case study

A poem by Eavan Boland

Project details

  • Date —  12/12/2018
  • Client —  The Irish Times
  • Project —  Multi lingual poem

What was required

Published exclusively by The Irish Times, the poem ‘Our future will become the past of other women’ by the acclaimed writer Eavan Boland was translated into seven different languages. Starting with English, there were Irish, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic and Simplified Chinese versions, each accompanied by a beautiful illustration.

Project insight

The project presented several challenges. Typography requires the typesetter to take care of all the details, so the reader doesn’t notice them. Setting type in multiple languages gives several challenges, especially in Chinese and Arabic. The foundation of typography is the typeface used. Luckily I found one from Google, Noto, which has Latin characters covering English, Irish, Spanish and French. Extending further to Cyrillic, Simplified Chinese, and Arabic made it a natural choice.

There are many nuances for each language; font size, line height and the measure (width of a line); the holy trinity of typography. The goal of this art is to make text both readable and legible which was achieved with careful application of CSS and JQuery.

Overall, the page was very successful, easy to switch between languages, but most importantly, readable.


Since this was created and published The Irish Times has replaced the content management system that was used for this project and is longer available in the original guise.

Thankfully the WayBackMachine Internet Archive has a version which can be viewed here.

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