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Why You Need Editable Files for Accurate Translation Quotes

When you request a translation quote, it is recommended that you provide an editable file for analysis. Factors such as word count, target and source languages, subject matter, formatting and layout requirements are all identified and analyzed in order to create a quote. Submitting an editable file allows the teams preparing your quote to create an accurate and cost-effective quote for your project.

Most Common File Types Sent for Translations

MS Word documents and PDFs are the most common file types we receive for translation quotes. PDFs are created and formatted using source applications like InDesign or FrameMaker and saved as a PDF protected from editing. These files don’t allow you to edit any text or images directly from the PDFs.

If you are unable to provide an editable file, the desktop publishing team will need to recreate an editable version based on the files provided, which will result in extra costs and time.

Why Editable Files are Important

With editable files, the desktop publishers can use professional Translation Memory (TM) tools to analyze the actual word counts and accurately prepare the files for translation with any mark-up or formatting code. The translators and desktop publishers can then follow the specific requirements during translation and post translation formatting.

TM tools save all your completed translations to leverage for future translation projects. When you request a quote for a new project the TM analyzes different segments, such as new words, repeated content, etc. to apply different rates. For example, the rates for repeated content are lower than for new words as they have appeared, been translated and are already stored in the TM.

The use of TM during the translation process also ensures the quality and consistency of all translations. During translation, the existing TMs are always referenced to ensure it meets the quality and content of translations in previous projects and ensures consistency on an ongoing basis.


To summarize, according to best practices in the translation industry, it is always recommended that clients provide editable files (MS Word, InDesign, FrameMaker, etc.) when requesting translation quotes as they can be analyzed to create an accurate and cost-effective quote. It also ensures the quality and consistency of translations once the quote is approved.