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Old 07-21-2008, 08:06 AM   #1
Bo Aakerstrom
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Default Calculating space

No, not how large the universe is, but rather how much space different languages require, comparatively speaking.

I've just finished an advert in Polish, translated from English and it was a bit of a struggle to get it all to fit, keeping to the initial layout. Having some idea of how much more space is required would be great when it comes to discussing with the client. In the end they were very happy but I spent more time than should have been needed on the job.

I wonder if there is any resource that I could utilise.

   
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Old 07-21-2008, 08:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bo Aakerstrom View Post
No, not how large the universe is, but rather how much space different languages require, comparatively speaking.

I've just finished an advert in Polish, translated from English and it was a bit of a struggle to get it all to fit, keeping to the initial layout. Having some idea of how much more space is required would be great when it comes to discussing with the client. In the end they were very happy but I spent more time than should have been needed on the job.

I wonder if there is any resource that I could utilise.
Not a resource, but I have seen many threads on the topic over the years (especially on the old CIS forum). I always considered it part of the layout/design process, assuming I knew that there would be versions in other languages to begin with. Then allow space for the largest (usually French in my experience, but I did not set text in many other languages than English).

The addition of layers to page layout programs was a real boon for this purpose — you could set the different languages at the same time to see where and what spacing problems arise. Then you get a chance to solve them gracefully, instead of by brute force later: by reducing (or enlarging) the type size, cheating (or expanding) the margins or the leading, or otherwise terrorising the text!

One thing to do when designing for multiple languages: Avoid designing panels or pages that insist on being filled with text. Build white space into the design, so things do not look forced.

And then realize that most likely only the client will see multiple versions. Any single prospect will probably see only one language. If there are dramatic differences, one layout may not apply!

   
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:15 AM   #3
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Not a resource, but I have seen many threads on the topic over the years (especially on the old CIS forum). I always considered it part of the layout/design process, assuming I knew that there would be versions in other languages to begin with. Then allow space for the largest (usually French in my experience, but I did not set text in many other languages than English).
I'm hoping for more work from this particular organisation, mainly in English, but also in other European languages. They work with Businesslink promoting the idea of setting up businesses to the recent influx of Europeans into Britain. A bit of an uphill struggle in the current climate but they have got funding for this already.
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The addition of layers to page layout programs was a real boon for this purpose — you could set the different languages at the same time to see where and what spacing problems arise. Then you get a chance to solve them gracefully, instead of by brute force later: by reducing (or enlarging) the type size, cheating (or expanding) the margins or the leading, or otherwise terrorising the text!
Some of all of those eventually did it!
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One thing to do when designing for multiple languages: Avoid designing panels or pages that insist on being filled with text. Build white space into the design, so things do not look forced.

And then realize that most likely only the client will see multiple versions. Any single prospect will probably see only one language. If there are dramatic differences, one layout may not apply!
That's all good advice. The ad in question was A5 size but with far too many words (in my opinion, but the client is always right), so the space was already crowded with the English text.

   
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:58 AM   #4
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IThe ad in question was A5 size but with far too many words (in my opinion, but the client is always right), so the space was already crowded with the English text.
Maybe you could gently hint that they should start with the fattest language, then translate to English, which is relatively efficient.

That way they would have to cut the text!

The trouble with French, in particular, is that they lack a lot of the words that enable English to be specific with few words; in French, there are many phrases. They sound terrific when you hear them — a kind of lovely rolling cadence — but setting them all in type is another story altogether. And besides that they like more space in their sentences — they space colons!! And these charming (and very readable) quote marks [» «]!! And all the diacriticals force extra leading!! Ouch.


   
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:15 PM   #5
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The trouble with French, in particular, is that they lack a lot of the words that enable English to be specific with few words; in French, there are many phrases. They sound terrific when you hear them — a kind of lovely rolling cadence — but setting them all in type is another story altogether. And besides that they like more space in their sentences — they space colons!! And these charming (and very readable) quote marks [» «]!! And all the diacriticals force extra leading! Ouch.
There are many languages that use guillemets and diacriticals; the latter shouldn't need extra vertical spacing, provided fonts that are designed for newpapers are not used—and even then, there are fonts sich as Greta, which is specially intended for newspapes and a lot of diacriticals.

   
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bo Aakerstrom View Post
No, not how large the universe is, but rather how much space different languages require, comparatively speaking.

I've just finished an advert in Polish, translated from English and it was a bit of a struggle to get it all to fit, keeping to the initial layout. Having some idea of how much more space is required would be great when it comes to discussing with the client. In the end they were very happy but I spent more time than should have been needed on the job.

I wonder if there is any resource that I could utilise.
Well, I've always heard and my experience holds that typeset Spanish takes up about 30% and French 25-30% more space than English. I've set other languages, too (just a few lines here and there on product packaging), but Spanish (#1) and French have made up the bulk of my foreign language typesetting.

And here's something sort of interesting I just spotted of multiple language publishing in the education world, as well as another (a PDF) discussing closed captioning for wordy languages.

(Had to post this more than once and put the links in the clear, because the forum software refused to let me post it otherwise. Weird.)

   
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:59 PM   #7
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Maybe you could gently hint that they should start with the fattest language, then translate to English, which is relatively efficient.
Not possible since the people who put the stuff together are all English speaking and simply want to get information to a non-english speaking audience.
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The trouble with French, in particular, is that they lack a lot of the words that enable English to be specific with few words; in French, there are many phrases. They sound terrific when you hear them — a kind of lovely rolling cadence — but setting them all in type is another story altogether. And besides that they like more space in their sentences — they space colons!! And these charming (and very readable) quote marks [» «]!! And all the diacriticals force extra leading!! Ouch.

Yes I studied French for over five years back in Sweden - don't remember that much though, but I do like hearing the language.

   
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Old 07-21-2008, 05:06 PM   #8
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Well, I've always heard and my experience holds that typeset Spanish takes up about 30% and French 25-30% more space than English. I've set other languages, too (just a few lines here and there on product packaging), but Spanish (#1) and French have made up the bulk of my foreign language typesetting.
That's the kind of differences in percentages I was after, in particular for Polish and other eastern European languages.
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And here's something sort of interesting I just spotted of multiple language publishing in the education world, as well as another (a PDF) discussing closed captioning for wordy languages.
The PDF is intresting, live captioning as well as translating at conferences requires special skills.

   
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:00 AM   #9
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Not possible since the people who put the stuff together are all English speaking and simply want to get information to a non-english speaking audience.
In that case, if you could suggest to the authors of the English text that they should reckon on some arbitrary increase in length, say, 15%, for all translations, that might be sufficient. You will have to specify what the percentage means, for translators customarily refer to the number of words (anglophone translators) or lines: I mean lines, where the variation is least, not words.

   
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:39 AM   #10
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Bo:

In that case, if you could suggest to the authors of the English text that they should reckon on some arbitrary increase in length, say, 15%, for all translations, that might be sufficient. You will have to specify what the percentage means, for translators customarily refer to the number of words (anglophone translators) or lines: I mean lines, where the variation is least, not words.
I have to put something like that to them, and yes, you are right about translators charging per word - ours give us a ballpark figure for a variety of laguages per thousand words, then bill us for the actual number.

I am attempting to get them to reduce the number of words anyway (one of them is used to writing long copy, a habit that is hard to break from the look of it...).

   
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