Foreign Language Typesetting – the fine art of typography

The term foreign language typesetting refers to the process of shaping a translated text to fit the formal layout of the original text, while at the same time taking into consideration typographical differences between the original and target languages. Having a translated text that’s exactly the same length as the original is a rarity. That is why paragraphs, line breaks, and page breaks must be adjusted within the document – along with any captions or charts that contain text.

Foreign language typesetting analyzes the macrotypography of the original text in order to accurately adapt the document to the target language. When typesetting, the typographical customs of the respective language must be taken into consideration so that the final document differs from the original as little as possible.

Foreign Language Typesetting – creating a geographically-tailored text

Identifying and adapting your text to fit the different reading style in your target country is important. What font size is customarily used? How far apart should lines be spaced, and what fonts are typically used in that country? Is text read from left to right, or from right to left? Foreign language typesetters must take all of these fine details into account.

Typesetting in a foreign language can be particularly challenging when different writing systems are used in a single text. For example: a German company would like to have its brochure translated into Chinese. In most cases, the name of the company would still be written using the Latin alphabet. As a result, the foreign language typesetter chooses a Chinese character set that matches the Latin font. A clear sign of high quality foreign language typesetting is a final document that perfectly harmonizes all types of text.