There is simply no way in the world I would have attempted using that amount of transparency in a document being sent to such a printer. Many printers still requiring flattened PDFs are just dropping into an old version of Quark and outputting from there.
That said, without seeing the actual document it's nearly impossible to tell what's going on.
It's possible in more current versions of ID to set transparency at the object, stroke, fill and content levels, and I suspect you've applied your effects at the object level. I was able to reproduce what you are seeing both by using the gradient feather tool and going to the Effects panel and applying the feather there to the entire object. Curiously, once the gradient feather tool was used I couln't access the options in the Effects panel or the Object menu.
In any case, if you are able, select the text frame, open the Effects panel or the Object > Effects > Gradient Feather menu, remove the gradient feather and reapply it to just the fill.
If you are not able to do that, copy the text, delete the text frame and create a new one and paste back the text, then select the frame and apply the gradient feather to the fill using the Effects panel or Object menu.
I copied all the elements on the page and recreated the identical circumstance, with the same stacking order, in a new document. When I checked the transparency flattener, the type was not affected. Thanks, I had no idea that you could target the object, stroke, fill and content individually. So I read the whole "Print Production Guide for Transparency" for nothing!
;-) Sometimes, menu options are staring you right in the face and you can't see them!
This toggle between Object, Fill and Stroke in the Effects/"Gradient Feather" Dialogue Box works in a peculiar way, however. After targeting "Fill" with a Gradient Feather, I exited the Effects Dialogue Box. Then when I reopened the it, "Objects" was checked! Then I toggled to "Fill" and it was checked also! So I unchecked "Objects". I confirmed by looking at the data in the window that only "Fill" was now targeted. I exited from the menu. When I reopened the Effects/Gradient Feather Dialogue Box, the same thing happened. I checked the data in the window again, and both "Object" and "Fill" were targeted. It's like a "sticky format" that won't let go!
Also, when I select Object/Effects, none of the options on the pop-out menu are checked; only after you select "Gradient Feather" and go to the Effects Dialogue Box do you see that "Gradient Feather" is selected. If you were to forget what kind of effect you previously applied, you would have to look through all the effects to find out!
The long and short of it, your solution worked. Many thanks.
Sometimes a client gives you mediocre photos and you have to find a way to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear! Transparency is often your only resort. Or sometimes, the design calls for a little "magic".
In this printer's defense, this print job turned out pretty well, except for this small overprinting error (which I now see was my error). When you have no control over the choice of printer, what else can you do?
Reading the Print Production Guide for Transparency was a little overwhelming (it's target audience seems to be print service providers), but I learned a lot from it in my own limited kind of way. My only recourse is to try to become more professional myself, which is why I keep posting on your blog. ;-)
Thanks, as always, for your comments.