Unbabel translates different types of content. You’ll be used to this in your daily tasks, whether it’s finding the best way to translate a complex customer service exchange, or perfecting some copy for a website.
As we work hard on our mission to become the world’s translation layer, and to provide as many editors with good tasks as we possibly can, we’ll begin to embrace different types of tasks. One of these new types of tasks relate to texts that have limits on the number of characters an editor can use. These could be, for example, subject lines for newsletters that must be a specific length, or website features such as buttons, which can only be a certain size and therefore must be character-limited.
When working on the Unbabel interface, it’s easy to spot these restrictions. On a task that has character limits, the bit you’re working on will turn red when you go over the maximum number of characters for that segment. Take a look at the images below to see what this will look like:
Unless you find a way to translate the text within the limit, you will not be able to submit the task.
These limits are enforced in groups of segments, represented by the vertical bar on the left in the images above. To comply with the limits, you may have to edit all segments of the group, or just one. When your target text is over the limit(s), the segment border will be highlighted in red.
This can be a daunting task when you consider it as part of your normal workload, but the trick is to consider it as a different type of task. Your mission is still to submit a great translation, but with these tasks there is a different dimension to consider. Here are some tips to help you comply with these character limits:
- First, you should be aware that a whitespace counts as a character. Be really careful not to include double whitespaces as this will waste a precious character!
- You can paraphrase if needed. Dropping certain words, like determiners (where appropriate and/or possible in the target language) or adjectives, is a legitimate strategy as long as the intended meaning doesn’t suffer as a result of content being omitted.
- Some languages require more space than English, so the difficulties/challenges associated with character restrictions will be higher for some languages than others. Sentences in Spanish, for example, are typically 20% longer than in English, and Portuguese, French and German are similar. Some other languages, like Russian or Hebrew are typically more compact than English.
- Although it can be tempting to do so, you shouldn’t use abbreviations unless specifically told to do so in the client instructions. Please defer to the Language Guidelines and follow guidance there.