Although I only speak one language besides English (Français) even passably, I’m good at picking up the basic structures of other languages. That has enabled me to successfully edit—and catch typographic errors—in copy written in many other languages, including Asian languages. (Of course, the pieces also went through editing in their home countries.) Here are a few examples.
While working on calendars for Apple Store locations around the world, I taught myself the characters for the days of the week in Japanese. That’s how I was able to catch that this listing had the character for Saturday, but January 24th that year was a Sunday. I asked the store personnel to clarify whether the workshop was on Saturday the 23rd or Sunday the 24th.
In French, there needs to be a space before a colon.
Chinese uses a variety of time characters, not just “a.m.” and “p.m.” The time of “12:30” should have been accompanied by the midday character, not the afternoon character.
I caught an extra “l” in the spelling of the Italian word “applicabili.”
I knew that this workshop mentioned various iOS feature names, which were proper names and thus shouldn’t have been translated. I flagged the problem areas so they would be changed back into English.
I noticed multiple types of commas in the pieces coming from China, so I did some research and learned how each one was supposed to be used. This workshop title had a list of items and therefore should have had an “enumeration comma,” not an English-style comma (which is reserved for separating phrases in a sentence).