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Challenges in Desktop Publishing for Vietnamese Translation Services
Localization Insights

4 Common Challenges in Desktop Publishing for Vietnamese Translation Services

Posted by Anne Q. on November 24, 2021.

If you have a website or high visual documents such as brochures, leaflets, or presentations that need translating into the Vietnamese language, working with translators only might not be enough. You may need an extra service called desktop publishing to improve the layout of the Vietnamese translated versions.

While Vietnamese translators help convert content into the Vietnamese language, desktop publishers adapt and adjust fonts, texts, and graphics to make sure that the translated documents are eye-catching and similar to their originals.

Desktop publishers have to deal with numerous challenges when it comes to Vietnamese desktop publishing due to numerous distinct features of the Vietnamese language. In today’s post, let’s talk about 4 common desktop publishing challenges for Vietnamese translation projects and get some helpful tips to overcome them.

What is Desktop Publishing?

Desktop Publishing (or DTP) is the process of creating page layouts on a computer using specialized software. At first, desktop publishing was used for print publications only. Newspapers, magazines, brochures, leaflets, and menus are examples of common desktop publishing products.

What is Desktop Publishing

However, as the Internet has grown in popularity, so has the use of DTP. It aids in the transmission of various types of online content such as white papers, newsletters, web content, web pages, and so on.


4 Desktop Publishing Challenges for Vietnamese Translation Projects

Without a doubt, experienced Vietnamese translators are essential for achieving high-quality Vietnamese translation projects. Unfortunately, to produce a high-quality result, it is sometimes necessary to go beyond linguistic matters. Many things can go wrong during the Desktop Publishing process, which can have a negative impact on the layout of your final Vietnamese translations.

Font conflicts, word expansion, and inappropriate graphics are some common DTP challenges that you have to deal with when translating content into Vietnamese. Let’s discuss these challenges and find the best solutions for each.

#1. Fonts

Font conflicts can be a source of frustration for any desktop publisher, regardless of their level of experience. Your font may work flawlessly in the source language but font problems arise when you translate your content into Vietnamese. This is because Vietnamese is a tonal language with five diacritics used to designate tone (à, á, ả, ã, and ạ) and has seven letters in the alphabet that use four diacritics ă/â/ê/ô, ơ/ư, đ. These letters are not supported by all fonts.

Vietnamese fonts


To address the first issue, desktop publishers typically give clients a list of Vietnamese fonts that are either similar to the fonts used in the source content or appropriate for the content. Your company can select one from the list, or you can suggest a font and provide it to the desktop publishers.

Here are some popular Vietnamese fonts for your consideration: Time New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Cambria, Source Sans, and Adapter.


#2. Text Expansion

When it comes to translating languages, one-to-one correspondence does not exist. The length of translated words can vary significantly when compared to the original text, resulting in either a lack or abundance of white space. In the case of Vietnamese translation projects, translated Vietnamese texts are likely to be longer than the source texts. This is due to the differences in grammar, sentence structure, word usage, and word length between the source language and Vietnamese.

For example, Vietnamese translations are 30-37% longer than their English source versions.

English to Vietnamese text expansion


Ideally, when preparing for your Vietnamese translation projects, you should consider the possibility of word expansion and leave extra blank space for the text to grow.

While asking your Vietnamese translators to use shorter words, sentences, and expressions to minimize the text expansion is a good option to consider, it may have an impact on the meanings and flows of the content. Thus, you should use Desktop Publishing (DTP) services instead. To ensure that the Vietnamese translated texts fit the document layouts or website design, desktop publishers will change the size of the words or fonts accordingly.


#3. The Nature of Languages

In some cases, the difference in the nature of the source and target languages affect the whole layout of your documents. Text in the Vietnamese language is written horizontal and read from left to right. If the source language is, say, Arabic which is written from the right to left direction, a significant change in the layout of the Vietnamese version is a must.


When working on Vietnamese language pairs that need such dramatic change, desktop publishers need more time to adjust and perfect the new layout. Thus, you should be aware of this challenge and give your desktop publishers enough time to produce the perfect-looking Vietnamese translated version.


#4. Graphics & Background

Text is not the only element you need to pay attention to when translating your content into the Vietnamese language. Images and other visual elements should also be localized to fit the culture and aesthetics of the Vietnamese audience.

Some images are considered interesting in a market but might be culturally inappropriate in the Vietnamese market. For instance, in Vietnam, the red colour is favoured as it is believed to bring good luck while black is sometimes related to bad luck or death. Needless to say, a change in the graphics and background for your translated Vietnamese documents is of necessity.

Another challenge appears when some images are not properly displayed in DTP software or the image resolutions do not match the new layout.


If your Vietnamese translation documents contain heavy graphics, you need to give your desktop publishers more time to find graphic replacements or adjust the image resolutions.


Wrap Up

The list of challenges you encounter when doing desktop publishing for Vietnamese translation projects still goes on, varying from project to project. By acknowledging these challenges, your company can make a good localization plan that gives desktop publishers enough resources and time to work most effectively.

If you are looking for a good Vietnamese translation agency that provides high-quality Vietnamese desktop publishing services, look no further than GTE Localize. With years of experience in the language industry and the Vietnamese market, GTE Localize has a team of native Vietnamese desktop publishers who have high proficiency in a wide range of desktop publishing software such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe FrameMaker, Microsoft PowerPoint, etc. to meet all your demands.

Vietnamese translation services - Desktop Publishing Services

Tell us more about your Vietnamese desktop publishing projects and get your projects started today.