In medium to big-sized companies manuals, brochures, presentations etc. are usually drafted in English first. This work can be done internally, but can also be outsourced, especially in the case of brochures.
Everything proceeds smoothly and the document looks wonderful. The user instructions are excellent! Sales will no doubt rocket! A succesful presentation!
Then, they decide to translate the document. However, the translated text needs to fit into the original layout. Then problems arise. No matter how wonderful the manual, brochure or presentation looks, no thought has been put into the translation.
A Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian or German text can easily be 20-35% longer than the original English text.
That means that 20-35% of your original document should be white space in order to allow for the extra text in other languages. If that is not the case, a desktop publisher will struggle to fit everything in. The font size is often reduced.
The translated manual, brochure or presentation looks nothing like the smashing original.
The translation in French is clearly longer than the original in English.
There is also the situation of software developers. They design the user interface in very compact English and demand that the translation does not exceed a specific number of characters of pixels. If the project was badly prepared, this will often result in meaningless abbreviations.
Compact in English, almost double the size in German. Do you take this into account? Or would you rather see “Wiederh. S. d. Kennw.”?
The mission is clear.
Make sure your source document or software has enough room for the translation.
In the end, you will have fewer worries and less work.
No idea how the target language will impact the length of the text? Ask your professional translator. He or she has the experience and expertise to tell you need to take into account in your source document.