Desktop Publishing (DTP)

Foreign language typesetting - Desktop publishing - DTP


”A dog is man’s best friend.”

However, a pictorial representation of a dog does not stand for reliability and loyalty in every country.

Your document has a perfect layout.

The look and effect of a magazine, manual or catalog, an advertisement, brochure or operating instructions, must agree with your ideas and requirements. When translated, this document is still supposed to fulfill the desired function in the new language and its distinct culture.

Changing the volume of text

If a continuous text in German is translated into English, the English text is about twenty percent shorter. By contrast, the amount of text increases by about 25 percent when translated from German to French. When a text in French or another Romance language is translated into English, the quantity of text shrinks by about 50 percent. And these ratios are even higher for more compact source texts, so that in some cases the difference in length between the words of the source and target language can be even greater when user interfaces are localized. For example, the common English expression “FAQ” comes out as “Preguntas frecuentes” in Spanish.

Changing the written culture

Moreover, different languages entail a different written culture with different characters and special characters, different ways to divide up words, syllables, sentences and paragraphs. Some languages are even read in a different direction from Latin script: Chinese, Japanese and Korean, for instance, are read primarily from top to bottom, while Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew usually from right to left.

Foreign language typesetting – fitting everything into the given layout

These examples of how translation can change the relationship of text and graphics show that restoring them to reasonable proportions is also a part of translation in many cases. 

With the aid of foreign language typesetting, Mahrt Fachübersetzungen makes the target text resemble as closely as possible the form and content of the source text despite different country-specific writing conventions. Foreign language typesetting is the starting point of the desktop publishing process by which our experts fit the translated text into the given layout.

Adapting the layouts

If translating changes the volume of text too drastically, or if the direction of the target language differs, merely fitting the translation into the existing layout is no longer sufficient. This is especially true when the cultural environment of the target language bears little resemblance to that of the source: colors, shapes and images often have different connotations in different cultures.

Then the layout has to be adapted. Here too our professionals are firmly anchored in the respective cultures and thus able to suggest what needs to be modified. We will consult with you about changes to the layout that will make it agree with the text and your intentions.

The final version, ready to print

In every case, we will supply you in the end with a version of your document that is ready to print in the desired language, thus saving you further editing work. Thanks to DTP, we can easily deliver it to you at any time if you would like to continue the layout yourself.


Translating means understanding.


Tel. +49 (0) 40 401 95 620
Fax +49 (0) 40 401 95 621