Multilingual typesetting may have been touted as an easy job. But the hard fact is that it needs to be carried out with due diligence, else you may not get the desired results. Each language has its own nuances and if the same is not addressed meticulously, you risk making a semantic blunder and it can cause you heavily. Any palpable loss in meaning during translation would tarnish the credibility of the brand and would convey a negative impression among the foreign prospects being targeted. This unprofessionalism may even cost the brand dearly. If the reader can’t decipher the meaning of the text, all your efforts would go in vain. The complexities of the task are myriad but professional companies offering multilingual typesetting services very well know how to deal with the same.
As afore said, multilingual typesetting work is harder than you may think. If you are wondering why, here are the top reasons that would shed some light.
Textual formatting related issues
You can format all languages with a universal convention. This is true for languages that have originated from same source. Hyphens for example, have to be inserted in varied languages based on the flow, tone and pauses governing the use of a given language; this is to make the reader pause in between a sentence. In Arabic context, hyphens are not used whereas in English, they are commonly used based on grammatical rules. German language uses hyphens but under stipulated circumstances. In Thai language, words have no spatial difference among them but a new line can only be started as per its own unique linguistic rules. Companies offering prepress services are well acquainted with this.
The direction in which the readers follow the text also varies. Left to right convention is used in English and most other languages whereas Persian, Hebrew and Arabic are exceptions to this rule and here you have to read from right to left. When typesetting for Arabian languages from English, reversing the content layout is essential but if some other language pieces within the text are left non-translated, the outcome of manuscript typesetting would be disastrous and whole meaning would be lost or significantly changed to something else.
Number convention also varies in the sense that decimal is substituted with comma in certain languages.
Textual alignment also bears its allegiance to the language type. Arabian languages are never left aligned mostly whereas it is imperative that Chinese text is fully justified and aligned neatly.
Font and accentuation related issues
Fonts have wide impact on content construction and presentation. Roman alphabet driven languages don’t have the same font conventions across the table. The accentuation, character and letters vary and character sets are extended to reflect the varied needs. However, all fonts across the globe don’t have extension of character sets to highlight the accent differences. Languages that have no bearing to Roman alphabet would pose numerous challenges. Your predilection for a particular font set won’t be compatible with characters of Cyrillic, Greek or Asian characters. Professional book typesetting services providing companies always take this into consideration.
Design aesthetics related issues
Translation is not a standalone phenomenon. It produces a ripple effect that calls for change in connected elements to maintain the coherence of the ideas. Any lapse in the collective process would result in distorting the theme of the content. When you are translating to Greek or Cyrillic languages, be prepared to work 20% more as the translated content surpasses the length of original text. The same is true for Spanish and other European languages wherein the native English content can be stretched as much as 300% to maintain the integrity of the content. Asian characters are complicated in nature and thus call for sufficient horizontal gaps among contiguous terms for better readability. Based on the language to which the content is being translated, it may be required to adjust page elements and text boxes for uniformity. This is a common law in the domain of international typesetting.
Size and space related issues
The purpose of translation is to facilitate easy and clear reading for the readers of the foreign language. In order to accomplish this, you have to be careful with the size of the fonts and inherent space between them for the destination language. More vertical space is needed in languages such as Arabic, Hindi, Khmer, and Thai. Further, the complexity of the characters and their height are also visibly different from Latin language. Each consecutive line has more space than English. The depth of translator’s knowledge is tested as the textual sanctity cannot be violated whereas the final content should be readable and acceptable to targeted readers.
Software related challenges
Software of specialized nature and customized plugins are a must particularly when you are translating to languages of non-Latin origin with right to left flow. Most run of the mill software fails to render Devanagari or Arabian scripts in their original typesetting. The plugin or software has to be customized to cater to the special needs of these scripts.
As a matter of fact, in order to make your translated content resonate with the intended audiences, you have to ensure that the integrity of words as well as layout should be maintained. Visual discrepancies would have to be ironed out smartly. You need to ensure that the translated script should retain all the inherent elements that add authenticity to it. By keeping a keen eye on the aforesaid, you can vault over the potential pitfalls.
If you need a partner to outsource your professional document formatting requirements, there are a lot of multilingual typesetting companies in India on which you can rely. We are a reputed name in the niche. Want to discuss about a project or alleviate any sort of dilemmas? Feel free to get in touch. We will surely assist.
Also know more about what a typesetter should take care of multilingual typesetting.