AA Translations NY

AA Translations NY Accurate and Appropriate Translations – Made in NYC. We specialize in translations and typesetting (Desktop Publishing; DTP) in all languages.

We are experts in our industry for more than 20 years! At AATNY, we offer extensive experience with hundreds of languages. We have translated text and content on almost every imaginable topic and re-created multilingual document layouts — from entire books and magazines to brochures, fact sheets, flyers, catalogs, and more. Multilingual graphic design and reproduction of print and web content in any language is our specialty!

Operating as usual


Google Translate - Surprise!

What a difference in quality, depending on the direction of translation!

1. From English into Esperanto:

Google Translate is still lacking a lot of accuracy (Nov 01, 2015), even when translating from the vastly used English (where you would think that Google Translate has learnt to pick up semantical, morphological, and lexicographical nuances) into the relatively simply structured Esperanto. Here is a sample sentence from a recent news item:

Representative Paul D. Ryan, the new House speaker, said in a series of interviews televised on Sunday that he will not work with the Obama administration on immigration policy reform, effectively pushing off the issue to at least 2017.

The result:

Reprezenta Paul D. Ryan, la nova Domo parolanto, diris en serio de intervjuoj televisado dimanĉe ke li ne laboros kun la Obama administro sur enmigrado politiko reformo, efike puŝante for la aferon al almenaŭ 2017.

The problems:

Google Translate understands "Representative" as an adjective.

It fails to recognize compound nouns (House speaker; immigration policy reform).

It cannot understand the context when deciding how to translate prepositions ("on" immigration... is translated like in "on" the table).

It does not understand context, therefore it cannot correctly choose the necessary grammatical form of "administration". Here, in the Esperanto translation, it basically says "the one-time administering of something"; whereas it should be translated as an institution.

The Esperanto translation of "televised" is misspelled and given a wrong grammatical ending (suffx).

2. From Esperanto to English:

Now, when we translate from Esperanto to English (using the correct Esperanto version of this same sentence), we get a big surprise:

Reprezentanto Paul D. Ryan, la nova parolanto de la usona Domo de Reprezentantoj, diris en serio de intervjuoj en televidprogramoj dimanĉe, ke li ne laboros kun la Obama-administracio pri enmigradpolitika reformo, efike puŝante la aferon al almenaŭ 2017.

The result:

Representative Paul D. Ryan, the new speaker of the US House of Representatives, said in a series of interviews on television on Sunday that he will not work with the Obama administration about enmigradpolitika reform, effectively pushing the issue to at least 2017.

The only real problem in this sentence is that Google Translate does not understand the compound noun "enmigradpolitika" ("related to immigration policy"), which means it cannot yet really take compound nouns apart and understand its elements.

However, it is amazing, what a difference a clearly structured language like Esperanto can make!


Typesetting vs. Formatting

Many translation agencies keep asking DTP experts to "typeset" translated Word files. MS Word is not a typesetting software, it is a highly developped text formatting software, and if you use it to lay out and design complicated print products and then have translators turn them into Chinese, Arabic, Russian etc., you will not only get bad-quality products, but you create financial problems - for the DTP person, who will have to spend countless hours for which you don't want to pay, or for yourself, if you do pay.

If, in addition, your client insists that the number of pages of the document should stay the same as in the English source document, and they need the document in one of the many expanding languages (Russian, German, Spanish...), you will be surprised by the sheer ugliness of the resulting Word file. And it is not the fault of the typesetter. Word just can't do it.

Do yourself the favor and convince your client to use professional typesetting software. Even the outdated QuarkXPress is thousand times better than MS Word for typesetting, but nothing is better than the Adobe Suite, of course, with InDesign as the central layout software, and with Photoshop and Illustrator to help with the work on photos and graphics to be embedded in the InDesign document. Indesign can elegantly and almost invisibly adjust characters to fit a much longer translation into the same place as the shorter English source text.

If your client does not understand this and keeps delivering Word files for translation of complicated layouts, offer them to create an English InDesign document (with the same looks as the Word file) as the basis for a multilingual translation project. At the end, this might still be much cheaper for them than the cost of the time a typesetter will have to spend on working on the translated Word files!



Experience - Patience - Experience - Patience - and again: Experience!

If you are not a talented polyglot and computer guru at the same time, you cannot become an outstanding multilingual typesetter overnight. It takes knowledge of basic principles of foreign languages, and many trials and errors.

Rule #1: Be patient!

