technology hasn’t taken the place of human translators—yet.

This report on the state of Machine Translation made by Intento highlights the advancements of the industry but also proves how Machine Translations can only be a viable solution when combined with human intervention.

1. Google Translate 

Google Translate is the most famous Machine Translation service in the world. Those who have tried it in the past might have a bitter memory of how badly this service used to be, but with the introduction of many new technological advances (with Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) on top of all), Google Translate has improved tremendously.

Not everyone knows that with Google Translate you can also translate entire documents. Supported file format are: .doc, .docx, .odf, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .ps, .rtf, .txt, .xls, and .xlsx

Go to this page
Click on “Documents”

Translate Document with Google Translate

Select the source language and target language and upload your document.
Click on “Translate.” Google will give you back a translated document.

2. Deepl Translator

Deepl is a service that started in late 2017 and immediately attracted the attention of the industry. It supports only 9 major European languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Russian), but the translation for some languages have proved to be more precise and nuanced than the other services on the market. The service supports .docx and .pptx.

Go to this page
Move the mouse on top of “Translate document.” An option to change the target language will appear. Select the target language.
Click on “Translate document into…”. Deepl will translate the document in a few seconds.

Translate Document with Deepl Translator

3. Gengo - Marketplace for translations

Plus: low costs
Plus: translation done by native speakers
Cons: many translators are not professional translators
Use: if your budget is lower and you don’t need business-class translations

Gengo is a marketplace where you can buy translations.

You upload your document into Gengo (or paste the text)
The system will analyze how much content there is to translate
You select the target languages, add some instructions for the translators
Gengo will give you a quote and an estimated delivery time

Translate Document with Gengo

4. ProZ – Marketplace of translators

Plus: best quality
Plus: high selection
Cons: high costs
Use: if you need a high-quality translation

ProZ is the biggest network of translators. You can use their translator finder to find contacts of translators around the world. In the finder, you can specify whether you are looking for a native translator in the source or in the target language, the field of expertise, and many other factors.

Translate Document with ProZ

This approach requires a little more time and effort to get the job done, but expect the overall quality to be higher. Also, once you contact a translator from ProZ, you can establish an ongoing working partnership with them.

Start in the right way by:

  • creating a glossary of the terminology that you want the translator to use
  • making sure you’ll receive the Translation Memories at the end of his/her service

5. Redokun: Translate DTP and Marketing documents

Plus: more control
Plus: integrated Machine Translation
Plus: quicker production of documents
Cons: can be used only on professional environments and with InDesign documents
Use: to produce marketing collaterals with in-house translators or translation vendors

When a company distributes its products in several countries, it is up to the marketing department to produce catalogs and brochures for all the target markets.

Very often these documents have to be developed close to special events, such as fairs or product launches, and therefore there is an urgent need to have the documents ready and without errors in the shortest time possible.
Anyone who works in a marketing department knows how complex it is to produce marketing documents in language.

This is an activity that:

  • takes a long time;
  • is expensive and inefficient;
  • can lead to mistakes (sometimes even embarrassing ones like the use of incorrect terminology or unsubstituted translations);

Updates, changes, and amendments to already translated documents often hold back entire teams and make it very difficult to meet deadlines.

Without the right tools, it is impossible to have precise control and to make sure the result is perfect and respects the timing!

If you work with InDesign, you should consider trying Redokun.

Redokun is a software that simplifies and speeds up the production of multi-language documents, and at the same time can be integrated quickly into the company, without major investments and without changing the logic with which your team works.

Immediately Redokun:

  • reduces production costs (thanks to the reuse of translations and simplification of processes)
  • makes it possible to have documents translated by collaborators in other parts of the world (or other partner / supplier companies)
  • allows the user to exploit artificial intelligence to translate texts, increasing productivity and reducing costs
  • provides more control over the terminology and improves the quality of the documents produced
  • allows for constant control over the production of documents

The best quality of Redokun is that it immediately repays with great advantages because it is SIMPLE to use and integrate.

This 1-minute video quickly explains how Redokun works:

Try Redokun now – free for 14 days!

Stefano Bernardi
Stefano Bernardi

Stefano has worked on numerous mid to large–sized InDesign projects for Alstom, DeLonghi, Philips, and many others before starting Redokun in 2015.
As Redokun’s Co-Founder, Stefano spends most of his time helping customers to optimize their InDesign work-flow. He also holds in-house InDesign courses for companies in the Venice, Italy area.

19 Tips To Optimize Your InDesign File For Translation (Free eBook)

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A short guide for InDesign users who work on multilingual projects. It'll give you an exhaustive look into the issue of creating an InDesign document ready for translation.

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