Rule 4

Think about other elements that have an effect on the final product

The three rules which have been discussed so far have focused on items related to comprehension of the text in the original language (English, for example, in the case of a translation from English into Japanese), comprehension of content and expressiveness (Japanese expression, for example, in the case of a translation from English into Japanese) as ways to enhance translation quality. However, there are other elements that can often have an effect on the level of satisfaction felt by a client. Let us take a look.

Layout adjustment

In just about every case, a translation is something that is meant to be presented to and read by other people. That is why there is no meaning to creating a PowerPoint presentation, for example, in which the text is so small that it is illegible when printed. The choice of the wrong font for the text of a translated pamphlet can also have an adverse effect on its beautiful design. This is where a post-translation layout process known as desktop publishing (DTP) becomes important.

You cannot expect to keep the same layout without adjustments when English is translated into Japanese. Headlines and catch phrases tend to be shorter in Japanese, while the body text tends to be longer. This is why adjustments must be made in the layout after the translation process.

If there are tables of contents or footnotes in the original text, they too, need to be recreated in the translation. (A good example is the adjustment of the order of entries in an index at the end of a document, such as from Roman alphabetical order to that of the Japanese alphabet). The setting of appropriate character codes is another example. This is necessary in the case of websites. Translations cannot be displayed correctly without adjustments that are made with knowledge of HTML coding.

Translation companies usually provide such layout adjustments for a fee, such as in DTP services. Of course, such fees are not required if the translator can simply write the translation over the original in an MSWord file.

If DTP work is not included in your estimate, there is a chance that the estimate assumes you will be adjusting the layout yourself. You will need to check with the translation company to see how much of the layout adjustment work they will be handling.


A mastery of editing tools is necessary to translate "online help." And, when translating a user interface, it is often necessary to make adjustments to enable the entire message to be entered and displayed in a dialog box.

Before placing a translation order for projects that require such engineering, be sure to confirm with the translation company whether they possess such skills and the necessary tools. There is a high risk in entrusting such work to a translation company with no previous experience in handling such tasks.


Some clients use a document translated by a translation company as it is without reviewing it themselves. However, when the material is one that will be distributed to those outside of the company, a review of some kind is carried out in most cases, with corrections or modifications being made as necessary. When performing such work, comments presented by a translation company regarding a translation become extremely useful as an indicator of what to keep an eye out for. Appropriate comments will lessen the load on a client when they make their reviews. Here are some examples.

  • "We used the same term here as the one found on your website."
  • "We believe there is an error in the original text here."

You can also request in advance the type of item that you would like the translation company to comment on.

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