Localising technical manuals for Continental: a streamlined process using FrameMaker


The Client

Continental is an international supplier of diagnostic equipment and services to the automotive industry, including creating content for user manuals as well as on-board diagnostics (OBD) solutions. Continental’s technical authors use Structured FrameMaker to write the content, usually with English or German as the source language. This content must then be translated and reviewed, often into over 40 languages, and delivered as finalised FrameMaker files which are ready for publication in printed and online formats.

The Challenge

1. Large manuals are regularly updated with small changes across hundreds of pages’ worth of content. Continental wanted to be able to implement these changes quickly, without paying for the complete manual to be re-translated each time, which would also carry the associated risks of inconsistency between versions and production delays.

2. The varying lengths of multilingual content were affecting the layout of Continental’s manuals, so translated content had to be delivered in a format that still worked within a specific design template, while respecting the functional topic structure.

3. Automatic TOC (table of contents) and index entries needed to be preserved across the target-language content. This included languages such as Japanese, where non-Latin characters and a different ordering system were creating difficulties with the automatic index generation.

The Solution

Large manuals are regularly updated with small changes across hundreds of pages’ worth of content.

The first step was to deploy match plus – our advanced translation memory matching system – which ensures all structural and formatting tags within the FrameMaker content are protected while only new and changed source text is editable for translation. We worked with Continental to define FrameMaker formatting rules which read a translation language code directly from the underlying document structure and automatically apply text sizes, page and column
breaks and font choices based on the target language in question.

Finally, we ensured that the relevant index marker ordering codes are always inserted during the translation process for each language as appropriate, so that index files for each complete FrameMaker book could be correctly auto-generated in seconds, without character corruption or ordering problems.

The Benefits

Time savings. Large manuals are updated in over 40 languages within a matter of days rather than weeks or months, because only new or modified text is processed.

Cost savings. match plus ensures Continental only pay for the translation of new and modified text, which also means the associated DTP (desktop publishing) costs are slashed.

Support for FrameMaker versions 6 through 11. Content is sent and received in .book and .fm format, with no need for special preparation by Continental.

Automatic indexing. All files, including those in Asian languages, are correctly auto-indexed on completion of translation.

Streamlined process. i plus allows Continental stakeholders to access a complete overview of their jobs within one platform, including reports on deadlines met, cost savings made and real-time job status.

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