Believe or not, it’s the end of the year again!
Yes. I know you can smell Christmas coming and before you know it, 2020 is just around the corner. But that’s another story. For another time.
We are talking more about the end of the year being the “Annual Report” season!!
This is the month of financial year end for many corporations and with that a mandatory annual report is always a requirement. With the whole getting more borderless but yet more inclusive at the same time, you see multinationals churning out annual reports not just in their HQ’s language but also in languages of their significant subsidiaries overseas.
Within the next few months, you will see many of their Corporate Communication personnel busying themselves with nothing but designing, writing, collating figures, consolidating information, much to the annoyance of their busy CEOs and chairman, to get them write a special end-of-the-year message, and getting them translated simultaneously into various languages. All these, yes, in the next two months.
If you are one of those people in charge of this annual ritual, we have one question for you. Have you done your preparation work well enough to meet the deadline? Do you have your resources lined-up for the battles ahead?
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Annual Report Season!
At Lingua Technologies International, we too feel the heat. Not that we are preparing our own company’s annual report. That would probably be what our directors would consider a “happy problem”.
But that does not exclude us from all the buzz that’s happening around us. In fact, on the contrary, we are at the receiving end of most of the buzz!
We all know that, just like any publication, the main language version, say English, will take centre-stage, for most of the time. Much attention, effort and resources will be put into trying to come up with the best designs, writing, layout, choosing the best colours etc. just for the master version.
Once that’s been finalised, which unfortunately will take forever, we are only left with the slimmest of all timeline to get the translated version ready for publication.
This intensive period separates the men from the boys.
It is definitely not a task that can be done by anyone who has little or no experience with the production of multilingual Annual Reports. Within a very short space of time, we would need to ensure our resource planning are optimised, starting with the engagement of the right linguists for the job, pre-processing the files to leverage repetitions, converting files for linguists, coordinating with linguists for batch deliveries, coordinating with editors of different languages to edit and revise translations, converting translated files and coordinating with layout artists for the different languages versions, troubleshooting and debugging problems that may arise during the conversion process plus juggling and dealing with the clients’ everchanging requirement on a daily basis. It is certainly anything but a peaceful season for us.
Translating annual reports is one of the most challenging tasks as the work requires and demands precision, speed and expertise. It’s a delicate task, because every process, every word and every figure must be correct. The translation of annual reports also requires a high level of confidentiality as this information are held in utmost secrecy until the day of release.
At Lingua Technologies International, all the different departments work closely together spearheaded by a Project Manager. The Project Manager is clearly the most important person here as he/she coordinates a team of translators and editors specializing in financial publications and investor relations, works with layout artists and clients to produce not only high-quality translation output but also ensuring that deadlines are met.
With annual reports, many of the information are updated daily, mostly on a real-time basis. As such, the information to be translated can be outdated as soon as you received them and new updates are provided the very next moment. These updates can come in chunks or in waves, making the already challenging process even more complex. While this can be seen as a problem, the ultimate must be the figures section like the balance sheet, the income statement and the notes to the financial statement. These are crucial information that will usually not be ready until the very last minute sometime just before the print deadline.
As such, in order to produce different language versions of an annual report, it is not just about having the right linguistic resources. It is about the meticulous attention to details and the ability to anticipate changes and adapt to it as soon as it happens while juggling to coordinate and communicate these changes with all involved.
This is a cycle we have been repeating since 1996.
Yes. End of the year is a time for celebration. To many, it is a time to review the year that has passed. A time to take a good rest before the start of another back-breaking year.
To us, the end of the year is like a warm-up for what’s to come in the new year. If we can make it through the year with on-time and high-quality delivery of these annual reports, we are all set for another year of translation! Bring it on!!