Naming font styles in various languages

I’d like to collect the names of the styles within a family in a few languages, other than English.
Globalization is Ok, but having labels in one’s own tongue is Ok, too. Yes, I’m thinking about editing fonts in localized versions this way.

Well then, lets do German as a starter:

  • Regular – Normal
  • Italic – Kursiv
  • Bold – Fett
  • Small caps – Kapitälchen
  • Light – Leicht
  • Thin – Mager
  • Medium – Kräftig (?), Viertelfett, ›Buch‹
  • Semibold – Halbfett
  • Demibold (?) – Dreiviertelfett
  • Black – Extrafett
  • Outline – Licht
  • Script – Schreibschrift
What about Spanish, French, Netherlands, Italian, Polish, Portugese, …, …, ?


  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,859
    Won't this be a disaster when clients and/or agencies in different nations have local fonts installed but collaborate on one file?
  • Disaster? It would be an adventure.

    What's to stop computers displaying weight names according the the language settings applied.

  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 557
    edited April 2015
    French: Jean François Porchez's Typofonderie used to have Clair, Gris, Normal & Sombre.
    Spanish: Alejandro Lo Celso's PampaType uses Blanca, Gris, Negra & SuperNegra.
  • We don’t use local names in Sweden, but translated it could be something like this:
    Tunn, Normal, Medium, HalvFet, Fet, ExtraFet, Svart.
  • Bogdan OanceaBogdan Oancea Posts: 22
    edited April 2015
    Romanian here:
    • Regular ..…………… Normale
    • Italic ..………………… Italice (some people use "Cursive", but I think that should better describe the Script/Caligraphic typefaces)
    • Bold ..………………… Grase ("the fat ones")
    • Small caps ..……… Capităluțe (diminutive word for Capitals)
    • Light/Thin ..……… Albe ("white ones"), Subțiri ("thin ones")
    • Medium .…………… Mediu (singular), Medii (plural)
    • Semibold ..………… Semigrase ("half fat ones")
    • Black ………………… Negre ("the black ones")
    • Outline ……………… I don't know, but should be "Conturate"
    • Script ..……………… Caligrafice, Scripte, Cursive
    • Condensed .……… Înguste ("narrow ones"), Șmale (taken from German "schmal")
    • Monospaced .…… Monoproporționale, Neproporționale
    Plural form is used throughout.
  • As long as it is about clearly defined terms such as small caps, this can be useful. For more ambiguous things such as weights, I’m skeptical. Font makers can’t agree whether Thin is lighter than Extralight (or Ultralight), whether it should be Black, Heavy or Ultrabold, or whether Semibold is any different from Demibold.

    Throwing local terms with different backgrounds and connotations onto this mess – or literally translating English terms – only adds more confusion and inconsistencies. Not to mention terms like Buch/Book, which relate to the intended application and imply not only a certain (arbitrary) weight, but also a size, and often distinct vertical proportions. Traditionally, German typefaces often came in mager and halbfett, i.e. literally meager and semibold, but actually regular and bold. Licht can denote an outlined style, but the term also includes what is known as open(face) or handtooled.

    For weights, a numbering system as in CSS – but maybe with more steps than just 9 – has the advantage to work across languages and to be unambiguous, at least in regard to the order.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,178
    James, the NAME table supports this kind of localisation without issue
  • > the NAME table

    is that a hidden part which have not yet discovered in FL?
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Grzegorz RolekGrzegorz Rolek Posts: 22
    edited April 2015
    Dave’s right, the name table makes each name entry localisable by design. In fact, there aren’t any ‘default’ entries in the table, storage-wise; the ones that are usually set for you by the font editor are simply indicated as English, since that’s the typical last-resort language for many environments.

    It’s only the PostScript name entry that should have the same form for each locale, English being the preferred one, and that only because this name is often being used for font identification and lookup, at least on Apple’s platforms. But all the other, user-facing names should be perfectly safe to use in any language available.
  • Thanks James. Though I have no clue at all how to use this enigmatic device.
  • Grzegorz RolekGrzegorz Rolek Posts: 22
    edited April 2015
    It’s actually pretty straightforward, Andreas. Start by importing the basic Font Info names with the 'Import names’ button on top. Records you’ll see are the ones your font will end up with anyway as that’s how all the names are stored in a TrueType/OpenType binary.

