The Challenges Of Multilingual Typesetting Services
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the challenges of multilingual typesetting services, let’s start with an overview of “typesetting meaning”. Typesetting is an essential step in preparing text for printing on paper. It includes reference markups, formatting, and composition — also known as page layout. Now, what are the challenges of multilingual typesetting services?
1. Non-English Languages
Many non-English languages are difficult to typeset. Some are used in small geographic areas by a limited number of people; others have specific characters or writing systems that are particularly difficult to work with from a technical standpoint. Sometimes, languages rarely appear in a printed text, and on the flip side, some are used almost exclusively in digital media.
The Khmer language is written only in Cambodia. People outside of this very small geographic area would not generally use Khmer resources (and therefore Khmer typesetting services). On the other hand, Russian is widely distributed throughout the world and has a large number of speakers; however, it can be particularly challenging to typeset because it uses both Cyrillic (a writing system derived from Greek) and Latin alphabets.
2. Technical Limitations
Another issue is technical limitations. For example, many languages have characters that cannot be laid out in the same way as English. Letter-spacing and kerning will need to be adjusted according to the font size and the language being used.
3. Left-to-Right Scripts
If you’re working with a left-to-right script, your typesetting will be fairly straightforward. We use Latin letters (Roman script) in English, Spanish and German, just to name a few examples of left-to-right scripts. When you are typesetting a book or a brochure, you won’t have any trouble typesetting into or from these languages. However, some languages don’t fall neatly into this category. For example, the Arabic language is a Semitic language that uses the Arabic alphabet. The Arabic writing system is from right to left!
4. Complexity of Hyphenation
The next challenge in typesetting services is around the complexity of hyphenation. While English text only has one set of hyphens, some languages like German and Spanish have two sets. In other words, they have both a soft hyphen () and a hard hyphen (-), depending on the circumstance.
A soft hyphen means that a word can be broken at that point with no alteration to its meaning whereas a hard hyphen breaks the word so it cannot stand alone without altering its meaning. In other words, with German as an example, “die-selben” (the same) becomes “dieselben” (the same). The use of a soft versus hard hyphen makes all the difference in meaning!
5. Foreign Languages and Web Pages
In most cases, the languages for which typesetting is required are ones that use different alphabets from English. These include Japanese, Arabic, Korean, Chinese and many others. In these cases, it is important to make sure that the typesetting renders the text in a way that preserves its natural integrity. This often requires hiring a native speaker who has experience working with foreign language typesetting.
One of the most common problems encountered with multilingual typesetting by a typesetting company involves rendering characters in languages like Chinese and Japanese properly. These languages employ character sets that are significantly larger than those used by European and Middle Eastern languages. Typesetters who are unfamiliar with these character sets might mistakenly omit certain characters or insert spaces where there should be none between certain characters. A native speaker will be familiar with all of the proper rules for spacing when working on these projects.
Renaissance Translations’ Professional Typesetting Services
Typesetting and formatting can be a challenge for some typesetting companies. At Renaissance Translations, we have expert designers working closely with our professional translators to deliver an error-free document in a timely manner. Our typesetting services has helped hundreds of companies working abroad with an accurate typesetting for their brochures, leaflets, books and other types of documents. Contact our project managers today to discuss your project!