Books ready for press in 15 languages

By Tom Castor | October 9, 2017 |

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. For our celebration, we are sitting at a table, meticulously combing through electronic files of the latest prepress proofs of Simple Truths. These files are to be proofread and any changes made before a Friday deadline, at which time the books go to press.

This would normally seem like a manageable task since the English version of the book is less than 6,000 words in length. This time, however, the task is a bit more complicated as we are preparing for a print run in 15 different languages. The multiple scripture references that appear in the book add yet another level of complexity.

Each of these languages has already made it through the translation checks one time, and all have been through at least minimal field-testing. However, preparing a document for press adds a few more steps to the process, steps that come with own potential complications. Evaluating cover color, choosing paper stock, making formatting choices, selecting appropriate fonts and font sizes are all part of the prepress process.

The most critical steps for our purposes center around the accuracy of the translations. We know the printer received translations that were quite good. However, in the typesetting process and the multiple movements of electronic files, it is quite easy for small changes to appear in a text due to software glitches or operator error. Adding to the complexity is the fact that we are working with alphabets that we do not read (Farsi, Arabic, Hindi, Russian, Chinese, Bengali) and languages in which we are not native speakers (French, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Indonesian).

Thankfully, through the past several years, we have been able to build partnerships with people who are both native-speakers in each of the languages and also competent, professional translators. Coordinating the efforts of multiple people from all corners of the world is a bit challenging, but we have come to be quite confident that this team can complete the task.

The books are scheduled to go to press in one week. We will print 1,000 books in each of the 15 languages, with additional copies of both French and English. French and English are widely used in West Africa, where we anticipate doing additional work in 2017/2018. OM Press in Hyderabad, India will do the printing.

Tom Castor

Thomas Castor, founder of Clear and Simple Media Group, is a seasoned writer and communicator who has been delivering content with clarity and simplicity for 30 years.