What does “scalability” look like in real life? Consider this: in 1994, worldwide technology leader Toshiba created only printed manuals for its laptop PC’s. Today, all of Toshiba’s documentation exists online as well as in hard copy.
That change in scale has required a nimble, stable, and capable localization partner. Since 1994, that partner has been Rubric.
Our work for the laptop-PC division of Toshiba’s European subsidiary, Toshiba Europe GmbH, has helped the computer manufacturer save more than 80 percent on translation costs, accelerate time to market, and maintain consistently high product standards even as their market expanded exponentially.
Toshiba Europe GmbH markets a wide range of laptop PCs throughout Europe and the Middle East. When Rubric began working with Toshiba in 1994, documents for those computers needed to be localized from English into just three target languages: French, German and Spanish.
By 2004, the number of target languages had swelled to eighteen: Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and U.K. English. The total number of target-language pages had swelled to 94,000 in hard copy and 80,000 online. As the volume of work increased, time-to-market demands intensified: the schedule from first through final drafts shrank from 42 days to just 17. “Sim ship” – simultaneous shipment of multiple language versions – remained an imperative.
Rubric’s solution: anticipate rather than react. We begin each project by producing high-quality English-language documentation, which reduces the time required to format the translated documents by as much as 50 percent.
To streamline the process, we advised Toshiba to use FrameMaker as its source format, which eliminates the step of converting files into DOC format. For special cases, our R&D team has developed custom tools and utilities; for example, because FrameMaker doesn’t support Arabic, we created a tool that converts FrameMaker files to Word. To further streamline the process, our client Portal allows global teams – our and Toshiba’s – to plan, schedule, coordinate, and collaborate efficiently. “We’ve given Rubric a constant flow of projects”, says Erich Rohrmeyer, a software developer with Toshiba Europe. “Rubric’s excellent organisational skills have proven more than equal to the challenge.”
'We've worked with Rubric on an ongoing basis since 1994, and find them to be highly professional and reliable. I am impressed with Rubric's ability to continually scale to meet our largest localization projects.'
Deputy Manager, Software Development, Toshiba Europe GmbH
Partnering for Innovation
Rubric goes beyond simply complying with our clients’ requests. We constantly look for ways to improve the product and to get the customer’s needs even before the customer recognizes them.
Back in 1994, when we saw that Toshiba produced only printed manuals, we suggested that dynamic online manuals published in V-Book format would add value for Toshiba’s customers. Toshiba agreed, and we delivered a product that impressed both our client and their customers. Several years later, we updated the format to PDF. We also developed and implemented 3d documentation technology – allowing the user to visualize and manipulate the product from all perspectives – that further distinguished Toshiba from its competitors.
Throughout our association, Toshiba has contended with constantly changing markets and competitors that cause their work to fluctuate dramatically. Rubric’s file management system has been a perfect match for these conditions: It seamlessly handles multi-language, large-scale projects like Toshiba’s with maximum efficiency.
“Technology markets change rapidly, and Rubric has been exceptionally responsive to our changing needs,” says Toshiba’s Rohrmayer. “Rubric continually overcomes logistical and technical challenges while meeting shipment dates every time.”
Collaborating for success
It takes a high degree of technical savvy to meet the demands of Toshiba’s complex publishing requirements. That’s why Rubric assigns dedicated project managers who work exclusively for Toshiba, meeting several times each year to continually refine the localization process. The result is a collaborative environment that allows for quick response to unanticipated needs. For example, in addition to its large-scale product manuals, Toshiba occasionally needs to localise small documents. Because we work so closely with the Toshiba team, we’re able to turn the small projects around very rapidly, even when multiple languages are involved.
The Rubric difference
Project Management: Our highly trained project managers ensure a thorough, flexible process that delivers quality translations and stays on track and on budget.
Quality: At Rubric we invest in the critical ingredients: good translators and engineers, the tools and support they need, as well as apt checks and balances.
Flexibility: We anticipate change and respond transparently. No degree of change has ever kept us from delivering accurate projects on schedule.
'The only way to support localization volumes as large as Toshiba's is to create an efficient, flexible, and scalable work flow. Thanks to Rubric's file management system, we're able to handle Toshiba's multi-language, large-scale projects seamlessly and rapidly.'
Project Manager, Rubric
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