Setting the em dash in French text.

Kristina Drake's picture

Raising the Em dash question yet again.

I generally set the em dash tight. Recently, a text I'd sent to our translation services came back with comments to space them em dashes. I am wondering if this is language-specific (like spaces before colons) or the translator has donned her typographer hat. I'm tempted to ignore the corrections, but first I would like to get a sense of em dash use in French texts from the francophones out there.

Thanks!

Kristina

DTY's picture

I'm not a real francophone, but grabbing a small sample of French books from different publishers off the shelf by my computer, I found the following: one has em dashes set off by thin spaces, three have en dashes set off by word spaces, one has en dashes set off by thin spaces, and one has en dashes set off by word spaces on the outside only (i.e., the side away from the text being enclosed). These are all from France, though; Canadian usage might have more anglophone influence.

Kristina Drake's picture

Thank you! I am utterly lacking in French ressource books.
I will go with the thin spaces, I think.

K.

jmlevy's picture

Em dashes must be separated from the text by a word space — like this — then you continue. A lot of people use a thin space, but the correct typogaphic usage is a word space. (I am French).

Kristina Drake's picture

OK, thank you!

Marc C's picture

Salut Jmlevy,

Content de te voir !!!!!

Hey Kristina,

You can belive this guys (jmlevy) I have never seen a person so professional, I know him in a other forum.

The Bible in french for rules about typo is ;

Le Ramat de la typographie
By : Aurel Ramat

Kristina Drake's picture

Aha! Thank you. I will go and hunt down that book. There's an Archambault right nearby. I'll check there first.

As I said elsewhere my job requires me to set and edit French more often these days. Hyphenation rules are another source of frustration for me, but I do have a photocopy of guidelines provided by the translation office. I'm sure that with a few more reference books I could contribute less to the translator's headaches... :)

Thank you everyone!
K.

Marc C's picture

What is your problem about Hyphenation ?

dezcom's picture

Is there not a French hyphenation dictionary built in to your layout software? InDesifgn allows language choice for hyphenation right in the text formatting palette.

ChrisL

Linda Cunningham's picture

Kristina, you might also want to check out Editing Canadian English, Second Edition: it also has a reasonably comprehensive 20-page chapter on French (particularly Quebec French) and several other recommended readings (though several are sadly OOP).

Apart from Marc's suggestion of Le Ramat de la typographie, you might also want to check out M.-E. de Villers's Multidictionnaire des difficultés de la langue française.

Kristina Drake's picture

:) WOW

Thank you.

Marc: Hyphenation breaks in French are different from English. But mostly, in English, I can look up a word in the dictionary, and the hyphanation is indicated. There's no guessing involved. As I understand it, French relies on syllables, pronounciation and other factors, which make it a little iffy for me to get right. I have yet to find a French dictionary that shows the breaks.

ChrisL: Somewhat ashamed. I played with that feature once, albeit very briefly. However, I usually hyphenate manually, and only in places. But mostly, I really wasn't sure how it worked. Does the language apply to selected text or to the document as a whole? Often I have both languages in one document. To be honest, I was too lazy to figure it out. ... I'd rather know the rules than rely on the software, anyway. ;) (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)

I hyphenate in English manually, too, and check each break in my Canadian Oxford. (And yes, I also search my hyphens.)

Linda: Thanks for the extra references.

K.

Kristina Drake's picture

A short exploration and I see that it is easily applied to selected text. I could build it into my paragraph styles, then, too. Hmm. OK. Something to try to work with more often.

Still, I'd like to know what I'm doing! ;)

Thanks again.

Marc C's picture

Hey Kristina,

Look my set up

dezcom's picture

Kristina,
As you found out, it is by selected text. I always make style sheets that are language specific. You can apply some spaciong preferences in that way as well. You can make a character style for space emdash space that trcks/kerns the space to what you want. Then you can search and replace the text string "space emdash space" with same string and apply character style with adjusted spacing to all French text.

ChrisL

Kristina Drake's picture

Thanks Chris. Definitely something to play with. The language is a real eye-opener, though. In one booklet, I created separate styles for the French and English (because the French was all italicized) but it never occured to me to change the language.

Thanks again, you guys are always helpful!

K.

Marc C's picture

Kristina,

Why do you do other paragraph style for Italic.

Just do a Charactere style for Italic

Linda Cunningham's picture

Marc: interesting that you hyphenate capitalized words. Except in newspaper styles, that's generally not done in English.

Marc C's picture

Hi Linda,

It's not a really good think the fact than I put this picture (about Hyphenate) because I'am often changing my sep up for differente job.

As for the hyphenate capitalized, shame on me because, I dont remember why I put that at on :(

Kristina Drake's picture

Marc:

Because it contains more than just the italics as a style. For example, I had a paragraph style for first paragraph of text, which was not indented and included oldstyle figures and a nested style with the first 4 words in small caps. Every following paragraph was the same, but indented and no small caps. With one click in the paragraph, I could format the whole thing, including the italics, and not have to worry about selecting text. I've used character styles, for example, to create the nested small caps style at the beginning of the first paragraph. But mostly I use paragraph styles so they carry all the information, including space before, paragraph rules, etc.

K.

Marc C's picture

Very good reason :)

For be honest, a dont know a lot whit ID, I was whit Quark before and now I am reading book to learn ID

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