Text expansion

And the word is… longer!?

Word lengths: how translation impacts text expansion

Word length refers to the number of letters in a single word. Applying this to language, we commonly talk about the average word length across that language (in linguistics: the most common set of corpora or text corpus sets). So how does word length impact text expansion?

Words in different languages contain different word lengths – commonly referred to as “word expansion.” This aspect becomes important when translating into another language, because post translated content impacts the destination layout, how content displays, content accuracy and so on.

As example, consider a PowerPoint slide with a text box. The English text translates into French. The translated content may not fit due to text expansion. If not handled properly, the final product and layout may appear ugly or unprofessional. You may even end up with truncated or cut-off text depending on the layout (design).

How expanding text works

In summary, for reasons of accuracy and consistency, word length is important in the translations industry.

The data below shows text expansion from English into some common languages. This was calculated based on “big data” analysis performed by Ravi Parikh. As Ravi cautions, the numbers are derived are not based on language corpuses, but rather from word lists for the language.

Expanding texts

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Foreign Translations serves companies around the globe. Since 1998, we’ve offered language solutions in document website translationdesignITmultimedia & voice, and telephonic interpreting.  

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