Day 112: Doing a translation of your book, part 2

I'm writing this, but I don't really think anyone will be all that interested in it. However, in case I needed an excuse to contribute useless information on the web, I actually was Googling how to solve my formatting problems all day today and came up with NOTHING. And I know I can't be the only (English-speaking) person who wanted to know about this.

Lines per page

I only briefly mentioned this part earlier, and this probably won't come up for most languages, but I had to set the number of lines per page to Exactly 16 pt, as opposed to single space. This is because when a line has furigana, Word will give it more space for the furigana, and if it doesn't have furigana, it will go back to normal single spacing. So the distance between lines will be uneven, making some lines look squashed together and others far apart. Setting the Paragraph setting to Exactly 16 pt (or whatever fits for your book) will make the line spacing even no matter if there’s furigana or not.

Widow/Orphan control:

My translator came back to me with a few minor changes to make to the print book file. A few missed kanji or furigana, a few missing indents. 

But there was one problem that kind of had me stumped for a little while. One page had two footnote references, but only one of the footnotes was at the bottom of the page (or in my case since the text is vertical and reads right to left, on the left side of the page). It was also confusing because there was a blank space at the bottom of the page, so there was room for the second footnote to be included, and yet the footnote was on the next page.

I figured out that the second footnote was shunted to the next page because if it had been included on the first page, there wouldn't have been enough room for the entire last paragraph, which included the footnote reference text, and so that would have been moved to the next page.

So then I was trying to figure out why Word couldn't simply leave one line of the paragraph on the first page (which is where the reference text was) and move the rest of the paragraph to the next page. Both footnotes could have fit if only the first line of the paragraph were left on the first page.

I finally realized that the problem was that I hadn't turned off the Widow/Orphan control, so if both footnotes were put on the first page, Word didn't want to leave a widow line on the bottom of the page (which happened to be where the reference text was) and would move it to the next page. I can't have the second footnote at the bottom of the page when the reference text is on the next page, so Word instead moved the footnote to the next page and had the reference text on the first page.

I did some researching about Widows/Orphans and one typographer's article was helpful, but he mentioned that he tends to prefer turning Widow/Orphan control on and having Word eliminate Widows/Orphans.

However, that really bugged me. I had a lot of pages with an extra blank line at the bottom because Word moved the widow to the next page, making that first page look almost like the end of a chapter. I do admit that a lone orphan on a page looks odd and I'd prefer to fix those, but on a whole, I'd rather have each page have the same number of lines, including those widows.

So I did what I should have done before and turned off Widow/Orphan control, and that solved a lot of the repagination problems. Those two problem footnotes were now separated onto two pages.

Also as a bonus, there are fewer pages in the book, which will make it just a tiny bit slimmer. Before turning off Widows/Orphans, it was pushing 370 pages, but now it's 352.

Section breaks:

My section dividers are a scrolly character from a symbol font. My translator had originally put a line of asterisks, but I inserted the scrolly thing instead. The scroll has one carriage return above and one carriage return below it to separate it from the previous sections.

I think technically I should have deleted the carriage returns and changed the paragraph settings for the scrolly thing so that there was space added above and below it. But I had already adjusted all the line spacing in the document to Exactly 16pt to accommodate the furigana. I would have had to manually go through the document to find every scrolly thing (and there's no way to search for it using the Find function) in order to delete the extra carriage returns and adjust the paragraph settings.

So after doing the Widow/Orphan thing, I went through and checked the repagination. I found a handful of times where there was a section divider at the bottom of a page, then a blank line, and then the next page had a footnote. The first line of the next page had the reference text for the footnote, but there wasn't space on the previous page for both the reference text and the footnote, so it was moved to the next page. However, that left the previous page with a huge amount of white space at the bottom of the page.

The earlier article on typography mentioned that he doesn't suggest changing the number of lines per page, and I can see his point because when you have an English language book and open it up, if one page has more lines than the other, it looks wonky.

But I think it's not quite as obvious when the text is running vertically along the long axis of a page. Also I thought that the page with the huge blank space at the bottom looked worse.

So I had to select the lines on that first page and the first paragraph of the second page, then decrease the number of lines per page from 16 pt to 15 pt. Usually it would be just enough to get that footnote reference text and the footnote on the first page.

If it didn't work, then I selected the lines on that first page and increased the number of lines from 16 to 17 pt, to try to space the lines out more and fill out the page so there wasn't that huge blank space.