If you try to work in a rush, you are lost right from the beginning. You have to be extremely detail-oriented, look over the entire layout over and over again, compare it many times with the original in the source language, and adjust little things every time.

Rule #2: Have the right collaborators!

Whether you like it or not, you will need a native speaker of the language in which you are typesetting. (If you work for translation agencies, then they usually take care of the review of your layout by a native linguist.) But if you do it for somebody else, like a private individual or a foreign language publisher, have a native linguist at hand who can review your work. Don't think for a minute that it will all work out fine without a linguistic expert.

Rule #3: Prepare yourself by doing many complicated layouts in different languages!

Look at a magazine page, scan the images, and then create the layout of the page yourself from scratch. Then use Google Translate to translate the copy into various languages (for this type of excercise, it does not matter if the translation is correct or ridiculous) and recreate the layout in these languages. You will find out, into what difficulties you will run with each language, and how to address these difficulties: Some languages are much shorter than the English copy, others are much longer. And most of all, there are quite a few languages, for which you will need plug-ins for your Adobe InDesign, because when you paste the target text, the letters/words don't look anything like they should be looking. This is not only true for right-to-left languages (Arabic, Hebrew etc.), but for other complicated writing systems as well, where the separated character looks different from the same character when combined/connected inside a word with other characters.

Rule #4: Create your own vaste collection of Unicode fonts.

Don't try to create a layout using a font that's not Unicode. If a client sends you a proprietary font for a foreign language, you will have no choice, but you can tell them that this will be a problem for displaying the text on the Internet or in electronic Readers.

Most clients send you only the fonts of the source document (English, in our case). And they want you to create the document with a similar feeling, using similar fonts. The problem starts already when the Engish source font is designed only with the most basic English characters; you will have already problems displaying many simple characters with diacritics (e.g. in Polish, Czech, Hungarian etc.). If you have a collection of Unicode fonts, you can propose to your clients the ones you think work best. As for Asian languages and Arabic/Hebrew, Macs and PC's come nowadays come with some interesting fonts, and others can be found on the Internet or bought at online font outlets.

Rule #5: Accept the fact that the devil is in the details - and deal with this as you go!

The learning process is a lifetime challenge.

You think that you used the Korean font that looks best for the document you have to typeset, only to find out that the native reviewer tells you at the end that some Korean characters don't look correct in this font. (Some fonts are not correctly designed.)

You will find that the client has a translation in Simplified Chinese and sends you a Traditional Chinese font to use for typesetting. Even more often - many clients ask you to typeset a document in Mandarin or Cantonese - which makes no sense, since these are only the spoken versions of Chinese, not the writing systems.

You and your client will have completely different opinions, in which way the target text of a translation that is 35% longer than the English source text should be squeezed, to make the text fit on the page. There are so many options (font size, leading, kerning, horizontal scale), and the best is usually a combination of them all. If you can squeeze the text without the client noticing it - you have become the expert you always wanted to be.

Good luck!



Translating marketing material is quite different from translating, e.g., technical or pharmaceutical texts!

The bigger a translation agency is, the less time it has to pay attention to the traps of localization of marketing texts. A large translation company has to spit out thousands of pages of translations every day, just to pay its enormous overhead costs or to satisfy its shareholders. We have experienced many times that a project manager in a large translation company is more or less disconnected from the many texts she/he has to process every single day, but works rather like an automat. The victims are usually the details and nuances - and especially cultural connotations in the translated product. As a result, the client’s brand suffers in the translation process.

Smaller, boutique-like translation agencies have, in general, a different approach. Many of them have the time (and willingness) to pay special attention to the fact that translating marketing copy requires a deep understanding of the culture of the target audience.

Their project managers usually deal with only one or two clients each day and take care of every aspect of the translation process: from analyzing the texts, choosing the right translators, finding cultural connotations in the source text that would create problems in the target culture (e.g. idiomatic expressions, puns, metaphors, even brand names, colors, and illustrations etc. that would not work in the countries where the target language is spoken), and pointing them out to their translators, editors, proofreaders, and to the client. And they often start a creative discussion among all of them to get to the best translated product possible that works in the target language as well as it does in the source language, even if parts of the translation have to deviate from the source for cultural reasons.

Only this kind of process can ensure that the marketing message conveyed in the source language is creatively adapted in the target language – while still staying on brand.

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AA Translations NY's cover photo

AA Translations NY

AA Translations NY

AA Translations NY

AA Translations NY


New York, NY




Typesetting (Desktop Publishing, DTP), Graphic Design, Web Design, Translations, and much more...


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