The export out of InDesign is interesting but would only really be useful if the multiple variances of text was an after-thought. If you knew in advance you were going to do this, you would set the file and work flow up diffently. As for the import, InDesign's built-in Data Merge does this.
Someone with more knowledge on this might add to this but I believe InCopy is a close equivalent to what you have been doing. http://www.adobe.com/products/incopy/features.html
I don't mean to discourage you, but there is actually already a large and robust market for such tools. See SDL Trados, Kilgray memoQ, et cetera. I think that Rorohiko's StoryTweaker is the closest match to what you've done. I know few translators who prefer working in Excel over other applications - in fact I have a folder full of VBAs to move multilingual content out of Excel into Word and back, simply because the text-editing tools in Excel are pretty abysmally bad, at least from the perspectives of the translators I have asked about the matter.
Besides, if you wanted to work in a tabular format, you'd already be using an app like Trados or SDLX or something like that.
(without graphic designer spending time on copy-n-pasting in to indesign file)
Actually, over the last fifteen years I've spent as a DTP wonk in the translation industry, I've found that graphic designers are pretty universally bad at this task. Each language has its own typographical conventions, and the graphic designers that recognize this fact are unfortunately quite rare. Furthermore, you only have to do one control-c alt-tab control-v job before you realize that there must be a better way to do it.
Sorry to rain on your parade, but you're kind of reinventing the wheel here. That being said, the firms that have a lock on the Compuer-Aided Translation tools (CATs) or Translation Environment Tools (TEnTs) tend to have fairly high prices, even on their introductory toolsets. There may be some slack points in that market that I don't see. I'd suggest asking someplace else, like ProZ or Translator's Cafe, or places where InDesign expertise is less common.
Joel & Rik
Thanks for your replies.
I will definately try asking in forums you mentioned.
In any case its just 2 days programming work so not a big deal.
Would you be willing to share this with me?
I'd highly interested in that solution, specifically for the XLS export (conversion of textual content into a database). Would you be willing to share it?
Like Joel said, there are a few tools that help translators on translating InDesign files.
The thing is, for a variety of reasons, not every company wants to let translators work directly on the IDML file with their tools and not every translator wants to work with IDML files anyway. Another thing to consider is that these software work with a lot of formats and sometimes are not 100% precise when it comes to InDesign files (eg. they strip kerning, tracking, soft-returns, InDesign special chars, etc.)
Also, I can tell from experience that some companies use their sales force or partners to translate their files and since almost none of them are professional translators, they don't use CAT tools.
These are some of the reasons why at Redokun we developed a platform specifically built for InDesign translation: https://redokun.com
The tool offers two options to translate the files:
- Export text from InDesign for later import through XLS or XLIFF files
- Invite the translators to work inside the easy-to-use integrated translation tool
Compared to an InDesign translation plugin, it also has additional features: it stores translation memories for later use and provides other features like document revisioning and pre-translation capabilities.