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Languages We Have Experience Handling in DTP

Although we don't offer translation services, we have acquired first-hand DTP experience in the following languages (in alphabetical order):

Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Burmese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish, Korean, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mongolian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Slovak, Slovenian, Sorani, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh.

And the list just keeps growing! (Feel free to ask us for any other language.)

Dealing with Foreign Languages in DTP

As multilingual DTP service providers, we know what it takes to offer good DTP services in most languages of the world.

Although our in-house staff cannot be expected to be able to read or understand every language in the world, if the authors or translators of the documents have done their job properly, we are confident that we can process it properly.

Copy proofing can always be performed by the authors or translators after DTP (usually in PDF format), particularly if a document is intended for broad publication, or if it is of special political, legal or technical importance, but our experience is that the authors usually only find errors that existed in the original copy, and were not due to our work. Nevertheless, we almost always include a couple of rounds of corrections in our quotations to cover for the inevitable amendments (changes) requested at the last minute by our clients.

Typical problems in multilingual DTP include:

  • Knowing how to format numbers in the target language (types of decimal separator and thousands separator: point, comma, space, etc.), particularly in tables and diagrams that the translator may not have been able to edit;
  • Knowing what types of quotation marks are preferred or accepted in the target language;
  • Knowing where to hyphenate (break) foreign words when working in narrow columns;
  • Being able to find out what a piece of foreign text means in order to be sure to place it where it should go in a complex page layout or diagram;
  • Being able to spot omissions in a translation;
  • Knowing which capitalisation rules to apply for titles in the target language;
  • Being able to recognise punctuation signs in exotic languages;
  • Being able to recognise optional diacritics of some languages such as Arabic or Hebrew;
  • Knowing where to insert line breaks in languages that do not separate words with spaces, like Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Lao, etc.;
  • Etc.

In almost all cases, we can handle such problems with confidence and without guess work. In addition to our accumulated personal experience, the tools we use to handle such problems include:

  • our internal library of dictionaries and other reference books on typesetting and languages, which include Asian language dictionaries and language learning books;
  • software tools, such as foreign hyphenation dictionaries (we have more than 50 of these) and “word breakers” for some Asian languages;
  • online tools, particularly automatic translation engines, such as Google Translate and others, which can give a rough translation of any piece of foreign text we may require to understand in order for us to be able to place it properly on the page.

Exceptions and Limitations

In rare cases, we may encounter a special problem requiring the help of a translator. Usually, this happens with exotic languages written in complex scripts such as Thai or Bengali, or with translators who wrote their translation using non-standard non-compatible fonts that require transcoding into standard fonts before DTP can start, as is sometimes the case with translators in a few exotic languages.

Where this occurs, we will let you know what help we need from the translator, and if needed, we will arrange for one of our operators to be available at a time of the day that matches the time zone of the translator, so the job does not get unduly delayed.



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