Translation Expansion/Contraction: How it Impacts Design

At Kwintessential we work with a lot of design houses;  both digital and print. One area we have to constantly coach our clients on is how language expands and contracts when undergoing a translation. So for example, 1,000 characters in English could end up as 850 when translated into one language and 1,400 in another. This poses headaches for designers as they usually build a website or graphics in English and then expect translated text to slot in nice and neatly.

 

By way of offering a simple illustration, have a look at the menu bar below . Lets say Mr Designer starts with the English template and then wants his website to go into Italian, German, French and Spanish. You can see that if he bases his site around the dimensions of the English template, it is not going to work! This is because the translated text has inflated the area he needs for his menu.

 

The answer to this is not very difficult. Your translation agency or translator needs to know how text will be used and what for. Once the context is understood either they look for alternative translations to fit defined spaces or we work with the designer to create a more flexible layout.

 

If you need help with regards to web or graphic design please contact one of our team.