HOW WE MEET CLIENT NEEDS AND PREVENT BLUNDERS
Tight Deadlines, Rapid Delivery
Intel turned to us to meet a critical product series release date to generate over 33 brochures, white papers and Flash presentations, each going into six-13 languages… and all in three weeks. To meet this challenge, we assembled a global team of Semiconductor-speaking translators, editors, proofreaders and layout artists who worked around the clock across all world time zones. We also prepared Flash presentations requiring the translation of the company’s English scripts plus voiceover and recording talents in our state-of-the-art sound studio. As a result, we were able to deliver fully laid-out, four-color camera-ready electronic files and fully recorded CDs to serve Intel’s global customers — all by the target delivery date.
When Apple wanted to release its quarterly financial statements in six languages within three hours of its US press conference, they turned to Auerbach International. We assembled multi-lingual teams who spoke Computerese and Finance and arranged for them to translate, edit and proofread the final versions within Apple’s short window of opportunity. In that way, the US announcements made the same-day editions of business newspapers and media around the world in each target language… a successful solution to Apple’s critical timing and concerns.
In the technological Dark Ages before the Internet, Disney asked us to translate a series of voice contracts its lawyers were negotiating with major actresses in Spain for one of its blockbuster animated movies. Disney presented our contract translation during the Spanish morning, negotiated during the Spanish day, and faxed us revisions to the English in the Spanish night. This allowed us to use time zones to our advantage, re-translating various iterations of the contract during our day and evening, and delivering new versions to Disney in Spain ready for negotiations the next morning — and proving our dedication to meeting our clients’ deadlines and rapid-delivery solutions.
An individual called us one afternoon to ask if we could translate his father’s Arabic passport visas into English — within the next 30 minutes. We said Yes, providing that he could copy and fax them to us before he drove to our office to pick up the English pages. His father was waiting at San Francisco airport to board a return flight to Pakistan via Germany. The Germans, however, required a certified translation of the Arabic visas to allow our client’s father to transit their country. We quickly lined up an Arabic-to-English translation team — who also had to convert the Muslim calendar dates to Western dates — to enable our client’s father to make his flight. While other agencies that our client called had told him they would need three days, we were able to work one of our many “minor miracles” in only 30 minutes.
Preventing Cultural Blunders, Ensuring Successful Results
Two personnel-assessment clients were facing the same challenge: how to ensure the validity of their candidate-screening tests in overseas markets where many US concepts do not apply.
- Our Oregon client was more concerned that its nuances were translated properly. For that company, we developed a multi-tier approach in multiple languages: develop a glossary of terms to be approved by its overseas distributor, do the translation and editing (QA review) incorporating that terminology, and then provide a verbal, on-site back translation for the client using another professional linguist. In this way, any discrepancies could be caught and corrected before finalizing the text and proceeding to Layout.
- Our Indiana client had a test full of concepts (such as performing jury duty and contributing regularly to charities) which were often alien in other cultures. Before translating, we first reviewed the entire English test and advised which questions would produce erroneous results in each target language. We helped the client either to rephrase the questions or eliminate them entirely. After the client tested the translations against the English originals, we were able to make further refinements to ensure that the nuances were properly conveyed and the answers were statistically accurate. We also counseled changes in the Demographics sections so that and educational and classification questions would be equivalent worldwide.
An online and catalog retailer of girls’ clothing asked us to prepare its direct mail solicitations and order form in Japanese. The English order form contained four address blocks for recipients to refer their friends. Had we just followed the client’s wishes, the promotion would probably have bombed. Instead, we advised the client that “four” is an unlucky number in Japanese since it sounds just like the word for “death.” With the client’s permission, we provided only two referral blocks (a luckier number) and then redesigned the Japanese layout so that it would aesthetically appeal to the target market.
Before translating US sales training techniques for the European and Asian offices of a US computer manufacturer, we first had to soften and scale down the American concepts. Whereas cold calling and email blasts are common techniques here, these are not done to the same degree or in the same way abroad. We therefore consulted with the client in two personal meetings to rework the English presentations. Only after those concepts were agreed upon (or deleted) did we proceed to a successful series of translations.
Technological Challenges, Creative Solutions
Microsoft asked us to localize its OEM Connect on-line publication for South America in the new XML standard. Translation memory technology is important in this on-going project to ensure consistency of terminology and key sentences so as to speed up the translation process as much as possible. Our technical staff had to create the DTD setting files for each periodic batch of .xml files. This method enabled our Spanish and Portuguese translators and editors to work with the leading translation memory tool, Trados, without altering the code and be armed to provide our typical, high quality final output.
At 8pm Eastern Time, an international political-campaign strategist from New York called us on a Friday evening … where for us it was 5pm. Since New York agencies were long closed, he called us based on our reputation and hoping that we would still be open. He was desperate to get a long document translated into Italian for an 8am conference call the next morning about strategies in the Prime Minister’s election of Berlusconi vs. Prodi. We agreed to meet this challenge. Our instructions for him were to take a walk in Central Park, go out to dinner, and then return to his office around 11pm New York time. By the time he came back, we were able to deliver his document in three hours using an expert Italian translation team … and without charging him extra for hair dye because he made us grayer.