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 »  Articles Overview  »  Business of Translation and Interpreting  »  Business Issues  »  Translation Industry Takeaways: ETA Projects & Character Limitations? Scenarios & Solutions

Translation Industry Takeaways: ETA Projects & Character Limitations? Scenarios & Solutions

By Muhammad Said | Published  08/25/2019 | Business Issues | Recommendation:
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Muhammad Said
inglés a árabe translator
Miembro desde Mar 29, 2013
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I have been working in translation and localization for more than eleven years and I always believe that you should go the extra mile in such a competitive industry. Being a language service provider, especially a translator, you could deal with many subject-matters, including one or two of your fields of specializations, a couple of your working fields, and some of your fields of interests. Yet, you might receive some translation projects that require specific requirements and instructions. The worst-case scenario happens when an inexperienced project manager sends you a project without further details and/or instructions. In this case, it is your turn as a language professional to ask for more details, instructions, a style guide, etc. Among the projects that require a skillful translator are those that have limitations on characters. In today’s article, I will shed some light on the translation of the Expanded Text Ads (ETAs).


You received a 6000-word translation project in an Excel format about Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) for a healthcare brand. How to translate the project using the same Excel file and SDL Trados Studio?

Expanded Text Ads (ETAs)

A text ad is a form of marketing communication that advertisers can use to promote their products or services on the Google Network. Expanded Text Ads (ETAs) are 2x bigger than current text ads. The new ads are designed to maximize the client’s presence and performance on mobile search results with a bigger headline and an extra long description. ETAs will show across all devices, such as desktop and mobile, and will wrap automatically based on device size.

Translators who come across such ETAs projects should know that they have three headline fields, where the first two are required while the third is optional. Also, you can use up to 30 characters per headline. Not only headline are character-restricted ETAs have two 90-character description fields. In such cases, you have to customize your translation based on character limitations on the headlines (30 characters) and the description (90 characters).

If your client asked you to start translating such ETAs projects within the same Excel format, while the file was received without any file preparations to limit the characters inside the cells of the target text, the best strategy is to use the Excel LEN function. The LEN function returns the length of a given text string as the number of characters. Plus, LEN will count characters in numbers, but number formatting is not included (i.e. the length of “50” formatted as “$50.00” is still 2). In addition, if you would like to visualize your results to the client, you can easily use the Excel Conditional Formatting. Simply, you can use ‘Highlight Cells Rules’ that are greater than 30 for the headlines cells and 90 for the description cells.

What if you are asked to work on SDL Trados Studio? Can SDL Trados Studio help me put limitations on characters in target segments? Definitely, yes. You can adjust the quality assurance settings in SDL Trados Studio with regard to character limitations. Simply follow the steps below:

File > Options > Verification > Length Verification

Then, you can add check the Length Limit box (if it is unchecked) and check if target segments are longer than character count. The last step is to determine the maximum number of characters in the opposite box.

Final thoughts

The above strategies can be applied not only to ETA Projects, but you can also use them with any translation projects that require character limitations, including but not limited to, Twitter projects. Plus, if you provide subtitling services for some media-services providers, such as Netflix, you may know that the maximum character limitation per line is 42 for Arabic. In conclusion, translators should be aware of not only the translation of different subject-matters, but they should also be prepared to those kinds of projects which necessitate more than just linguistic skills.

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