How to prepare QuarkXPress files for document translation

January 30, 2013

QuarkXPress is an effective design and desktop publishing software for multilingual documents. There are several steps designers should consider when authoring QuarkXPress files that may require translation.

Best practices to optimize your QuarkXPress files for translation

There are many best practices to optimize your QuarkXPress files for translation, but here are some of the top techniques to use:

1. Use separate paragraph styles

Desktop publishers frequently encounter documents made without using paragraph styles. Often manual formatting generates problems with the translation tools and some settings, like the color or font size, that could be lost after post-linguistic engineering preparation of files. The correct use of the paragraph and character styles can save a lot of time for the desktop publishing (DTP) team, especially on large documents.

2. Link text frames when pagination should flow in QuarkXPress

Quark-translation-1Sometimes a complex layout design includes an area where text flows through one or more images. In general the "simplest" solution is working with two "unlinked" text frames. When you translate these designs the text expansion can cause many problems.  In this case the DTP specialist will have to spend extra time to adjust all the text frames in the layout to show all the content properly.  Another way to resolve this and get a better result after translation is to link the text frames to make the text flow. Also, Quark has other great tools to make the text wrap between graphics that you can implement to improve the layout.


3. Create layers in QuarkXPress

Quark-translation-3It is very easy to work with layers in a QuarkXPress document. Placing text, images or objects on different layers lets you organize them for an easy selection and editing. Remember to always name the layers properly; according to their purpose or content. For example you can add a layer with the information of the printer and protect that when the file goes to translation.

4. Use bullet and numbering styles

When you create a numbered list, have all items in the list numbered automatically by using the Numbered Style option (see below) instead of manually typing the numbers. Working this way you will ensure that the list will be properly numbered after translation and reduce the risk of errors if you have text expansion and the content is split onto different pages.


5. Use real tables in QuarkXPress

Many designers continue creating the tables manually with horizontal/vertical lines and individual text boxes. This method often results in extra effort and a challenge for the DTP team when the file is reunited with the translated text. QuarkXPress has a really good tool for creating tables. Work with real tables (with rows and columns) adjust the text expansion in cells is far simpler and the quality is incomparable.



There are many more great features that make QuarkXPress a wonderful option for the usage in translation services and multilingual desktop publishing projects. By following the above-mentioned tips, designers and DTP specialists can save time and money on your next translation project.

Further resources on QuarkXPress

GPI has developed a series of best practices for QuarkXPress desktop publishing and translation. GPI can provide training and/or consulting with your workflow to ensure that your QuarkXPress documents are optimized for translation and localization. GPI has extensive experience in translating QuarkXPress files into Arabic and other bidirectional languages.

For more information, go to our web page: QuarkXPress Desktop Publishing and Translation.

More resources on multilingual DTP

Globalization Partners International has extensive experience in translating documentation in all common authoring products from Quark, Microsoft Office, Adobe and other vendors. You may also find some of our previous blogs on desktop publishing useful:

Please contact GPI at or at 866-272-5874 with your specific questions about document translation and your project goals. A complimentary Translation Quote for your project is also available upon request.

Document Translation
Document Translation, DTP

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  • PattyOn Feb 04, Patty said:
    Good tips on using QuarkXPress to design multilingual documents and on optimizing for translation. Users can even translate their QuarkXPress documents to InDesign with Markzware Q2ID. The features in QuarkXPress, InDesign, and Q2ID can be a big help to desktop publishers who want to create rich content in multiple languages, and it's important to know how to prepare that content properly.
  • Joachim von StoschOn Mar 19, Joachim von Stosch said:
    Thanks for your tips on getting quark files ready for translation. But do you know some good tools other than CopyFlowGold, to finally export text to translation format (word/rtf/ttx)? This would be an important improvement for quark users, to have no need for external tools, but to be able to directly export text to translation format.