Design Production on Multilingual Content: Set your team up for success

Guest blogger, Gareth Morgan, gives tips to avoid localization project management pitfalls

I work as a localization manager in the marketing department of a financial services company. A big part of my job is gathering documents for translation and then handing them off to our team of graphic designers for production. I’ve developed a keen understanding of the issues and headaches that come up after this hand off.If you’ve been tasked with handling a similar process, there are things you can do to reduce pain points and quality assurance issues before they happen.

Native vs. Proxy Formats

Before jumping in, let me say that a lot of these issues arise due to using proxy formats instead of native formats when sourcing translations. If you need to translate a web page, would you send your translation provider the final approved version in HTML format, or a Word doc with the final content? The Word doc would be the proxy option. By sending translation files in the native format, in this case HTML, your design teams would not have to undertake the significant copy-paste effort required to build the different language versions of your site. Working from native formats will save you time and hassle in the long run.

Workflows and Challenges
Nonetheless, each team sets up their production process a little differently, and there are cases where proxy formats need to be used. Many design teams tasked with building multilingual content assets routinely collect text from documents in one format and build in another. Then there are the frequent scope changes and late content additions to projects, often with text that wasn’t sent for translations in the original project bundle. If you are tasked with overseeing translation and localization quality, how can you set your team up for success?

Check back next week as Gareth continues the conversation with a specific localization demand example…

Gareth MorganGareth Morgan has over 12 years of experience in communications: print and digital media, advertising, brand development, marketing strategy and more. He is currently managing multilingual website content and marketing communications for an international e-finance company with a customer base in 180 countries worldwide. Gareth spent 8 years living and working professionally in Asia, where he learned fluent spoken Mandarin Chinese.


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