Best Practices

Translating Into APAC Languages

This article is for Translators, Editors, or Reviewers.

Here is a full list of Asia Pacific (APAC) languages that are supported by Smartling, as well as some tips when translating into these languages. 

Azeri Hakka Mandarin
Bahasa  Hiligaynon  Marshallese 
Burmese  Hmong Mongolian
Cambodian  Ilokano Putien
Cantonese  Indonesia Samoan
Cebuano  Indonesian Shanghainese
Chaochow  Japanese Tagalog
Chin Javanese Taiwanese
Chinese-Simplified Kachin Tamil
Chinese-Traditional (Hong Kong) Karen  Tetun/Tetum 
Chinese-Traditional (Taiwan) Karreni/Kayah  Thai 
Chuukese Khmer  Tibetan 
English-Australian Korean  Toishan/Toishanese
Falam Laotian/Lao  Tongan 
Filipino Li  Uyghur 
Fukienese Malay Vietnamese
Fuzhou Malayalam Wenzhou 


Tips:

  • Support the Character Set that is Needed
    By design, Smartling doesn't touch any font or style information from the documents it ingests. Therefore, you'd need to use a font that supports the character set needed (which varies by locale). This is important because if the English source font doesn't support the APAC characters from the translation, the result will be a series of blank squares (notedef glyphs).
  • Use Proper Encoding
    By default, Excel doesn't open CSV files with UTF-8 encoding. This can be remedied by using the Import function in Excel and selecting UTF-8 encoding, or by using another app such as Google Sheets. (If UTF-8 encoding is not used, any accented letters such as à, é, ï, or Asian characters, will not render properly.)
  • Adapt Tone and Style
    When localizing into an APAC language, keep in mind that there may be cultural nuances to consider. Tone and style used for content in the American market won't necessarily work for an Asian market and therefore will need to be adapted quite heavily. It's useful to create a copy of the content just for localization, with a simpler and more contained style, whilst still maintaining the same message.
  • Translate In-Context
    Line breaks work quite differently with Asian languages. Therefore, having visual context during translation, and doing an in-context review afterwards is essential to guaranteeing readability and quality.
  • Consider Transcreation
    Sometimes Asian markets actually need transcreation rather than translation. Transcreation allows you to have more freedom, and adapt the content for the designated market to convey the right message. (For transcreation, there's often no English source, and you may simply receive a briefing with which to work.)
  • Allow Extra Turnaround Time
    Keep in mind that time zone differences will slightly impact the delivery date. It's advisable to allow an extra day for Asian markets.
  • Productivity
    Asian markets usually have different productivity guidelines. For most languages, the productivity guideline is about 1500 words per 8 hours of work, while for Asian languages, this could be as low as 800 words. (This depends on the localization agency.)
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