11 Pitfalls of Multilingual Typesetting (How to avoid)


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Translating your advertisement materials into multiple languages can immensely help you by strengthening your transnational presence. This will increase the volume of your sales and help your name to propagate without the restriction of geographical boundaries. For any business, it is what they strive for.

how to typeset
Foreign language typesetting

Multilingual typesetting is unavoidable in such a context. In shortest of words, it is a common term that refers to the placement of different languages text into print applications and artwork. However, foreign language typesetting has its own set of limitations and we have dedicated this article to discuss some of the common problems of multilingual typesetting so that professionals can address them appropriately and holistically. Let us see some of the key elements to be considered while typesetting a foreign language.

  1. Hyphenation

    In certain languages, hyphenating words is considered as weird; it is not that common. At the same time, languages like German and Russian having compound words mandates usage of hyphens. You should be aware of this fact.

  2. Line breaks

    It is obvious that you want your text to be easily readable and the lines should appropriately break. When it comes to Japanese, it looks better if line breaks occur between words. It is however not a linguistic demand; the software doesn’t do this automatically. You will have to manually do it.

  3. Page structure

    Languages that are right-to-left are read from the back towards front. This means that the entire artwork has to be reversed.

  4. Non-breaking spaces

    In certain languages, as per the professional companies offering multilingual typesetting services, non- ending spaces are required for keeping words & numbers or two words together.

  5. Accents

    Check whether the capitalised words possess accents and verify whether these are showing. Also confirm that the font used have the needed accents and it is not substituted. This is very important.

  6. Capitalisation

    Only companies indulged in offering professional services are acquainted with the right practice for capitalizing headings. It normally varies with the language.

  7. Fonts

    This is the area where you should be very careful. In case if the corporate or official font does not have letters needed for your desired target language, it can be an issue. This needs to be solved.

  8. Text length

    Filling text to the entire space is considered to be a good idea. But this can pave way for troubles when it about foreign language typesetting. For instance, French is nearly 30% longer than the English language.

  9. Avoiding the pitfalls

    Several issues are there that have to be resolved when it comes to the typesetting foreign languages. Most of the typesetting mistakes you should avoid are discussed above but there are still a lot to be covered such as kerning, justification, text ligatures and a lot more.

  10. Understand the complete process

    Just by having proficiency in few of the print and deign applications never imply that you will be able to typeset various multilingual materials creatively or accurately. You may be able to key in but what about detecting issues with script or grammar? You never want to compromise on the quality and style of your brochure by faulty typesetting process. So, to perfectly carry out the process and avoid typesetting mistakes, you should have a complete understanding of the entire course.

  11. Invest in the right software

    Make sure that you invest in the best software for typesetting foreign languages. Some of the design software versions are incapable of supporting complex scripts and right to left languages. Few to mention are Farsi, Hebrew and Arabic; for them you need Middle Eastern versions. Incorrect software usage and lesser knowledge regarding complex script can pave way for typesetting disasters.


There are many ways how businesses expand their reach among a varied target demographic. One such way is by translating advertisement materials into multiple languages. The only challenge that arises is multilingual typesetting, as foreign languages have certain typographic limitations.

The above mentioned are some of the major multilingual typesetting difficulties that may pop up when it comes to manuscript typesetting. Hiring any of the expert typesetting service companies to get the work done is the best thing you can do.