    For the name entries you want to localise, see what triplets of platform, encoding, and language were provided automatically, and use these to add your own records, simply switching the language choice where appropriate. Note that there will probably be more than one platform-encoding pair for a particular name entry, so you’ll have to localise each such pair separately.
  • Arial, Verdana and Tahoma all have localized style names. You also may look at
  • Russian. Although, such localized names are rare, but they do occur.
    • Regular ..…………..Прямой
    • Italic ..……….………Курсивный
    • Oblique .................Наклонный
    • Bold ..…………….… Жирный
    • Small caps ..……… Капитель
    • Thin........................ Сверхсветлый
    • Light..……...........… Светлый
    • Medium .…………… Средний
    • Semibold ..………… Полужирный
    • Black ………………… Сверхжирный
    • Outline ……………… Контурный
    • Script ..……………… Рукописный
    • Condensed .……….. Сжатый
    • Ultra Condensed......Сверхсжатый
    • Expanded................Широкий
    • Extra Wide...............Сверхширокий
    • Monospaced .…….... Моноширинный
    Some variations are possible. 

    These are all masculine adjectives. They could also be genderless (like прямое, курсивное, наклонное etc) or in some rare cases feminine (прямая, курсивная, жирная, etc). The only case to use feminine that I can think of — is a feminine font name.
  • Thanks @Indra Kupferschmid I've corrected and expanded the Russian part.
  • Jan SchmoegerJan Schmoeger Posts: 280
    Thanks Indra, great idea. Added Czech, but someone else should have a look and correct. All in genderless.
  • As Florian Hardwig has said, the regular cut is traditionally called “mager” (literally “thin”) in German, and the bold cut is called “halbfett” (literally “semibold”). That means, the scales are shifted against each other. Accordingly, I think those translations are more appropriate:

    thin – extraleicht/extrazart/extrafein
    light – leicht/zart/fein
    regular – mager
    medium – normal (?)
    semibold – viertelfett
    bold – halbfett
    extrabold – dreiviertelfett
    black – fett
  • Regular would rather be Normal (in German). Medium then would be matched by Kräftig.
  • I've posted a link to the sheet and this thread to ATypI facebook group. I suggest it will fill faster now.
  • German speakers, I see the term “schlanke” used for some early 20th-century faces, such as Hermes-Grotesk. Is that another term for “condensed” or is it more often used for styles that are even narrower?
  • Florian HardwigFlorian Hardwig Posts: 228
    edited August 2015
    The common terms were “Schmale” (~condensed) and “Enge” (~extra condensed, compressed). “Schlanke” is pretty uncommon. It can stand in for either, see e.g. Schlanke Renaissance (AG für Schriftgießerei) = Schmale Renaissance (Schelter & Giesecke); Schlanke Egyptienne (AG für Schriftgießerei) = Enge Egyptienne (S&G); Schlanke schmale (sic!) Antiqua (John/Stempel) = Enge Antiqua (S&G)

    “Schlanke” (lit. slim, slender) may also imply a light weight – Offenbacher Reform-Latein has a Schmale halbfette (a bold condensed) and a Schlanke (a lighter weight that is equally condensed); S&G’s Egyptienne had a Schmale fette and a relatively lighter Schlanke halbfette  – but then, Haas had a Schlanke fette Grotesk. It’s a mess.

    Die Schlanke is also the name of a typeface family by Ludwig & Mayer, a narrow serif in several weights.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,471
    Schlanke is probably related to the English word lanky.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Or vice versa.
  • German is known to produce super-long words. This is why "extra condensed" in German is "eng". :)
  • PampaType have recently added their family Amster Pro to Fontdeck and I noticed a all their non-English names such as Amster Pro Fina Italica (Light Italic) and the rather splendid Amster Pro SuperNegra (Extra Black). 

  • Belleve InvisBelleve Invis Posts: 269
    edited October 2015
    Here is Chinese:
    • Regular – 常规
    • Italic – 斜体
    • Bold – 粗体
    • Small caps – 小型大写字母
    • Light – 细
    • Thin – 极细
    • Medium – 中等
    • Semibold – 半粗
    • Demibold – 半粗
    • Black – 极粗
    • Outline – 框线
    • Script – 手写 (rare, often a separate family)
    • Narrow - 窄
    • Condensed - 压缩
    • Compressed - 紧缩
    • Wide - 宽
    • Extended - 加宽
    • Extra Wide - 超宽
  • Interesting document. Still many typographic terms that do not have their own word in Spanish. I have added a few more that were not included.
  • In Brazil, we often use english terms, but:

    Light – Leve
    Bold – Negrito
    Italic – Itálico
    Oblique – Oblíquos
    Condensed - Condensado
    Extended – Extendido

    Mono spaced – mono espaçado
    Small caps – Versaletes (I like this one)
    Script – Caligráfico

    (probably there are portuguese versions for everything
    on academic books, but they're not usual)

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