Are You Talking to Me? Overcoming the Challenge of Multilingual Documents

Most organizations communicate via documents in multiple languages by creating and maintaining parallel document templates. As the document library grows, the task to update and maintain all the templates becomes increasingly time consuming. Modifying templates for wholesale updates, such as address changes or a branding refresh, can turn into months of extra work.

A better approach to multilingual documents is to create a single template that supports multiple languages according to values in a data file. Document composition systems such as Eclipse Corporation’s DocOrigin® insert the correct language text when the document is created. This method ensures document consistency across all languages and drastically reduces template library volumes and maintenance efforts.

The indicator that controls the document language is included in the variable data that drives each document. This is important when companies wish to communicate according to the language preference chosen by each customer. An example might be utility bills for a region that includes many Spanish-speaking customers. When customers open an account, they choose either English or Spanish as their preferred language.  Since the utility company maintains the language tag at the customer level, it can print consecutive documents in various languages and keep the pages in the most efficient sequence for finishing and postal presorting.

As they create document templates, document designers define sections to include static header and footer information, variable text, captions, column headings, and large text blocks to accommodate each supported language. The document composition software selects the proper elements as it creates the documents during production.

In situations where a document center needs to produce all of a company’s or division’s documents in a particular language, DocOrigin customers define a company profile that not only indicates the language preference, but may also control signatures, contact information, logos, or color schemes. This method of document design allows organizations to quickly onboard new entities while maintaining document format consistency and enabling production efficiency and automation.  Company profiles eliminate form design redundancy and decrease testing time, since organizations can test design assembly on a single template. Pre-production quality assurance teams can verify the language and content variations without also inspecting design elements.

See How It Works!

Maintaining duplicate document templates in multiple languages is a hazardous practice. This method makes maintenance more difficult and time-consuming, and it increases the risk of expensive mistakes. Neglecting to update the foreign language version of an English document can cause a company to generate high volumes of erroneous print with outdated content. Obsolete terms and conditions, for instance, can have serious negative effects. Such errors are difficult to spot and could affect several document production runs before the company discovers the mistake.

It may take a little longer to configure data-driven documents to be generated in multiple languages. But companies will reap the benefits of such an approach for the entire lifespan of the documents. With sophisticated software like Doc Origin, companies can generate customer-friendly communications, reduce calls to customer service, maximize document production efficiency, and lower the risk of distributing large volumes of error-laden foreign language documents.