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Is your graphic designer comfortable with Chinese?
Posted by Florence Kircher

So, you translated your brochure and now you wonder why the layout doesn't look quite right.

There is a simple explanation to this: during translation, the text might expand, contract or shift on a page. For example, a Chinese text typically contracts and might take up to 50% less space than its English equivalent. Just imagine the look of your 6 page brochure with this added blank space.

That's where desktop publishing specialists come into the picture. They check that document layout and text formatting are identical to that of the English source. They will look for and eliminate corrupted characters and will pay special attention to languages with different alphabets like Russian or Greek, or languages with a lot of accentuated characters like Hungarian. When handling languages written from left to right like Hebrew or Arabic, they will ensure that the document layout mirrors that of the English.


Your graphic designers might be excellent at handling lay-out, the problem is their Chinese probably isn't very good


Now, do you want your Chinese prospect to have an easy read? Ideograms might require applying a specific font and an adjustment of the font size to handle the blank space caused by text contraction, and paragraphs will have to be justified. With Romance languages like French or Spanish that expand by up to 20%, desktop publishers look for paragraphs that might overlap onto the next one or might be cut off mid-sentence. Desktop publishers also look beyond words and routinely check that the correct fonts are used with the correct kerning, that the margins and page numbering are correct. Finally, when your document contains graphics or infographics, they make sure that these are all present and duly translated so not a word is lost.

Our desktop publishing specialists are graphic designers who specialise in translation and who maybe know just a bit too much about diacritics, text contraction in Asian language or hyphenation rules in Hungarian. They will handle your translations in the appropriate software and will make sure the translated documents look like the English ones.

The result of this meticulous work? An end-product that looks professional and is ready to be published online or to be sent to the printer.

Would you like more information about translation and desktop publishing for your marketing collaterals, your newsletter, your presentation slides or your new product manual?


Find out more about our translation services or feel free to contact us with your questions at


Florence Kircher
Project Manager


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