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I work for a non-for-profit whereby our supporters write letters to their children and receive replies. The replies come back in the form of a PDF that has 2 pages:

  • the first is the reply in the native language
  • the second is the translated reply back to English

We quite often get our supporters ring up suggesting that the response is not in English - and this is because they haven't realized there is a second page with the translation (which is not as pretty as the first page and is not handwritten).

Supporters can obtain the response by clicking a tile in our supporter portal to download.

What are some ways that we can educate our supporters that the translation is on the second page? Some browsers show that there are 2 pages on the PDF (although this is sometimes missed).

Some thoughts:

  • We thought we could programatically switch page 1 and 2 so that the English translation is first. However, this would mean that the non-pretty version is not shown first and supporters might miss seeing the handwritten page
  • Rather than link directly to the PDF, we show it as an embedded PDF on a separate page that has some instructions on the top.
  • We insert a page at the start of the PDF that has instructions.

We are unable to modify what Page 1 and 2 look like as these are scanned in from the field (who manage the process) and as such, can only change the order or add pages.

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3 Answers 3

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  • Create different tiles in your supporter portal for native and English
  • Add Cta on hover of the tiles choose the native or English
  • Add first page to your pdf that explains the content
  • Generate only 1 page but add a clear link to the pdf for download the English version
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Create a first page with very brief instructions on how to complete the form. Maybe mention that there are 2 steps, the native language and on the next page is the english one.

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Users might actually have an interest in the language as well, when supporting children in a foreign countries.

My guess is you are using the letters for a more personal experience. It would then add to the overall experience to familiarise with the language as well.

So my recommendation would be a side-by-side presentation on a single page, which you can automatically generate from the received PDF. Just as in bilingual books.

Get rid of PDF

It‘s very weird that you’d get the textual translation in a scanned PDF, that’s the worst screen experience I can think of.

PDF are not responsive, and optimised for print-outs. If they are scanned, on top of it you cannot change text size. So you should see that you digitise your process, receive a scan of the letter that you can embed in an optimised modern image format like AVIF or WebP, alongside the translation in real text.

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