Layout proof

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This is to explain what to do when you receive a layout proof job from KAB. Regrettably, we don’t have time to make instructive images to make a more complete how-to at this stage, but I will try to be as clear as possible (for me) without the help of images.

Before and after You

A layout proof is only done on a document that is to be printed, after translation and validation is finished.

Before layout proof, the document has been through a “final layout”, where the DTP person finalizes the layout of the document. Seeing to it that all texts are readable and visible, that they are as close to the original texts as possible regarding size, color, typeface etc, and that the original design intent is adhered to.

So the job for a layout proofer is (ideally) to check that all texts in the new language are in order for print, i.e that they have ended up in the right place, are printable and are looking good, and adhering as closely as possible to sound layout rules for the target language.

After you have done the layout proof and our DTP person has amended the document as per your comments, the document should be ready for print - at least concerning the text content and layout. It will either be sent directly to the customer's print provider, or (usually) sent to the customer for approval. Any final changes needed before print that are not related to text (changes in colours, images, design or other document localization) are done by the customer, or the customer's print provider.


A basic checklist goes something like this, working up from the big picture down into the details. It is usually smart to browse through the PDF first, looking for general errors and discrepancies.

Do the typefaces look the same as the original?

things to watch out for:

  • is bold text still bold,
  • do headlines and body texts still look about the same?

Note! If there are big differences and you haven’t been told that we had to change fonts, stop immediately and ask if the original PDF is really correct or if you can receive an original PDF that is made with the correct typefaces active.

  • You can't do a final layout proof unless you have an original PDF which shows you how the texts are actually supposed to look.
  • Are the margins (for instance: left and right side of page, distance to pagina, distance between columns and pictures) okay, and about the same as the original?
  • Check that text and images don’t accidentally overlap
  • Is all the text visible?
  • Are special characters OK? (did they survive the translation and layout process). Compare with original. Things that go wrong may be, for instance, special bullet characters that go missing, math symbols that disappear, etc.
  • Are delimiters and punctuation correctly done as per the rules for the target language? (for instance, how do double quotes look, are numbers like 100.000 correctly formated)
  • Check for widows and orphans (single words or half words that end up in the top of a column or at the bottom of a column – sometimes it is OK, but in most cases it is not).
  • Do some hyphenations need to be changed? (hyphenation is automatic and done with the DTP application’s built-in language dictionary, but you may find places where changes are needed)

In general

We often do final layout jobs without having access to the high resolution images. This is usually not a problem, and you don’t need to check resolution or colour of images or anything such. They should, however, be in the same position on every page.

There may be changes in appearance of individual texts or generally, usually the translated text is somewhat smaller/with tighter spacing/with less line height. This is OK unless you see something that you think looks bad, inconsequent or too hard to read – in that case, please comment.

(In rare cases you may run into problems where you cannot see the text because it is white on a white background – this is because there is really a transparent image partially overlapping the text, but since indesign didn’t have access to the full resolution image link when making the PDF, it couldn’t render the transparency correctly and instead rendered the entire image rectangle white).