Marks and Spencer case study

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Spencer is a leading British multinational retailer specialising in home, clothing and food sectors. They operate 700+ stores in the United Kingdom and in excess of 360 stores in overseas markets.

Following our successful work with a number of other leading UK retailers, M&S approached us to assist them with their translation requirements. After having issues in the past they were keen to ensure the highest quality translations were put in place for their projects.

M&S initially required our services specifically in relation to the food labelling department, ensuring accurate translations were used in ingredients lists and other legal requirements, often with a 24-hour turn around. On a regular day, we handle around 50 translations from the different product ranges on offer. These are sent to us by an international food regulation and labelling company, also working in partnership with M&S. The translators are expected to work on the files using the extensive guidelines supplied by the client and query anything they are unsure of to a team of legal experts at the labelling company They then check all our translations before they are implemented in final artwork. In order to help find the best solution to translation-related issues, we share with them a tracker which is sent daily to the translators, encouraging them to provide feedback from a linguistic point of view.

To ensure we meet and exceed the client’s expectations, we have put a dedicated team of experienced project managers in place to work with M&S at every stage of the translation process. Project managers’ duties involve preparing files for translation and assigning them to translators, dealing with queries from translators, passing on information from the food regulators and ensuring deadlines are met. In addition to this, our onsite account manager liaises with members of the international team at M&S headquarters in London.

This close integration has provided a greater degree of flexibility in our project workflow, we are able to adapt to and undertake projects outside of our original remit of food labelling whenever M&S require it.

One such project provided the opportunity to translate three staff leadership training modules into French. This involved a two stage process that necessitated an artwork element as well as standard text translation.

First, we employed our specialist software tool, memoQ, to handle the text based portion of the project. This allowed us to efficiently manage the translation with a 24 hour turn around as required by the client. memoQ synchronises projects with our dedicated bespoke M&S language memory, this enables us to automatically translate any segments of text that have previously been translated in older client projects.

As we have a specialist team of translators in place who work on food labelling for M&S, we had key people with experience of the brand and their requirements. This allowed us to integrate the new project into our existing client workflow. As the nature of this project differed substantially from the normal requirements it required a slightly different approach, by specifically targeting a translator and proof reader within the existing team who also had experience of copywriting, we could ensure the best possible outcome. Our multilingual project managers are also able to address translator queries directly, discussing aspects of the project at every stage to improve the final outcome and increase overall efficiency.

Once the text translation had been approved, the project was passed to our in-house design studio who implemented the new language into the documents. Due to the increase in length of the translation compared to the source, the design had to be adjusted to accommodate this, whilst still holding true to the original concept. In certain circumstances the new text would not fit, in this case the translator and project manager used their expertise to rework the translation into a more concise format that would fit the design. This allowed us to deliver a high quality set of documents to the client that had taken into account the target market, the original message and the design in a very short timeframe.

Alongside our regular projects for the client, we are able to demonstrate our aptitude for flexibility while maintaining quality and attention to detail, regardless of the subjects involved. Our breadth of experience and expertise across industries allows us to draw on skills wherever they may be required and provide the highest quality product. This has become even more important since the introduction of FIR (Food Information Regulations) and new standards for translated files in accordance with the Europe-wide changes in guidelines. Additions such as a standardised font size and a consistent display method for allergens are now integrated into our translation process to meet the changing demands and requirements.

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