Written by: Bryan Lattke | Co-authored by DTP expert: Gary Lattke
Languages come in myriad alphabets and written directions depending on their script. From a Russian alphabet based on the Cyrillic script to the variations of Latin characters in Spanish, French, Italian, English and Portuguese — to name just a few — , from Hebrew that is written right to left (RTL) to ideographic languages like Japanese that can be written either left to right (LTR) or vertically (top to bottom, TTB), or even, in the case of Chinese, in which you could find the newspaper publishing in multiple directions on the same page: LTR, RTL and TTB. Certain languages, such as Azerbaijani, can be found written in Latin, Cyrillic or Arabic scripts, depending on their historical background, and as such, subject to script, it would be written LTR or RTL. Language is infinitely fascinating.
These linguistic nuances make multilingual DTP (Desktop Publishing) a complex task. For the translation industry, DTP is the service of typesetting content in a new language on a document with a specific layout to allow a consistent design that is similar to the original document, employing top-notch graphic design skills, taking into consideration numerous linguistic and cultural gradients / filters. In layman’s terms, not only does the written content change languages, but the visual content also needs to be adapted.