Translating Technical Data Sheets: A Food Industry Case Study

Polilingua began its journey with a small, dedicated team of language experts and project managers. Over the past 20 years, we have expanded our expertise and adapted to the evolving needs of a diverse client base, ranging from individuals needing personal document translation to multinational corporations requiring complex linguistic solutions. Our mission is simple: to contribute to the success of our clients' businesses by delivering high-quality, reliable language services. 

Today, PoliLingua is a premier translation agency with a network of over 10,000 linguists and industry professionals. With expertise in over 200 languages, we specialize in delivering translation services in various fields, including legal, medical, technical, and marketing.  Our services include translation, interpreting, localization, subtitling, captioning, transcription, desktop publishing, and typesetting.

Translating Technical Data Sheets:        A Food Industry Case Study

Client Issue Overview

Our client is a leading international company in the food industry, specializing in the production of semi-finished products. It holds a prominent position in the French market, particularly in the segments of seafood products, prepared vegetables, and vegetarian dishes. These products are marketed both fresh and frozen across various European countries, including France, Belgium, Spain, Romania, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland, and others.

The client faced significant challenges in sourcing a translation provider capable of fulfilling both linguistic accuracy and technical compliance with European and country-specific standards. They required translations to be integrated directly into their standard product sheets, which are crucial for internal product packaging processes. These sheets are highly technical and specialized, posing compatibility concerns with the translation tools. Moreover, the client needed product files translated to meet specific export market parameters. Translating the content separately from the product sheets proved inefficient, causing misalignment with the client's production and packaging workflows. This necessitated additional internal effort, including the involvement of a dedicated department. To streamline this process, the client decided to outsource the translation task, expecting the translations to be embedded directly within the product sheets. This approach would preserve sheet functionality, ensuring translations would be ready for immediate use in packaging.

Client's Objectives

Client's Objectives

The client's main goal was to ensure that the translated product sheets are accurate, functional, and comply with industry standards:

  • Terminology and Standards Compliance: The client required translations of product sheets that adhere to the specific terminology of the food industry as well as international standards and norms in the field.
  • Technical Implementation: The technical elements of the product sheets should be correctly implemented in the translated files to maintain functionality for subsequent packaging steps.
  • Format and Functionality: The product sheets must be delivered in MS Excel format created by the client, with all technical functionalities preserved and adapted to the target language during the translation process.

PoliLingua Strategy

From the beginning, it was imperative to ensure that the functionality of the product files was preserved throughout the translation process, as any compromise could render the product sheets unusable. To address this, the project was structured in several distinct phases:

  • Each team member involved in the project was trained to thoroughly understand the functions, operations, and features of the product files. This training ensured that they could implement and comply with the required functionality of the frames (product files).
  • We carefully selected native speakers of the target language, focusing on individuals with experience in food translation and familiarity with the client's standards, instructions, and requirements.
  • A dedicated team was formed to verify the translated product sheets on multiple levels. This included linguistic, legal, normative, and technical verification to ensure the functionality of the product sheets was maintained.
PoliLingua Strategy

Process Workflow

  • Manual Preselection of Content: To save our client's budget, we carefully selected only the product description content from the product sheet for translation. At the beginning of the collaboration, we translated sample sentences once and reused them in subsequent translations, eliminating repetitive work.
  • Selection of Linguists: We selected linguists based on their training, expertise, knowledge of lexicon and normative standards in the food sector, and over 5 years of translation experience
  • Linguist Training: Our linguists underwent specific training to align with the client's requirements and instructions
  • Actual Translation:  We accurately translated the selected content, ensuring consistency with previously translated sample sentences.
  • Desktop Publishing (DTP) and Excel Integration: Managing this type of project required the involvement of our DTP team and experts skilled in working with MS Excel calculation formulas and functions.
  • Integration into Standard Documents: We integrated the translated content into standard documents, maintaining their functionality.
  • Final Revision: We conducted a thorough revision of both the translations and the technical aspects of the product files.
  • Quality Control: Our project manager performed a final quality control check to ensure the highest standards were met.
Challenges and Solutions

Challenges and Solutions

During the translation process, we encountered challenges in correctly managing MS Excel format functionalities and ensuring the accuracy of calculation formulas. These issues were critical, as even minor errors could lead to significant discrepancies in the final product sheets. To address these challenges, we established a dedicated team of experts who focused exclusively on verifying and adapting the functionalities to align with the new translations. This team included specialists proficient in MS Excel, who meticulously checked each formula and function to ensure they worked seamlessly in the translated documents.

Another challenge was maintaining compliance with all linguistic guidelines, food standards, and technical requirements while delivering translations on tight schedules. To overcome this, we streamlined our workflow to prioritize these projects and implemented a robust project management system to monitor progress closely. 

Results and Impact

Our dedication to quality has extended our relationship with the client over the past four years, during which we have completed more than 300 projects. Currently, we continue to deliver the expected quality and respond promptly to their requirements and expectations.

Our collaboration has streamlined the client's product file management process by eliminating a work step. By fully handling the linguistic, technical, and normative aspects of the product files, we have enabled the client to become more efficient in their workflow. This efficiency has allowed them to expand their operations, now exporting their seafood products, prepared vegetables, and vegetarian dishes to five additional countries. Additionally, the numerous projects completed have helped the client build a comprehensive term base, simplifying internal translations and reducing additional expenses needed to ensure product file conformity. This has resulted in a 60% reduction in turnaround times and a 20% decrease in translation costs for their international operations.

Results and Impact
Feedback and Conclusions

Feedback and Conclusions

“I wanted to express our satisfaction with your team's work on our most recent project. Their responsiveness and meticulous attention to detail have greatly benefited our workflow. As usual, your work is outstanding.”

Our ongoing collaboration with the client in the food industry has consistently delivered high-quality results, characterized by accuracy, attention to detail, and meeting tight deadlines. By thoroughly understanding the client's needs and integrating our translation work into their product sheets, we have contributed significantly to improving their workflow and operational efficiency. Through our collective efforts, we have successfully delivered translations that not only met all client specifications but also adhered to the stringent international standards of the food sector, all while meeting demanding deadlines and ensuring the integrity of the original product files remained intact.

Having completed over 300 projects in the past four years, we have supported the client's expansion into new markets. Our commitment to delivering high-quality translations remains unwavering, and we are dedicated to continuing this successful collaboration to further enhance our client's capabilities and contribute to their ongoing success in the international market.

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Our translations are performed by translators carefully selected to align with the subject matter and content of your project. They meet and exceed international quality standards. Upon request, we will provide you with a certificate attesting to the precision of our translations