Translation of product catalogues in 8 languages

15 Nov 2019 | Case Studies

Description of client needs

One of our clients (a major French conglomerate that manufactures recreational vehicles), has sent us the catalogues of the group’s various brands for the last 5 years to translate. The InDesign source files for these catalogues are annually translated from French to German, English, Spanish, Finnish, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish.

Principal issue with the project

Translating multiple catalogues into eight different languages can quickly become a mountain of a task if the project is properly managed from the start, both on the client’s end as well as that of the translation agency. In this type of project that calls for proficiency in creative, marketing, and technical content, as well as some notion of graphic design, the number of collaborators can quickly become difficult to manage.  Therefore, it’s critical to define the role of each participant upstream, as well as to clearly establish which tools and procedures will facilitate the collaboration and work of each member.
The problem is thus two-fold: complicated organization and the technical nature of the content.

Problems and the solutions proposed by TradOnline:

  • File format used for translation

At the beginning of our collaboration, text elements were extracted from the native InDesign files and copied into a Word document before being sent to us at TradOnline. This quickly proved to be too time consuming and inefficient for the client, on top of the added risk of missed translations or mistakes when transferring the translations back to the InDesign file.

After taking a step back to review our methodology, we instead proposed that the client send us the native InDesign files. Thanks to our Computer Assisted Translation tool (we use memoQ), we are able to process and translate the .idml (InDesign interchange format for raw text) file directly without needing to first extract the content. A sure gain in quality and efficiency. The client no longer loses time or runs the risk of errors with copying and pasting text. The translated .idml files are sent directly to the client, who then needs only to fire up their desktop publishing software to finalize the formatting and graphic design.

  • Tight deadlines

We are well aware of the imperatives our clients face. Often the text isn’t finalized until the very last moment, just before the catalogue is scheduled to be sent to print, and thus the time allotted for translation is often quite short… No worries! At TradOnline, we’re used to this kind of problem and we’ll prepare a schedule in advance with the client. And that’s how we moved forward with this particular project. Since the project is launched around the same time every year, we set up a schedule with our translators ahead of time, reserving their availability for the duration of the translation, which enables them to be highly reactive to the client’s needs. Once the schedule is blocked for the translators, we set up a schedule with the various PR and communication agencies that take part in the project. At times, and this happens to be one of them, clients work with multiple communications and PR agencies for the creation of catalogues across a number of different brands. With a number of different people taking part in the project, it seemed a good idea to ensure we had a schedule lined up in advance.

  • “Versioning”: managing additions and modifications to the text during translation

Obviously, when it comes to translation, the best practice is to send the finalized version and not touch the source again once it’s sent. Reality, however, doesn’t always turn out that way. To avoid any confusion between the various versions, we decided to collect all of the modifications outside the .idml files. We created an Excel file where all modifications are collected, translated, and then sent back to the client. This also allows us to use the translation memory for the project to ensure consistency throughout the translation of these modifications.

  • Complexity of the vocabulary

Translating projects that include a technical vocabulary are just part of our day at TradOnline. To ensure that the translations go off without a hitch, we take care in assigning the right translator to the right job and in their specialized domain. What’s more, we always try to assign the same translators to the same client when the translations are thematically similar. As the catalogues repeat year over year, we maintain the same teams of translators to ensure similar terminology and style, which is important for maintaining your brand image. It’s also great because it enables our translators to sub-specialize and improve with each passing year. And of course, to maintain the right terminology, we’ve set up a Term Base within memoQ specifically for and validated by the client.

  • Proofreading by the group’s subsidiary branches

For this client, they have their international subsidiary officers proofread the translations. Obviously, every modification that they make needs to be taken into account for the next year’s catalogue. TradOnline makes it a point of pride to work with our clients to make sure their desires are met with each and every delivery. Thanks to our CAT tool, we are able to run an alignment on the source and final translated version to make sure we use the latest, finalized version in our memory.

  • Large number of project participants

As we’ve previously stated, the client’s group includes a number of different brands, each of which produces its own catalogue in partnership with a different communication agency; all of which means each catalogue entails extra participants and procedures. Our dedicated project manager sat down with the managers of the various agencies in order to set up a shared procedure. This was key to successfully carrying out the project.

The TradOnline plus:

What was the TradOnline plus with this project? A dedicated project manager with knowledge of the problems associated with desktop publishing translations. Over the years, the project manager has come to know the project, and the participants, like the back of their hands, allowing them to anticipate problems before they ever immerge and thus offer the best solutions.

Having just one point of contact proved ideal for an already expansive project to ensure the client’s needs were met entirely. Because your catalogue is an extension of your brand image, make sure you are giving it the care and attention it deserves. If you need to have your catalogue translated, contact us and we’ll see down to come up with a process that meets your needs!