Work September 7, 2015

“Can you juggle? We can.”

Living Word
By Living Word
This post is just: 3 minutes to read

In 2012, a German branding communication agency asked if we would take on the translations for their client, Chevrolet Europe, on an ongoing basis. Having already worked on their Scandinavian and Belgian websites, things were about to go to a whole new level.


Chev logo2

So that’s more than 40 markets then. And 38 languages. From Azerbaijan to Austria, Iceland to Italy, Belgium to Belarus, Spain to Sweden. But this wasn’t to be a few simple documents. These were car specifications, descriptions, explanations of the cars’ features, photo galleries and so on.

There were ten Chevrolet models and many of them had a number of versions: L, LS, LD, Sport….

Oh, and let’s not forget articles about how best to enjoy your Chevrolet, features on some of the best drives in Europe for cruising, spectacular views, serene cities and captivating castles.

Contained within this one, long-term project was everything that translation could encompass: creativity, headlines, technical translation, marketing, news, statistics, information, legal notices…

Chev inset

And, of course, deadlines. We had a maximum of ten days for most translations, while others were needed far sooner.

All these balls were thrown into the air at once – and we had to keep them moving.

Chevrolet were keen to create a tone of voice for each country to communicate their brand. So, for each market we handpicked a primary translator and proofreader who each had the technical knowledge, brand awareness and creative flair to satisfy Chevrolet’s exacting standards.

We had to ensure the technical terminology was accurate and consistent for all markets, so we created query sheets and glossaries to record the official or preferred translations of certain words and phrases for each language.

Is it a 4×4, an off-roader or an SUV? A pick-up truck or a station wagon? Different markets often use different terms, even if they share the same language, so local knowledge was also key to getting the meaning right.

We abandoned our usual office software and devised a whole new way of keeping track of every translation for every language and every market, what stage it was at, who was working on it, word counts, deadlines and queries.

Deadlines would change and specifications revised as we went along… so this really was some juggling act and keeping track of up to 70 linguists at any one time meant we couldn’t afford to take our eye off any ball for a moment.

“From the beginning of our co-operation, Living Word has been a reliable partner. They always stick to their timings, they are flexible even with time-critical jobs and they do not just translate copy, they care about the real meaning. They are professionals and it is a real pleasure to work with them.” German branding agency

And even now, as Chevrolet withdraw from Europe, we’re still working hard for them – websites still need to be updated and translation remains a key element of the process.

10 models. 38 languages. 40 markets. Countless words.

Our translations have helped keep Chevrolet’s websites in top gear.

And those balls are still in the air!