Overview of special characters
Do you wish to avoid post-formatting work and corrections of translated files where some terms or words are separated inconveniently?
Then you should take a closer look at non-breaking spaces and special hyphens and other special characters!
Special space characters
Spaces of different width
For typographic purposes, word processing programs offer spaces of various widths. The naming is based on an old typographical unit of measurement: the quad
The following table summarizes the most important spaces and explains their function and how to enter them:
|Space||Unicode||Keyboard input||Shortcut in Word||Shortcut in Indesign||Shortcut in Framemaker||Non-breaking space|
|CTRL Shift Space||CTRL Shift Space||CTRL Alt X||CTRL Space||√|
|En quad||En space|
|CTRL Shift N||Esc s n|
|Em quad||Em space|
|CTRL Shift N||Esc s m|
|Six-per-em space||Six-per-em space|
|Narrow, non-breaking space||Narrow No-Break Space U+202F||Esc s t||√|
A detailed overview is provided by Rotkel
There you can also find keystrokes for special spaces and operating systems.
Special separation options
You can use special characters for hyphenation to
- Prevent a break between 2 words/characters that are linked by a hyphen
- Hyphenate at the desired position in the word
- Suppress hyphenation
|Hyphen||Unicode||Keyboard input||Shortcut in Word||Shortcut in Indesign||Shortcut in Framemaker||Function|
|Non-breaking hyphen||Non-breaking hyphen|
|CTRL Shift –||CTRL Shift –||CTRL Alt –||Esc – w||Prevents line break|
|Soft hyphen||Ctrl –||CTRL Shift –||Ctrl –||Hyphenation takes place at marked position (if necessary)|
|Suppress hyphenation symbol||Esc n s||No hyphenation for marked word|
Use of non-breaking spaces and hyphens
Non-breaking spaces and hyphens are special characters that do what their name says: they prevent the line break between the characters/words to keep certain strings and/or words together on a line.
This makes sense, for example, if you do not want a line break in the middle of a company name such as PRODOC Translations GmbH or the name of a standard such as DIN EN ISO 13849‑1.
Other special characters
The ellipsis … should always be used instead of 3 consecutive points. Three points create a new segment in the CAT tool, resulting in invalid entries for the translation memory.
The ellipsis character is entered in Windows with the key combination Alt+0131.
Use special characters for technical translations
During technical translation, non-breaking spaces and hyphens are retained. You no longer need to pay attention to unwanted line breaks in names/range specifications etc. in your final layout of the translated document, as line breaks are automatically controlled by non-breaking characters.
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Optimize documents with special characters prior to translation
If the use of non-breaking hyphens and spaces is consistently taken into account during the creation of the technical documentation, a lot of work is saved after the translation.
Especially with multilingual translations, the formatting effort only occurs once – in the source language document.
You can find further information on optimizing documents for technical translation here: