There is always text expansion or contraction when you translate content from one language to another. It is important to take into consideration this expansion or contraction, especially when translating any marketing material, for example: brochures, presentations, or websites since you will need to revise, and adapt your layout and design for proper presentation. Text expansion in translation is inspected by graphic designers in the multilingual desktop publishing department of translation agencies or by the person responsible for testing/proofreading in the website localization process.
Designing With Text Expansion in Mind
When a document is translated from English into another language, it usually takes more words to convey the same idea. It is always possible to handle text expansion when translating technical or marketing documents by tweaking it a little, although the presence of graphics, diagrams and images in any type of document makes the adjustment a bit more complex, if it wasn’t considered at the document creation stage.
It is safe to design your layout assuming that English text will expand by 20 to 30% once translated. Each language has a different expansion percentage but, when it comes to adequate space, the expression “better to be safe than sorry” holds true. Remember that white space is not necessarily wasted space; it allows for a more versatile layout and can greatly increase the readability of a document.
A few elements to keep in mind for document translation:
When dealing with online material:
Save Time and Money by Planning Ahead!
Although easily overlooked, text expansion can affect much more than the visual consistency of your document and websites. It can bring higher cost to your project by adding hours of multilingual desktop publishing. By addressing the relevant elements that can change at the beginning of the process, during the design stages, and by designing with Internationalization practices in mind, layout sacrifices and rework can be avoided and reduced; saving you time and money.