Mock-up of files for translation

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, mainly in the case of brochures.

Everything is running smoothly and the document looks wonderful. The user instructions are excellent! Sales will no doubt rocket! Presentation succeeded!
Then, they decide to translate the document. However, the translated text needs to fit into the original layout. That is when 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, you will see the desktop publisher struggling to get everything in place. Often, the font size is diminished.

The translated manual, brochure or presentation looks nothing like the smashing original.

The same text but in French is clearly longer than the original text in English.

We have not spoken about software developers yet, who set up the whole user interface in very compact English and therefore demand that translators do not to make the translation longer than a specific number of characters of pixels. If the project was badly prepared, this will result in often 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.

It means that, in the end, you will have fewer worries and less work.

Do you have no idea of how the target language will impact the length of the text? Ask your professional translator. He or she will be perfectly able to tell you what to take into account in your source document.