Desktop Publishing Points to Ease Translation Issues

Graphic Design Our foreign language translation firm works on several different computer platforms and in all sorts of software programs when working with clients around the world.

We continue to encounter several issues that can cause higher rates for our clients due to additional time to “fix” files before they can go through translation.  Only a few quick changes can make the translation and formatting process go smoother, quicker and cheaper for you.

5 formatting suggestions to help your projects move faster:

  • Use tabs, not the space bar, to align type.
  • Word-processing programs may not print on an image setter with the same line and page breaks as on your office printer. The best solution is to save the document as a .pdf file. as well as providing the original document
  • Delete extra blank pages and any clutter, such as unused type, boxes, and art, that remains on the pasteboard.
  • Provide a proof usually a pdf of the most current version of your document.
  • Place copies of your document, fonts, art, and photos in the same folder so that files link properly.

We hope this helps your translation project run smoother!

Arabic Translation and Localization Tips

The Middle East is a unique situation for those who seek to do business in the region.  The geographic area is even difficult to define.  It has been known as the Near East (pre WWII), Southwest Asia, Western Asia (what people in India refer to the region).  The term Middle East is a very Eurocentric and American term. 

The multiple languages and cultures are just as varied and can be confusing.  In the largest definition, the Middle East includes a majority of Arab populations, non-Arab Muslims; Persians, Turks, Kurds, and also Jews and Christians.

Arabic is by far the main language of the region.  Yet many Middle Eastern markets include translation into Turkish, Hebrew, Pashto or Urdu.  All of these languages with the exception of Turkish are right to left languages and present all the challenges and attention to detail of bi-directionality languages.  This bi-directionality can cause issues with translation software and in the desktop publishing (DTP) software.  In addition, many technical terms do not have a modern Arabic equivalent.  Only an experienced subject matter expert whose native language is Arabic should work on these types of projects so that your products and services are truly understood in the Middle East markets.

Simply understanding the nuances of the Arabic language and the translation challenges can help you and your organization be better prepared for the localization and internationalization process.  Experienced Arabic translators understand these pitfalls and will have created software work arounds to meet the challenges of your translation and localization projects into the right to left and bidirectional languages. 

The Middle East certainly presents many benefits for businesses going global - looking east is the easy part, translating your documents can be easy too if you have the right Arabic translation partnership.

5 Tips for selecting fonts for your documents that will be translated

Font types Font choice for your source documents is critical as it will need to be used by a foreign language translator and graphic designer.  Keep these five items in mind when you choose a font for translation projects to avoid hiccups in your final translated project.

  1. Try to simplify the total number of fonts used in the document.
  2. Ideally select fonts that are available on both Mac and PC.
  3. Avoid custom and proprietary fonts that can add extra expense to the project.
  4. Remember, character styles used in Western Europe or US English layouts are not always transferable to Asian languages (e.g., bold and italic, upper and lower case).
  5. Decorative fonts can be make accents and special foreign language characters difficult to read or illegible.

There are ways to work around these issues, by sending over your fonts or by converting files to a foreign language font that is similar.  We are used to working in these situations but your forethought is greatly appreciated.

Expansion of Languages when you translate from English

welcome translation Thinking about how your document will look in English is what most of our customers think about.  But there is more when you are translating your documents.  Specifically expansion and contraction of your text when translated.

For example, when translating into a romance language such as French or Spanish, text can expand as much as 20%. Other languages such as Dutch and German tend to use longer words than English and can expand as well. This can present formatting and desktop publishing challenges if not planned well. For example, a table in English that fits nicely on one page may spill over to the next page if translated into Korean.  I have provided approximate expansion or contraction rates below when translating from English into the following languages:

Language % Difference

Arabic                                         104

Chinese                                        61

Czech                                         117

Dutch                                         128

Finnish                                       103

French                                        111

German                                       108

Hindi                                            83

Hungarian                                   113

Italian                                         109

Japanese                                    115

Korean                                        123

Portuguese                                 110

Russian                                       115

Spanish                                       117

Swedish                                        95

Keep this in mind when formatting your English - don’t squeeze all of your text into a cramped space with tiny font as this will cause issues for your translation projects.

Translation tips for desktop publishing translated documents

Graphic Design Often times when our customers look to translate their documents, they do not think how they are going to get the translated text into their English layout.  An English layout can look fabulous on paper but when desktop publishing of the translation happens it can cause many issues.

IteroText has lots of experience placing translated text into the original source layout, however, there are many things to think about.

1.  Foreign language translations expand when coming from English - typically 20% or more.  This means the English text fit perfectly, but now how do you fit 20% more text in that same layout?  Often times we can reset the document entirely or shrink the point size and the leading.  However, by shrinking translated text, the finished product looks crammed and your message may get lost in the crowd.

2.  Leave plenty of white space when you know your documents will be translated.  This way there will be room for the expanded translated text.  Narrow columns may not work with languages such as German as their words are much longer and hyphenation could be in appropriate.  How we hyphenate in English can be very different in other languages, as the rules vary.

By thinking ahead you can save yourself the pain of an awkward layout and crammed text.