This article was originally written in English. Text in other languages is provided via machine translation.
Digital publishing is a global business
Digital publishing is catching on worldwide, as international catalog, magazine and book publishers are increasingly producing digital versions of their publications, in an growing number of languages.
Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) offers digital publishers with the ability to create multilingual content for the enjoyment of their international readers. This article provides some basic information about the creation of multilingual publications with DPS.
Content localization: region-specific vs language-specific
Region-specific publications carry the main brand (of the magazine, retailer, etc), but are customized to an individual region or country. In the case of magazines, articles are written by local authors, often covering topics and people of local significance.
Language-specific publications translated versions of a single source of content. The articles and authors are the same, the only thing that changes is the language of the content.
Presenting the translated content
With language-specific publications, there are a few different ways to present the translated content, which can impact layout decisions.
The most common type of presentation is single-language, where each language version of the publication is downloadable as a separate application.
Multilingual applications can contain two or more sets of translations of the original content. The translations can be presented through toggling or side-by-side.
With the toggling approach, readers can navigate between content written in different languages by pressing a ‘language switch’.
The article toggling effect provides a smooth user experience, but it does require additional work (i.e. scripting) behind the scenes to make it happen.
The side-by-side approach puts the translations next to each other, typically with different font types, sizes and colors.
Authoring content in different languages
At the core of the DPS workflow is Adobe InDesign, which allows text authoring in many languages. The latest version of the product (CS6) is available in 3 flavors providing distinct levels of language support:
- InDesign CS 6.0 - Provides core typographical support for a wide range of languages, including those written in certain non-western scripts. It’s localized into English and 16 other European languages.
- InDesign CS 6.0 ‘CCJK’ - In addition to the core set of typographical features, provides typographical, layout grid and frame grid features for editing East Asian text. It’s localized into Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Japanese and Korean.
- InDesign CS 6.0 ‘ME’ - In addition to the core set of typographical features, this version provides full support for bi-directional languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi, and Urdu. Find out more about the Middle Eastern features here. The ME version is available in English and French user interfaces.
The linguistic capabilities of InDesign are well documented in the product’s help pages, and in articles written by various InDesign experts. Below are some language-specific topics that can assist in the creation of multilingual content in InDesign:
- Assigning language to text
- Hyphenation and spelling
- Choosing the right fonts for multilingual documents (by Nicolás Carcáno, gpi)
- Specifying quotation marks per language
- Changing the sort order of indexes
Creating localizable content
In multilingual digital publishing, a critical aspect of content authoring - regardless of the language it’s originally written in – is to ensure that it’s localizable, i.e, that it can be easily adapted into (an)other language(s). Below are a few guidelines for creating localizable content in InDesign:
- Allow for text expansion - Word length varies considerably from one language to another. For example, German and Finnish sentences are on average longer than English. Also, Asian fonts require more vertical space than Latin fonts in order to render certain complex symbols clearly. Thus, it’s important to keep some buffer space around text so that translations can fit it nicely.
- Apply styles – It’s critical that all text formatting is based on styles, as it ensures consistent formatting across all languages, and it allows for easily changing fonts for languages whose characters are not supported by the font of the source document.
- Link images - Linked images are much easier to manage during translation
- Connect text frames – This will ensure text will continue to flow nicely after it’s translated.
More guidelines on content localizability with InDesign will be provided in a future post.
Localizing the content
Localization of InDesign files is typically performed by professional translation agencies, who handle exported IDML (InDesign Markup Language) files in commercial translation management systems (TMS). Ben Cornelius’ article provides a good overview of this process.
Also, some vendors are starting to offer new and innovative ways to localize InDesign content, such as 1i0′s one2edit WYSIWYG tool.
But regardless of the way the content is localized, it’s very important that the work comprehensive: everything, including not only the article text, but also titles, captions, headers, footers, footnotes, and art, should be translated or adapted.
For maximum coverage, even media features, such as audio or video clips, should be subtitled and translated, or dubbed.
Below are some examples of locale-sensitive conventions – dates and times – that need to be adapted for each region.
Publishing the content: DPS multilingual options
The bulk of the process for publishing localized or multilingual content with DPS is not any different than English or single-language content, which is described here.
But, there are a few multilingual options available.
For publications written in bi-directional languages such as Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Hebrew, readers expect to be able to swipe pages by moving their finger from left to right (ie in the opposite direction than in an English publication), thus right edge binding is necessary.
To do activate this feature, in the Digital Publishing Suite, select Right Edge Binding in the Folio Producer page.
You can also set this in In InDesign, by selecting the Right Edge Binding checkbox in the Folio Properties dialog.
3eesho is a fine example of a bi-directional publication created with DPS.
Localized versions and availability
The Digital Publishing Suite user interface is currently localized into English (UK, US), French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese.
DPS Single Edition is available in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Availability is expected this year in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Examples of multilingual publications created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
Check out many examples of multilingual digital publications created with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite by visiting the Digital Publishing gallery.