;   Medical Translation Insight: Practical tips for publishing Greek documentation - ForeignExchange Translations

Practical tips for publishing Greek documentationOf the European languages, Greek poses a number of unique challenges during translation and desktop publishing. While many device and drug companies face challenges specific to Greek, there are straight-forward solutions to overcoming them.

All-caps styles
Challenge:
Operating manuals frequently make use of an all-caps style for titles within the body of the text. The table of contents (TOC) might be setup to combine an initial cap followed by lowercase letters. In other words, the title "OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS" would be listed in the TOC as "Operating Instructions."

This technique works well in many languages. In Greek, however, there are certain letters (accented vowels, e.g., Ü Ý Þ ß ü ý þ and the final sigma "ò") that do not automatically map to the appropriate capital letter. For instance, the final sigma maps to a bullet point when the "all caps" style is applied.

The result is that to make the all caps titles appear correctly, editors must manipulate the TOC manually, i.e., replace the bullet with a capital sigma. In the case of larger manuals, where the TOC can run for a dozen pages or more, a full day of work would be required to perform the revision.

Suggested Solution:
The all caps style should not be used in IFUs or manuals that will be localized into Greek. Instead, develop Greek-specific templates and styles that provide for appropriate capitalization of titles.

Text expansion
Challenge:
When translated from English, Greek text typically expands by 30 percent and, depending on the translator, often more than that. As text length increases, so does the need for more desktop publishing time:
* Greek hyphenation dictionaries do not exist, requiring the manual hyphenation of formatted text.
* If the source templates were designed without text expansion in mind, quite a bit of work may be needed to prepare the master pages for Greek text.
* Given the larger number of pages, a Greek document will require more time for fixing reflowing text and for proofreading formatted pages.

Suggested Solution:
Carefully review your source-language templates to ensure that the longer Greek document will reflow with a minimum of manual rework.

Fine-tuning index entries
Challenge:
The "code pages" used by Greek operating systems are different from those used by Roman languages. This means that many applications or parts of applications cannot "read" Greek text and display it as gobbledygook.

An example of this limitation is the Marker editing tool in English FrameMaker, which cannot display Greek text, even though the Greek manual itself displays just fine. As a result, not even the simplest of index errors can be repaired by a desktop publishing specialist working on an English operating system.

Suggested Solution:
To ensure the accuracy of the index, the production process needs to account for the time needed by Greek linguists to review and fine-tune index entries and the compiled index on Greek operating systems.

Alpha-sorted elements
Challenge:
Another challenge that is related to code-page conflicts concerns alpha-sorted elements, e.g., footnotes with alpha designations, alpha-sorted lists, and the index. An English operating system provides A-Z alpha sorts, not Alpha-Omega sorts as required in Greek.

The result is that any automatically generated alpha sorts in the body need to be manually overridden in Greek documents, an additional and potentially time-consuming task. In the index, reference pages must be revised to ensure that the index sorts as necessary.

Suggested Solution:
Where possible, replace alpha-sorted lists and footnotes with numbered lists and footnotes; this will minimize the cost of manual rework and, in doing so, improve the overall quality of the documentation.

Greek is good
The production of Greek documentation presents a handful of unique challenges. However, with careful planning and the development of Greek-specific process steps, it is possible to hold down Greek publication costs and produce high-quality deliverables.

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