Language is the way we speak and write to express ourselves. There are many different languages around the world and there are distinct differences between them and similarities.
To help you understand the different languages we have put together 11 language frequent asked questions. These include a few tips to help you with understanding and identifying them.
Arabic, Chinese, French, German & Greek
Arabic reading is read from right to left when on paper. Arabic is recognised as a single language however there are differences in the writing when working in different areas of the Arab speaking countries. There are slight differences based on the area you are in. This needs to be taken into consideration when preparing documents in Arabic to make sure you are sending the correct information and message. When creating the layout, you need to make sure it is set for reverse reading and will read from right to left.
The Chinese languages are now the most popular languages in the world and have recorded the most growth. There are two types of Chinese language – Simplified and Traditional. These both have a lot of similarities and a few differences. Simplified Chinese is used in China, Singapore and South East Asian countries, whilst the traditional Chinese language is used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia and the English-speaking countries. Not only are there differences in the writing but also the verbal dialect. You can speak in Cantonese, Mandarin or Taiwanese and they are all dialects of the Chinese Language.
When writing a document in Chinese you need to be confident that you are writing it in the correct dialect for the area you are sending it to. Marketing information and business documents are needed when dealing with China and it needs to be clear and understanding.
Some vertical typesetting reading right to left still occurs, but horizontal layout reading left to right is standard these days.
French is a very popular commercial language that is used throughout France, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland and New Caledonia. French is also the official language for many worldwide organisations.
It is important to know if the translation is for France or Canada, as there is slight differences in translation.
German is a technical language that is used across multiple countries. The words in German tend to be very long and can be difficult. When writing a document in German allow for extra space as it can be up to 20% longer than the English original document.
Greek is another language where the document can become a lot longer than the English counterpart. It is important to ensure your design has enough room to accommodate this.
Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai & Vietnamese
Italian is becoming a more popular written language and is becoming popular through the EU. The language today has been simplified and is less formal.
This is one of the most significate languages for both business and tourism. When writing in Japanese make sure the text is not too small and you pay attention to line spacing. If not it can all pull together and change the meaning of the words.
This language is predominantly used in Brazil and Portugal. The language has differences between the two countries which may not seem clear to you, however they can tell the difference. When creating your document ensure you use the correct words for the area you are sending it to.
Spanish is one of the longest standing languages and one that adapted to the early settlers in America. There are now many differences between Spanish that is spoken in Spain and Latin America. Ensure you know your target market and who you are sending it to before writing your document.
When writing in Thai ensure that big enough line breaks are used, and that punctuation is correct. Adding in a hyphen when not needed can change the whole way a sentence is read.
This is a very popular language across Australia and the USA. When translating from English to Vietnamese ensure you have enough room in your document as the translated document can be a lot larger than when in English.
When writing your documents ensure you have done your research. Know your target market and the dialect they use, take your time and understand what you are sending before you send it.