The Editorial Apartment


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How much longer is Spanish than English?

It could be up to 30 percent longer. If you had visions of creating your marketing piece in other languages besides English, remember, the length of the translated copy might be longer (or shorter) than the English. This will affect the design of the document, and to preserve the design, you might have to edit the translation, as well as the English.

foreignlanguagelength

Here are a few estimations of language length (which depends on the nature of the text and the topic) when translating from English:*

Spanish: 25% to 30% longer
French: 15% to 25% longer
Russian: about 30% shorter
Asian languages: as much as 40% shorter

So if you want to create a promotional button, for example, in a number of languages, keep in mind how much space you have on that button to do so successfully.

Note: Language length is just one factor to consider when producing multilingual materials. This article from the Corporate Design Foundation gives excellent advice on what else to keep in mind.

*Source: The blog post, “On the relative length of languages,” by Bruno Giussani, European director of the TED Conferences.

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What’s a real language?

Watch this quick lesson from TED-Ed.


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Welcome to January, januari, gennaio, січень…

Foreign language lovers, here’s a simple interactive map of the languages of Europe from The Guardian. It uses Google Translate, so it may not always be accurate. Nonetheless, you can enter a word in English and see how they say it throughout Europe.