How to approach a multi-format translation and complete it smoothly?

What do we mean by a “multi-format translation”?

Put simply, it is a translation that involves a variety of file formats, other than text files, such as the content of a website, presentation, or email. Information and content is spread across several formats and kept on different media.

In most translation projects, content for translation is found in various file formats. To produce an effective translation, it is necessary to both translate accurately and optimise translations for the various media involved.

There is not always an awareness of the complexity involved in these translations. However, they require specific expertise.

In this article, we will give you five good reasons to seek assistance with multi-format translations.

Why do translations involve an increasing number of formats?

We have an ever wider range of technologies, ways to use information and content to communicate, particularly with the growth of the web, including websites, apps, online help, software, blogs, the cloud, and the list goes on.

What’s more, the challenge is to translate all this in the various languages spoken by users and not just English.

Translation therefore requires knowledge of all these formats and the ability to rapidly integrate content in the translated version, in the right place in the target layout.

Let’s take three scenarios that illustrate multi-format translation needs:

As part of a transformation project, an ERP change in an international company.

These projects demand regular and accurate communication in all countries where the company is located.This involves various files, content and carriers, including communication documents, training materials (text, videos, apps), tutorial videos, and presentation documents (such as webinars).The diversity of communication channels in the company means that many different types of documents are used, which need to be translated in several languages.Not to mention oral presentation media, for both in-person training sessions and webinars.With all of these communication options, it is necessary to be able to switch between different files and templates (text, presentation, software, web page, video, etc.), without harming the source content or target format, while reusing translations in all the necessary languages, so that the project is clearly understood.

E-commerce and retail translations for a BtoC product manufacturer.

So that products are present on all e-commerce websites and in all the other distribution channels, a very large amount of product data needs to be translated in several formats.

For example: product labels, “product benefits” used online, descriptions, presentations (written, spoken, demos, etc.), and videos (product, advertising).

Managing all this is a challenge for marketing teams. The need to centralise data and think about how to adapt them in target languages requires in-depth expertise. A suitable translation management system is therefore needed.

While companies have systems (PIMS, DAMS, etc.) that enable management of data in the source language, their translation management capabilities remain limited. They need a translation specialist by their side!

For a SaaS or cloud software publisher, translation of apps and software, as well as all the related documentation.

When translating software from the source to target language, a publisher not only needs to translate the data and interface (json, html, etc. formats), it must also take care to work on idiomatically adapting the translated version to the destination country (i.e. localisation), as well as files such as online help, training documents, etc. They must all be coherent between themselves and with the translation of the application interface.

These examples of demanding projects demonstrate the scale of challenges involved in translating in multiple formats, which are to achieve:

  • Impeccable translation quality,
  • Perfect consistency of content and its integration in the various formats and media.
  • Simple and fast delivery in each format.

This applies even when such translations involve only one language. When several languages are involved, the challenge is many times greater.

Why you should turn to an expert language service provider (LSP) for your translation needs:


Ensure consistent translation quality between the different types of content and media.

If you call on several translators without coordination for each type of content or file, you run the risk of terminological inconsistencies.

An LSP will always translate the strategic terms in your content the same way. They will ensure consistency of the terms used and tone (style).

To do this, an LSP will use a translation memory and professional tools, which will form the backbone of your translations.


Have ready-to-use documents.

Unlike most freelance translators, who mainly work with text files that then need to be integrated into their final form by the client, an LSP is able to handle all types of formats and deliver a formatted document that is ready to use immediately in each target format, for example:

With technical projects in particular, there are proprietary software formats that have very specific requirements (such as AutoCAD, InDesign, XML, Json and WordPress).

Most LSPs are able to extract the content and reintegrate it without damaging the initial layout.
The translated content will then be rendered in the right format. This avoids extra work that can lead to errors and wasted time.


Build on a solid project management foundation.

Translation in multiple formats requires expertise and the ability to deliver a finished translation project on time.

Implementation of a multi-format translation project therefore requires faultless management, including coordination with localisation engineers, who have the expertise required to handle any type of format.
Beyond the translation itself, timely processing of files and content is a real challenge.

An LSP will be able to assess how much time is needed for each stage, and then plan and schedule them so as to shorten lead times, while handling translation into several languages. It will use specific methods to achieve this.

The role of a language service provider like EuropaTrad is to offer a personalised service for your multi-format translation projects.


Control translation lead times and therefore costs.

By analysing reused or repeated sentences, and setting up or creating translation memories, you will be able to both save time and money.

This translation strategy will certainly have positive effects in the long-term, and even if you only have a one-off translation need.


Ensure long-term coherency of your content

It is the responsibility of an LSP to prepare for subsequent usage of a translation (project development).

Right from the outset of a project, an LSP will look to help you build a long-term translation strategy, including by planning ahead and adapting to your future needs (document updates, additional configuration, data management, etc.).

Adopting such a strategy will enable you to ensure continuity of your translations going forward.

With the increasing number of online information and communication channels (apps, communication tools, software, the cloud, etc.), and maintenance of legacy technology, it is necessary to constantly adapt, and have compatible tools.
We structure translated data so as to be able to reuse them in the future and we plan ahead by keeping our tools (CAT – Computer-Assisted Translation) up to date.