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I'm translating an application with help of an "informal" translator - a Chinese-American staff which seems unsure about some rules I'm trying to understand.

I understand that Chinese uses no spaces, and that Chinese punctuation (except for quotes and dashes?) is full-width (which visually creates spaces after them). However, I'm not sure how to review sentences with numbers or English words. I found this article on the topic, but it seems biased towards SEO or "old rules".

Some examples that I'm unsure of (writing them with monospace font so the space is easier to notice):

  • 输入至少3 个字符以完成搜索。
  • 正在发送到 2 台打印机。
  • 7:07 PM 自动开启
  • 我们建议您改用本地 app。
  • 客人Igor的订单#123 (the # is not optional)
  • 此平台不支持 Apple 打印机。

Should any of those cases include spaces? If so, would it be before, after, both? What about the size - should I use a special space character (half-width?), or just "standard English space" would do? Is there any difference between common nouns ("app") and proper nouns?

I understand these are "readable" and "good enough", but since it's a wide range of users we'll be targeting, I want to understand what is, if any, the "gold standard" when mixing in foreign characters.

Semi-related questions that do not answer this fully:

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  • I don't see a space is required. In formal writing, at least in the past, Arabic Numbers and foreign words, letters, should be avoided, especially for the numbers.
    – r13
    Sep 28 at 13:25
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There are no hard rules imposed by the government or any authoritative bodies.

Some people don't care. People who do care tend to be on the "include spaces" side. (The other answers are good examples.)

If you decide to include spaces, make sure there is space on both sides. A normal English space would do. If your system supports it, you can use a more subtle space which is 1/4 of a full-width character. (That is the default setting of Adobe InDesign.)

There is no difference between common nouns and proper nouns.

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It may be a matter of style, but I have found that having no spaces between the number or English word can make the sentence look crammed.

输入至少12个字符以完成搜索。
此平台不支持Apple打印机。

versus

输入至少 12 个字符以完成搜索。
此平台不支持 Apple 打印机。

I think the reasoning can be, when numbers and English words are used, they always have spaces between them. There are no spaces between Chinese words in a sentence, but with numbers and English words, it'd be more clear if the spaces are added so it is not as crammed visually. And I think one reason is, when the readers see 此平台不支持Apple打印机, they have to spend effort to separate the word Apple from the other characters. This would make the eyes "more busy". So it may be preferable to let the readers read with ease, rather than busy separating words in a sentence.

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如果你的排版系统有强大的混排能力,那么在拉丁字符和CJK字符之间插入视觉上的间隙是常见的行为,类似的表现可以在Office Word中体验到。

如果你的排版系统不受你控制,比如在浏览器这样的环境下显示混排内容,或者排版引擎本身的功能不足以支持上述机制,那么一般会插入空格来获得良好的阅读体验。一些中文社区比如Ruby China和V2EX甚至会将用户输入的文本进行处理,自动插入空格。

如果是在终端这样显示等宽字符这样较为特殊的环境下,由于空格的宽度较大,此时若使用空格则会显得较为稀疏,因此一般不做处理。


If your layout system has powerful typesetting capabilities, then displaying visual gaps between Latin and CJK characters is a common behavior. This can be experienced in Office Word.

If your layout system is not under your control, such as displaying mixed content in an environment like a browser, or the typesetting engine itself is not powerful enough to support the above mechanism, then spaces are usually inserted to get a good reading experience between Latin and CJK characters. Some Chinese communities like Ruby China and V2EX will even process the text entered by the user to insert spaces automatically.

If it is in a special environment such as terminal and other systems that display equal-width characters within grids, since the width of spaces is large, the use of spaces will appear quite sparse. Thus, leaving as IT IS is a good choice.

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