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How to Improve PowerPoint Translation in 4 easy steps

powerpoint translation steps

Last updated on June 30th, 2023 at 11:12 am

improving powerpoint translation
If you’re reading this blog post, you probably need a PowerPoint translation.

PowerPoint files are used for presentation, training, and many other applications. The translation of the slides of a PowerPoint file, as well as translating audio or closed captioning aims to eliminate language barriers between the presentation and attendees.

Before you start the translation of your PowerPoint files, there are some things you’ll want to consider.

Step One –  Know the Audience for your Translated PowerPoint

You will provide a better presentation for your audience if you clearly know your audience for the original presentation and for the translated PowerPoint.

MS PowerPoint files are typically used for presentations. This means the document is for multiple people.

Maybe you work for a global company with a large number of employees that need training. Whether for 10 or 10,000 people, presenting information requires clear communication of your message.

Preparing the English version with your audience in mind is the first step. But if you know your PowerPoint files are going to be translated into other languages, it will help produce a better-translated product if documents that will be translated are created with that in mind. For example, when translating from English to Spanish, there is typically a 20% expansion of the text that appears in the document. This could make the original spacing too tight to fit the translated text at the same font size, depending on the images, titles, and other elements existing within the presentation.

Knowing the language or languages that you will be working into will help determine the best fonts, design for spacing, treatment of expansion and contraction, as well the selection of the professional translators that you will work with in completing the task.

Step Two – Checklist of elements to Consider and why

Below we present a checklist that is designed to reflect about 85% of the cases of translation of PowerPoint files.

  • Is everything in your file editable? Can you modify the text? Often PPT files contain images to help drive the point, but sometimes the images also contain text. If this text needs to be translated and it cannot be freely edited, addressing the issue requires a different approach for the translation process.
  • PPT files primarily contain Slides and Notes. Most of the time, Slides and Notes are translated, but either one can be excluded from being translated at the moment of the translation process. There are also Master Slides, which display on but are separate from the presentation It is important to be specific about which elements of your PowerPoint require translation, so you can guide the translation company within your specific needs. This eliminates re-work if some elements were not included and reduce cost if some elements do not need translation.
  • PowerPoint files also often contain embedded files, like MS Excel charts and tables. Depending on how these files are contained within the document, it will require a different approach for translation which can complicate the translation workflow.
  • PowerPoint Slides are often used for webinars and training courses – in webinars and training courses you might also need the audio, agenda, test or quizzes, and supporting material translated with the power point. It helps to provide all the files together for consistency and to present all the elements of the course translated to your audience. This is a decision of what material will be translated.
  • If you are adding audio services (multilingual voice-over) to your presentation, do you know the dialect preference of your audience? Examples: Spanish for Spain or for Latin America. French-Canadian or French for France. Additionally, would they prefer a Male or female voice? Young or mature voice?
  • The Translation company will need to know how the acronyms should be handled in the audio file: Should they be spelled out or pronounced?


Step Three – Know the project restrictions

Projects come with specific limits due to programs in use, or other elements that need to be addressed by the translation company during the translation process. You will need to identify these restrictions to  guide the translation process while establishing your requirements

  • Can the translated PowerPoint grow in the number of pages or do you need the file kept at the same number of pages?
  • Can the translation Company split pages or reduce the font size to adjust for translation expansion?
  • In audio translation, if you are doing voice over of an audio file, is the time also limited to the original or is it free of restriction?


 Step Four – Revise the translated file

Revise the translated PowerPoint to see if your requirements were followed, and quickly report any problems. It is easier for all parties involved when the project is fresh in their minds.

As a general rule, only start the translation process with files that are finalized and ready for translation. Do not modify them while your PowerPoint files are being translated, it will cause confusion and re-work.

Do you think you’re ready to take the next steps in getting your content translated? If you’re looking for more detailed information about the process of translating PowerPoint presentations, or you have a special case, contact JR Language for more information!

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.