Multilingual Desktop Publishing: 5 Tips for Making Your Design Layout Work With Translated Content

You’re finally happy with how your branding materials turned out, but now it’s time to translate them. Sure, it sounds simple; you just replace the original text with the translated text and you’re good to go.

In reality, there are many potential challenges that can happen at this stage - from inappropriate graphics to font disasters, you could end up with a completely different page layout.

That’s where multilingual desktop publishing comes in. MDP is the process of adapting and converting your documents into other languages. It involves translation, typesetting, and design.

So if you know your publication will be translated into foreign languages, it might be a good idea to understand the MDP process a little better. To help you out, here are our five tips for making your design layout work well with translated content.

Leave white space for potential text extension

Some languages require more space when translated (for example, Western languages can take up to 30% more space than English would). As a matter of fact, translations almost always expand from the original version. That’s why it’s essential to leave white space in the layout to allow potential extensions.

If there’s not enough allotted space, the foreign language typesetter will be forced to change line spacing, or reduce the font size, potentially leaving you with a crowded text that ruins the entire user experience. Not having enough plain room in your page layout could jeopardize the structure of the entire document.

Stick to common fonts

The common fonts like Ariel and Times New Roman might not be so stylish and modern, but they could help your project run much more smoothly. These fonts are more likely to support other foreign characters that are needed for multilingual translations to different writing systems such as Asian or Middle Eastern languages.

To allow consistency across different language versions, try to stick to Unicode and the more standard Mac and PC fonts that cover a variety of foreign languages. This way, you’ll make your typesetter’s job a lot easier and avoid any potential font issue later on.

Avoid any font effects

Try to stay away from italics, bold, underline, and color effect when developing your design layout. It’s true that for some languages you can be completely sure that they support these effects (like West European languages), but what happens if you decide to expand to markets like Asia or the Middle East? Since these countries don’t use Italics in their languages, its use may distort text or potentially cause issues for some common translation software.

To avoid this type of trouble, it’s best to work with foreign language typesetters that have specific expertise in other scripts and character-based languages. They’ll ensure your design layout is consistent and appealing across languages.

Allow flexibility with images and graphics

When deciding on the graphics and images for your design layout, we recommend you stick to more universal ones rather than going extra specific with your choices. For example, if you decide to include people’s faces in your layout, ask yourself whether every culture will relate to them? Make sure your graphic element choices are either universal or not culturally specific.

Otherwise, make sure you have your graphics ready for each market you’re after.

Hire professional multilingual typesetters

Your multilingual desktop publishing project is like no other. After all, the success of your entire global campaign depends on it! To ensure your design layout works perfectly with translated content, leave the typesetting to professionals.

At Language Buró, we offer fast, accurate, and reliable professional typesetting and desktop publishing services. We specialize in all major language combinations, even the rare ones - that means we can deliver accurate foreign-language texts that resonate well with the target audience. Thanks to our unparalleled typesetting expertise, we can ensure your page layout is properly formatted, appealing, and effective!

Multilingual desktop publishing requires a specific skill set and a keen eye for design. Don’t risk your global efforts by collaborating with amateurs. Language Buró is able to provide your company with a service of guaranteed quality for all your translation needs, with the most competitive rates in the language industry. Get in touch with us today to receive a free quote!