Aston Martin taps translation management software for export push
The amount of document translation required has become a major limiting factor for export-driven manufacturers, the luxury car-maker said.
Automated tracking of translations has cut the company’s translation administration workload by around two-thirds, and saved yet more by applying style rules that remove the need for desktop publishing services, said Rob Simpson, Aston Martin’s technical publications co-ordinator.
“We may be a fraction of the size of VW, say, but it was getting beyond a joke with new models and new languages,” he said, explaining that he and his three authors were hard-pressed to keep on top of all the different document versions.
The solution was to install first a content management system (CMS) and then add translation management software which in effect made the CMS language-aware. Now, when a document is updated, only the changed sections are sent for translation, and when a car is built to a customer’s specification, the manual can be assembled similarly.
In addition, the Across Language Server software can apply writing rules that maintain consistency, and it enables translated content to be re-used. “We use Simplified Technical English, which is derived from the aerospace industry and has a dictionary of allowed and disallowed words. When it is translated, ambiguity is removed,” Simpson said.
He added that the company now publishes in 16 languages. The most recent additions were Swedish, Turkish, Brazilian Portugese and Chilean Spanish, and it is now looking at adding more, with Ukranian and Croatian among those being considered.
“The way the market is, it’s forcing us to look elsewhere to new territories,” he said. He noted that while several countries nominally share the same language, it is often necessary to localise elements of a manual - in particular the legal and regulatory sections - to a country’s specific dialect, hence the addition of Brazilian and Chilean.
Phill Barratt, Across Systems’ UK business development manager, said that his company’s software manages, automates and audits the translation process. The actual translation would still be carried out by professional translators, but the software cuts out duplicated effort and allows an author to look after more versions.
“As companies push for exports, the big jump is in the number of translations needed,” he said. “It was five or six, now to stay in business companies are having to do 15, 16 or 17. So budgets for translation aren’t being cut as efficiency increases - companies are just doing more languages with the same budget.”