Mikron Tool Multilingual Technical Translations – A Case Study
What Mikron Tool is passionate about are tools. Established in 1998 as an offshoot of the former tooling department of Mikron SA Agno, the company has become a global player: their main offices are located in Agno, Switzerland, with additional production and sales operations in Rottweil, Germany, and sales subsidiaries in the US and China.
The company is specialized in the development, production, and sales of small-diameter cutting tools for the processing of difficult to cut materials. A global distribution network ensures that customer proximity is maintained.
Mikron Tool was in need of a website. But not just any website: this had to be an online presence that would provide current and potential customers with information about the company and all necessary product data – in four different languages.
On top of that, these products required particularly extensive explanations. The benefits of the tools had to be properly described in terms of their technical aspects, and the terminology had to be just right, because Mikron Tool sells its products in a price class in which customers do not tolerate mistakes.
English, French, Italian, and Chinese – these were the four languages that needed to be translated into from German. In the past, collaborations with external translation providers often proved difficult. Why? For one, because different translators were responsible for a given language, and secondly, because Mikron Tool had the translations checked by its in-country engineers. This resulted in lost time, extra work, and additional expenses. It also distracted the team from doing their actual work, which was not in the interest of Mikron Tool.
That is why the company was looking for a partner that works with linguists who can deliver high-quality, precise translations that are suitable for the field.
Mikron Tool was referred to an expert to get the job done: Gateway Translations. The first step to success involved assigning a dedicated linguist to each of the languages during the initial consultation with the client. This ensured that the style and terminology would be consistent throughout all translations.
Such linguists are generally hard to find, because these types of technical fields require specialists. In addition to being technically savvy, they also need to have a large vocabulary, the kind that not even technical dictionaries can deliver on. At the same time, the translators must have an understanding of marketing in order to get it just right for the particular field.
Since the source text was written in German, the native staff working at Gateway Translations was able to clarify questions and ambiguities from the start and also during the translation process. This meant that the lengthy corrections that had proven to be so expensive in the past were now ancient history.
To optimize the work process, Gateway Translations created a translation memory for each language pair – a database that would indicate if identical text was used for different products, so that the linguists would translate in a consistent manner. This ensured that the same terminology was used throughout.
Another challenge was presented by the datasheets that had been used previously, which had been translated by different service providers. A multilingual glossary was created, which is continuously updated. So, over the course of several phases, a glossary with technical terms for German, English, French, and Italian was established, allowing the customer to continuously track the translation quality and give the competent divisions the opportunity to amend the glossary. Gateway Translations would then implement the comments during the next phase. As a result, terminology that was used throughout the company could be adapted.
The new Mikron Tool website went live as scheduled. The company and the employees were delighted, and the customers gave very positive feedback, too. Now it was much easier to find what they were looking for – no matter what language. The ever-increasing traffic load proves just how well the site is working. Marco Cirfeta, Head of Sales at Mikron Tool: “Thanks to the professional support of Gateway Translations, we were able to translate a lot of text in a short period of time. Of course, we also provided input and performed verifications. After the first couple of translations, Mikron Tool already benefited from the fact that the competent translators had become familiar with the very specific technical jargon. This is why Gateway Translations will be our partner for future translations.”
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