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Translation Tips: Consider Design

Medical Pharmaceutical Translations • Jul 3, 2014 12:00:00 AM

This ongoing series will provide succinct guidance to buyers of translation services.


Making a strong visual impact is important in marketing.  But when preparing documents for translation, design is a critical element in planning for translation.  Considering the following steps will make the process go more smoothly:


When we design English documents, we keep white space in mind and try to construct a page that is not too text heavy.  Remember that some languages expand dramatically and plan accordingly for this.  Spanish for example could add a page or two to an average document.  If you want to retain white space on pages and guard font sizes, then build in a little extra space from the beginning.


Remember that not all foreign languages will be able to use the fonts used in the English source file.  For example, if you are translating into Korean, do not even spend time creating fancy designer fonts for the source document—they will not be used.

Visual/Language Connection

When creative concepts are developed, often plays on language are tied to the visuals.  When this cannot be avoided, be sure to involve your project manager in the development process—just to be sure that your concepts can actually still be translated.

Software Versions

Be sure to clearly communicate what version of each software you are using.  Know that InDesign is more foreign language-friendly than Quark. Logos

When you send files to an agency for translation, make sure to include a modifiable logo file as normally generics are translated.


All graphics must be provided with layers that are modifiable.  Translation often requires tweaks to background language.

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