Website translation - Which language needs the most characters for menu items
Thread poster: xxxsreischer
xxxsreischer
United States
Local time: 02:15
German to English
+ ...
Dec 6, 2011

I am charged with translating a website, but have only a limited number of characters (15) for menu items. I want to test how some of the languages show up in the menu translation.

Which languages needs the most characters? Chinese, Russian, German, French, etc.

[Edited at 2011-12-06 21:24 GMT]


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:15
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
It's obvious, I suppose... Dec 6, 2011

sgruggett wrote:

Which language is the most difficult

The one in which you can't express your idea clear enough...

Nikita Kobrin

[Edited at 2011-12-06 21:23 GMT]


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:15
Russian to English
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Depends on the range of languages you use Dec 6, 2011

If you take the whole set of European languages, Finnish will be one of the longest (for short menu items, though not necessarily for coherent text). Russian isn't very short, either.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 15:15
Chinese to English
Chinese can be short Dec 7, 2011

Most menu items on Chinese websites are 2-4 Chinese characters (though sometimes you lose clarity doing that, and you need a good translator - dictionary translations don't work. You can look at the Proz site in Chinese for an example of some poor Chinese menus - some items long, some sort, inappropriate dictionary translations. Lenovo's Chinese website is better - most items kept the same length, and reasonably comprehensible Chinese.

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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 09:15
French to English
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German Dec 7, 2011

I worked as a software consultant for a very large multi-national and, when designing the visual elements, we always started with German. In general, if the German layout fitted, all of the others would too.

Of course, you can always run into problems with any one specific element but this simple rule of thumb always worked pretty well for us.


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Robert Tucker
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:15
German to English
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Agglomerative Dec 7, 2011

When I first read this I immediately thought of Malay, but guess it might easily be one of the agglomerative languages (Finnish, Hungarian, Turkish) or, of course, one I know nothing or next to nothing about.

Anyway this link may be of interest:

http://www.w3.org/International/articles/article-text-size


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Aliseo Japan  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:15
Member
Italian to Japanese
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Japanese if katakana is used Dec 8, 2011

sgruggett wrote:
Which languages needs the most characters? Chinese, Russian, German, French, etc.

If Japanese is a requirement, given the Japanese' special love for foreign words and the space katakana characters take up (the sillabary used to transliterate such words), you will be surprised.


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xxxsreischer
United States
Local time: 02:15
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you everyone for your help - it is greatly appreciated Dec 8, 2011

Thank you for all of the responses - this helped a great deal.

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Website translation - Which language needs the most characters for menu items

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