Unnatural line breaks in Japanese
Thread poster: noelleplat

noelleplat  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to French
Apr 6, 2015

Have you ever been faced with the problem of unnatural line breaks in Japanese when localizing a website and having to have to force breaks?
Is there any systematic way to solve this problem in Japanese? Any advice/tip would be appreciated.
Thank you!


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Aaron Schwarz
Japan
Local time: 19:31
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Examples? Apr 7, 2015

I can't really visualize what you mean.

Can you give a specific example?

Also, if you are an English to French Translator, why are you localizing Japanese websites?


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noelleplat  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Unnatural line breaks in Japanese Apr 7, 2015

Hello,

To answer your question: I lead localization efforts in a company in SF.
I do not translate into JA myself but on our website in JA, line breaks happen in a completely random way.

For instance, take the following sentence:
お気に入りのウィキア

The UI did not allow enough space for the sentence to be displayed in one line on our desktop app, and we ended up with the line break as follows:
お気に入りのウ
ィキア

instead of
お気に入りの
ウィキア

Just wondering if yourself or someone else here had experience with those types of issues.

Thank you!


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Aaron Schwarz
Japan
Local time: 19:31
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
I see. Apr 7, 2015

Ah, I see.

Breaking a word in two at a line break is neither unnatural nor unusual. In Japanese, there are no rules against it.

However, while it is not syntactically incorrect, there is a short list of characters that it is considered bad form to start or end a line with. It's a very small list for both, though.

In the example you gave, breaking the word just before the small version of イ is considered bad form, so your example should be changed to include the some other character before the small イ on the next line, as you have done.

For the most part, though, breaking a word in two at a line break is perfectly natural Japanese.

Here's a brief explanation in English.
http://www.w3.org/TR/2009/NOTE-jlreq-20090604/#en-subheading2_1_7

3.1.7 Characters Not Starting a Line

In principle, no line should begin with closing brackets (cl-02), hyphens (cl-03), dividing punctuation marks (cl-04), middle dots (cl-05), full stops (cl-06), commas (cl-07), iteration marks (cl-09), a prolonged sound mark (cl-10), small kana (cl-11) or warichu closing brackets (cl-29) (line-start prohibition rule). Otherwise the line would have an odd appearance.
(note 1)
Not a small number of books adopt a less strict set of rules which allow IDEOGRAPHIC ITERATION MARK "々" (one of the iteration marks (cl-09)), prolonged sound mark (cl-10) and small kana (cl-11) to start a line. There is another method whereby IDEOGRAPHIC ITERATION MARK "々" is replaced by a kanji character when it would otherwise be set at the head of a line. For example, 家 (at the end of a line) + 々 (at the head of the next line) will be changed to 家 (at the end of a line) + 家 (at the head of the next line).
(note 2)
There is yet another less strict rule that allows KATAKANA MIDDLE DOT "・" to start a line.
(note 3)
In the layout of newspaper text, dividing punctuation marks (cl-04) (QUESTION MARK "?" and EXCLAMATION MARK "!") are allowed to start a line. This is due to the fact that the line lengths are shorter in newspapers. When the line is very short, there are fewer opportunities for inter-character space adjustment, which makes it difficult to preserve the number of characters per line. It is thought that this is the reason why the less strict set of line head wrapping rules was adopted in newspaper text layout.
(note 4)
The details of the line-start prohibition rules and line-end prohibition rules are described in Appendix B Spacing between Characters as a complete table, following the description of character classes in 3.9 About Character Classes.
3.1.8 Characters Not Ending a Line

No line should end with opening brackets (cl-01) or warichu opening brackets (cl-28) (line-end prohibition rules). Otherwise the line would have an odd appearance.
(note 1)
The process of formatting lines to avoid non-starter characters at the line head, non-ending characters at the line end, spaces before and/or after inseparable characters, line breaking before and/or after unbreakable characters, etc., is generally called kinsokushori.



[Edited at 2015-04-07 18:37 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-04-07 18:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-04-07 19:02 GMT]


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noelleplat  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:31
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Apr 7, 2015

Thank you for your feedback/comments and also for sharing the page with the characters which should not start or end a line! Much appreciated.

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YH Kim  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 21:31
English to Korean
+ ...
Add a space? Apr 8, 2015

Sorry this might sound simple, but couldn't you just put a space in the example you gave?

Like, if the line break is displayed as below:
お気に入りのウ
ィキア

add a space after の in the sentence:
お気に入りの ウィキア

so it displays

お気に入りの' '


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