News and Events

22 Feb 2012

Why does my translated document look different than the source material?

Molly O C Rowan

Unless a client specifies otherwise, KJI strives to make a document fully localized for the target audience it will be reaching, so the document may end up looking a little bit different than the source.

The most visually obvious change occurs when translating into a language with a script that reads right-to-left like Arabic or Hebrew, so the layout of the document becomes a mirror image of the source. After that, the most noticeable change is text expansion or contraction, which can affect the layout and the page count of a document. It takes eleven letters to spell the word “translation” in English; it’s twelve letters in Norwegian (“oversettlese”), but it’s only two characters in Chinese

In the text itself, it’s important to remember that every language has its own rules for capitalization, punctuation and spacing that will be different than the rules in English. For example, the English header “Features That Make a Difference:” may be translated as “Des fonctions qui font toute la différence :” in Canadian French. The capitalization and the spacing around the colon are different, but they are appropriate for each language.

Even though a translated document may at first glance look different than the source, KJI translators and QA specialists follow quality processes to ensure localization accuracy and consistency within each language.


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