Simplified Chinese artwork needs to be set using the correct Chinese fonts. In some respects Chinese is an artwork’s dream. Each character is a word, making it shorter than an English text. With most translations, you will be fighting for space with your print layout when adding a translation from English. But not so with Chinese. Wikipedia has an interesting article about Simplified Chinese characters.

Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese?

Customers aren’t always sure which version of Chinese they need. The answer is largely geographic, depending on your target audience. Simplified Chinese is the official character set of the Peoples Republic of China. Traditional Chinese is used mainly in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The difference between the two character sets is that Simplified Chinese uses a simplified set of characters. There are less different characters, around 4500 commonly used ones compared with 6500 in Traditional Chinese. The characters also use less pen strokes, making them simpler and quicker to write.

Chinese fonts

We have provided InDesign artwork in Simplified Chinese for the first time today. We regularly typeset Arabic, but most design programs can handle Simplified Chinese. In this instance the problem was that the customer didn’t have the required fonts. Whilst easy to obtain, Chinese can be expensive to buy. This is because of the large number of different characters. Its therefore more cost effective for us to provide the service. That’s if you don’t intend doing Chinese artwork regularly.

Preparing Simplified Chinese artwork

If you would like us to typeset your Chinese, we need a live version of the English file. This should include any graphics or other diagrams. When we work on the file, we will then remove the English text section by section, and replace it with the Chinese. When we prepare translations, we normally  provide either a bilingual file, or the Chinese text clearly labelled. This ensures that our artworker knows what goes where.

Do you need us to quote on Chinese translation and artwork?

We will need the following:

  1. Your contact details, including business name, trading address, and a contact phone number. We will only use these for preparing the quote, and then for working with you should you decide to proceed.
  2. The original English text, this should be fully editable.
  3. The original artwork, again fully editable.

We will normally give a quote within 1 working day, unless a job is particularly complex, or we need to clarify anything with you.

Should you then accept the quote we will also need any specific requirements such as:

  1. Do you have an existing glossary of terms you want us to use in Chinese?
  2. Any style guide, brand guidelines, or layout requirements

We will normally first supply a low res print proof for your approval. Once you are happy with the layout, we can then send either a high res Indesign or Illustrator file, or a high res PDF. If you need super high res talk to us about your requirements. The only issue here is about file size when we deliver the files. We may need to use a file transfer service, or FTP.

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