Translation of scientific articles in PDF from French, German and Italian into English with LaTeX typesetting for a Japanese university
For an internal research project, a prestigious polytechnic university in Japan needed to translate and typeset in LaTeX a series of scientific articles from the late 19th century (related to physics). The project was particularly complicated, for various reasons, both technical and linguistic:
- The articles were in non-editable format, i.e. they were PDFs derived from photocopying the paper originals
- The articles were written in a rather old-fashioned language, being extracts from books published at the end of the 19th century
- Scan quality was not optimal: some articles had been digitized without further cleaning, so the pages appeared with a heavy grey background and some paragraphs were barely readable
- The articles included hundreds of equations, not always expressed in modern notation, but according to the standards of that time
- Due to the low resolution of some PDFs, some letters - and especially the symbols contained in the equations - were sometimes easily misunderstood
- One of the PDFs included 11 diagrams, to be reproduced with tools other than LaTeX.
Faced with the peculiarities of this project, Qabiria first of all selected a team of translators with higher education in mathematics or physics, essential to be able to fully understand the original texts and render them in the appropriate way. The chosen professionals carried out a short test translation of an excerpt. This test was evaluated by the client (a native English speaker) and accepted before the translation phase began.
Next, a LaTeX expert was selected, who could choose the necessary LaTeX packages and successfully typeset the translated documents. This person, who also had a scientific background, worked with a student from the Faculty of Mathematics to resolve any doubts about writing equations.
The diagrams were reproduced separately by Qabiria's DTP department in Corel Draw and linked to the TEX files as EPS/PDF.
The team set up by Qabiria translated and typeset in LaTeX almost 350 pages of scientific documents, more than 85 thousand words, delivering to the customer both TEX files and the corresponding PDF in the required time. The LaTeX documents met the standards in use in the industry both in layout (the “article” class was followed) and equation format, as well as being duly commented, at code level, to allow any direct modification by the customer.