CASE STUDY: Conquering the Challenges of Arabic Translation!

Idea TranslationsCase StudiesCASE STUDY: Conquering the Challenges of Arabic Translation!
CASE STUDY: Conquering the Challenges of Arabic Translation!


Client: SHELTER for Help in Emergency – Charlottesville
Service: Translation into Spanish and Arabic + DTP (Desktop Publishing)
Format: Welcome Guide
Subject Matter: Emergency Services and Programs
Volume: 40 Pages

The Shelter for Help in Emergency works to support and empower victims of domestic violence through
different services, with the goal of creating a supportive community for victims.

On this occasion, they contacted us to translate and design a Welcome Guide into Spanish and Arabic. The latter posed a great challenge for our design team because Arabic texts are written from right to left
(inversely to how we write in English), which means that all the content must be “mirrored”.

This required a previous stage, which entailed the preparation of the file by the DTP team prior to its
translation. It was one of the most important steps to establish text segmentation, page margins, words with special formats, etc. They dedicated most of their time and efforts to it, since if done poorly, it could jeopardize the entire project or demand many extra design hours later on.

Once the DTP team received the translated project, they dealt with the complicated task of “mirroring” all the design and content so that the recipients could read it correctly. At this stage, they also faced the huge task of reversing phone numbers.

Moreover, since Arabic is an unfamiliar language for our design team, it was crucial to establish context within the file. For this reason, whenever text was extracted to recreate an image or a drop-down list, the entire fragment was marked with a different color to identify where it belonged. Although this process required our DTP team to invest more time and effort, it ultimately ensured an optimal result.

Projects like Shelter’s put us to the test and motivate us to keep growing, as they require determination from the entire Idea Translations team. It is in these projects that the exhaustive work done by our DTP team can be appreciated and valued the most. These tasks entail not only design, but also many more capabilities and skills to ensure the most accuracy and fidelity to the original file as possible.

We are very pleased with the work accomplished and even more excited to receive similar projects that take us out of our comfort zone, defy us and contribute to our improvement.

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