I also found for a few scrolly things, I had to delete a carriage return above or below it if that carriage return was at the top or bottom of a page. I know I have to do that so that the print version looks nice, but I don't really like doing that because those particular section dividers are different from the others. So I made the changes but also wrote down what pages they were on so that if something happens later where I have to repaginate again (God forbid), I'll know to check those scrolly things to see if I have to add back the carriage returns.

Ebook formatting:

This is where I had the most frustrations today (and I had thought the footnotes and Widows/Orphans were bad).

New method of converting from Word document to .epub

First I was experimenting with a new way of creating a Japanese .epub file. My earlier method included exporting to two different types of text files, then replacing characters so that when I ran the file through a Japanese freeware app, it would convert those marks and keep the furigana formatting. I then had to open the file in Sigil to fix the formatting, separate it into chapters and create a Table of Contents. I also had to add the footnotes manually, one by one.

The new method involved opening the file in Mac Pages and then exporting it directly to an .epub file. Once I opened the file in Sigil, I could do a simple Find/Replace All to fix the messy html. The .epub already had the footnotes encoded so I wouldn't need to do it. I still needed to fix some formatting, separate it into chapters, and create a Table of Contents.

Japanese indents:

My translator is currently looking through the .epub file and she gave me some things to correct. I found out that unlike in English, the first line of a paragraph is not always indented. The first line is indented EXCEPT when the paragraph starts with an open parentheses mark or the Japanese equivalent of an open quotation mark. My epub had every first line indented.

It wasn't hard to change when you're working with the html. I did a Find for the opening paragraph html tag, the indent space, and either the open parentheses mark or open quotation mark, and then Replaced All with just the opening paragraph tag and the open parentheses/quotation mark. Fixed in a blink.

Horizontal English characters in Japanese vertical text:

Since my book is a contemporary romance, my translator opted to keep some English words in the text, since almost all Japanese know some English and my impression is that most people can read English decently. Some of the longer English words, like "physical therapist," are rotated 90 degrees clockwise and are running sideways down the vertical text.

But other times there are only a few English characters, like "MRI," and those characters are left horizontal in the vertical text. It makes it easier to read it when your eye is running vertically.

The real problem came when my translator mentioned that some of those English characters that are supposed to be horizontal are rotated 90 degrees and running sideways down the vertical text.

Text direction is easy to fix in Microsoft Word (one of the few things that are easy when using that program). However, for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to change the character text direction in the .epub file.

I tried different fonts, different styles. However, the text of an .epub file is stripped of all formatting and styles, since it's just a bunch of plain text with html code. The CSS/html is what creates the formatting when it's opened in an ebook reader app. I couldn't figure out if I needed to add a certain html tag, or if I needed to adjust the CSS (which I have NO idea how to do).

So I Googled and Googled. And to be fair, my Googling abilities are pretty dismal. Even Captain Caffeine shakes his head when I tell him what I used for search words and phrases. 

But I couldn't find any articles that gave me the exact answer I needed. Not surprisingly, I found very few English articles about Japanese language .epubs with vertical text, and nothing about how to rotate an English character 90 degrees when it's running in a vertical text direction.

I finally managed to look inside the guts of the .epub file of my Japanese translation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I searched for English characters but couldn't find any that were horizontal in a vertical text line. But then I finally found some by accident, which actually hadn't showed up when I did the search for those letters.

I found that the program considered those characters different from normal English characters, and I was racking my brain trying to figure out how that could be. They just looked like characters that were a different font type, but I knew that couldn't be true because the .epub file is stripped of all font types.

I finally realized that it was the keyboard input on the Mac.

My normal keyboard input in my computer settings is US QWERTY. I also have a Japanese keyboard input in settings that enables me to type hiragana and the computer will suggest kanji from what I'm typing.

But I discovered that the Japanese keyboard also has another input mode called "Half-width Romaji." It's basically English characters, and before, I didn't think they were different from the English characters from my US keyboard. However when I typed English characters with the Half-width Romaji keyboard input in my Sushi for One .epub file, the characters suddenly turned horizontal when it was in vertical running text!

I felt like bursting into Handel's Messiah when I finally figured that out. It took only three or four hours ...

So now the information is out there on the world wide web for some other random person who needs to format a Japanese .epub. When creating a Japanese .epub with vertical text, any English characters typed using that Half-width Romaji Japanese keyboard input will turn horizontal when in vertical running text.

After that, I still had to go through and correct all the English characters that needed to be horizontal and weren't. That was a little tedious.

All total, the formatting for the print and ebooks took me over 8 hours today!

But now I know for the next translation (which will be Only Uni, the second book in my Sushi series, which my translator is working on right now).

And now, I think I deserve ice cream.

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