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If a text is translated from one language to another one, the length of the text always changes when the language changes - increasing or decreasing in size. After translation the text can be longer, shorter, the characters taller or wider than in the original text. This new space that the translated text takes up of course also affects the page layout.

Normally the translated text is longer, in particular when talking about languages with Latin and Cyrillic script. This is associated with the fact that translating also involves a degree of interpretation. East Asian languages in contrast are more compact and therefore shorter. However, they in turn use the special double-byte character - which means a character needs twice the space of a Latin letter. The height of the lines is also greater for some Asiatic and Arabic scripts than for Latin script. Arabic and Hebrew again require the direction of the text to be changed.

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The problem of the text getting longer after being created in English is particularly apparent with user interface texts , particularly if the output equipment only allows a specific number of characters. For example, "OK" becomes "Aceptar" in Spanish and the term needs to fit on the same key.

With descriptive text as well,it should be borne in mind that the text which has become longer after translation needs to fit into the given text boxes or needs to be made to fit. This applies to classic publishing formats with text fields as well as to website editors. With the former, text overruns need to be adjusted to make all the text visible, while for the latter it may no longer be possible to show the translated text without scrolling, or that the elements no longer align correctly with each other.

Another peculiarity of using foreign language typesetting is composite substantives in some languages, such as e.g. German, Finnish and Dutch. If the term "user interface management system" after translation into German becomes "Anwenderschnittstellenverwaltung", this provides the layouter with a certain challenge. Particularly if only a specific width is available. The English text can be divided into several lines, whereas the German needs to be split into syllables whilst adhering to the rules of the language.