Monday, January 26, 2015

Translated Languages Grow and Shrink

One of the dynamics in translating languages is the increase or decrease in word counts, which can increase or decrease pagination.  So, what is word count?  Word count is the total number of words counted in a particular piece of content needing translation. Let's use this phrase as an example of word count, "Make content development accessible to all team members" has a total of 8 words. Now let's translate the same phrase into Spanish "Haga que el desarrollo del contenido sea accesible para todos los miembros del equipo". Whoa, that's quite a bit more words then the original. Let's review the Chinese translation, "讓團隊的所有成員都能參與內容開發". Well, that certainly makes a difference in word count, too. 

The increase or decrease in word count affects the layout of content, which can affect the contents pagination. So what is pagination? Pagination is the process of dividing (content) into pages, either electronic pages or printed pages. Meaning after your company’s manual has been translated into Spanish or Chinese, the page count and format may not maintain the same pagination as the original English version. Due to each languages' word count, your company’s manual may need reformatting to ensure the same information is displayed and maintained in a similar format when compared to the English version.  An example of a typical page(s) that frequently requires reformatting following the contents translation is the table of contents.  The table of contents may need updating and often times reformatting due to the increase or decrease in page counts of your newly translated content. 

Most language companies quote translation projects based around 2 variables, word count and formatting.

TL; DR: Translations cause content to grow or shrink in size due to the nature of languages. This, in turn, requires content to be reformatted for layout, readability, and continuity.

Visit us at and learn how your content will increase or decrease in any target language.