German to English Typesetting Considerations

German to English translation

German and English are in the same family of languages and the translation from one to another is generally a very straightforward exercise for a professional German English translator. There are, of course, differences in vocabulary and sentence structure as well as some cultural peculiarities of each language, but these are all part and parcel of standard translation practice for any German translation service. One of the more important considerations for German to English translation is the existence of typesetting differences which must be taken into account, especially when translating website pages, as will be explained below.

Typesetting is an important aspect of any language translation, partly because of spacing differences between the translations and partly because of special characters which are specific to certain languages. Naturally, some translations are much more difficult than others to get right. Examples are translations between a language which uses Latin style characters such as English and German and those that use their own alphabet, such as Russian or Greek. There are even more differences in typesetting when the translation is between a language that reads from left to right, like English and those that read from right to left like Arabic and Farsi, or use special characters like Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

In comparison with these types of translations, the typesetting considerations that must be taken into account when translating from German to English or vice versa are minor.

One of the main differences between the two languages is the amount of space that a translation takes up. The German translation of a segment of text in English will, on average, take up around 20% more space. When there is a document such as a legal document or manual to be translated this is not an issue, but when a segment of text has to fit into a space on a website which is marketing a product or service in different languages it must be carefully monitored as the space differences may disrupt images and any other non text material on a web page that has been translated.

Most German letters are identical to English ones, so there is no problem with these letters in translation. However there are four letters which are not only pronounced differently in German compared to English, there is no English equivalent. A typesetting programme can usually be adjusted to take into account the special German characters that use an “umlaut” such as ö,ü and ä and the double “s” letter ß.

In conclusion, one can freely say that any good German English translator should have less problems with German to English translation than the translation of other languages, but there are minor typesetting considerations which must be taken into account when translating certain text extracts, especially where their space or position is important, such as in a magazine, advert or on a website.