Multi-language books
February 13, 2015 5:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm putting together a book that contains text in all the United Nations languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. I've had each text proofread individually, but now I'm sitting wondering. How can I make sure I haven't missed something blindingly obvious in the formatting or layout of the entire book?

I can't afford to ask someone to proofread the whole volume, but I don't know the name for (or how to find) what I do need: someone with a sense for all of those languages, who can critique how the whole book looks. Where do I begin to look for such a person?
posted by ntk to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Rather than look for one person who knows all the languages, you might want to look for several people, each of whom knows two or three of the languages. This could help you inconsistencies or other problems with the text or format.
posted by alms at 5:42 PM on February 13, 2015

I've been doing what you are planning on doing, professionally, for fifteen years - but in twenty to thirty refugee languages, instead of seven UN languages. Oddly enough, all of your languages are ones that show up in my inbox quite often.

Some kinds of error are impossible to find without being literate in the language, but if your pre-layout QA is good, then you can skimp on post-layout review. But if you don't have a reader (not a format-proofer but someone who can actually read the language) lined up to review your work after layout, then you are taking a large risk. I might take that risk - but I had close to a decade of top-notch translators pointing out errors I made in layout.

How important is good typography for your project? Do you need it to look good, or only to be legible?

Feel free to memail me if you want to chat further but don't want to post easily-identifiable details.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 8:25 PM on February 13, 2015

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