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1 Jun 2012

Localization Item: Punctuation

Molly O C Rowan

Each language has its own specific set of rules for punctuation. Variations in spacing, capitalization, and different phrasing in translation could make your document look different than its source. Here is a small sampling of some specific uses of punctuation symbols that vary from English usage:

Full stops & commas

See Localization item: Measurements.

Colons & semicolons

Both Canadian French and European French use a non-breaking space before colons (:) and semicolons (;). European French uses this spacing rule for all other two-stroke punctuation as well, like the exclamation point (!) and the question mark (?).

Chinese and Japanese text may look like there is different spacing for colons and semicolons because full-width characters are being used, so the spacing cannot be changed.

Greek uses a semicolon instead of a question mark.

English What?
Greek Τι;

 

Quotation marks

Here is a sampling of the different styles of quotation mark usage. See the Wikipedia article for a lot more.

English “…” 66/99 on the top line
Lithuanian „…“ 99 on baseline, 66 on top line
French « … » Guillemet quotes with non-breaking spaces
Polish „…” 99 on baseline, 99 on top line
Traditional Chinese 「…」 Corner brackets

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