Five Pillars for Aerospace & Defense Translation Projects

Our Aeronautics and Defense sales manager shares in detail what are the 5 key pillars for their team when approaching a project:

  • Our customers: their profiles and translation needs
  • A variety of formats to translate, adapted translation processes
  • Words and people: our team
  • Data security at Acolad 
  • Artificial Intelligence applied to translation

Our clients: their profiles and translation needs

The Aerospace & Defense division of Acolad works for the main French prime contractors in the defense and land, aeronautical and naval security industries. For some, this collaboration has lasted for more than 20 years. . In other words, commitment and confidentiality are the watchwords of our translators and project managers! More specifically, we work either upstream of our customers' bids - for example, with their engineering teams to translate responses to calls for tender, particularly technical specifications - or during the equipment acceptance phase, with our customers' Technical Documentation departments or their document engineering service providers. This does not mean we can't work for other departments, such as Legal, Finance, Quality or Marketing.

A variety of formats to translate, adapted translation processes

In terms of document typology, the spectrum is wide: user documentation, maintenance manuals, IPC (Illustrated Parts Catalogue), training materials or even HMI (Human Machine Interface).

A variety of documents means a variety of formats: apart from all the classic files of the Office suite, we process both files from developers to localize HMIs, as well as video subtitles, audio transcriptions, or any illustration.

The largest volumes that we translate in the Aerospace & Defense sector are unequivocally structured modular documentation content, mainly DITA, SGML, XML, FrameMaker XML files. We can support all these different file formats thanks to our CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools which allow us to translate the text by overwriting while preserving the structural tags and capitalizing on bilingual TM (Translation Memories) enriched as the documents are translated.

In this way, we gain in speed, thanks to a sustained translation rhythm, in quality, with a guarantee of terminological consistency, and in savings, since we don't have to re-translate previously translated content.

In the field of structured documentation, we also offer one of our customers a complete editorial chain: we select the content to be translated, export it to our CAT tool and import it back into our customer's EDM (Electronic Document Management) tool, right through to final publication of the translated version in PDF format. In this way, our team of linguists works in phase with our customers' teams of technical writers.

We can also take charge of a customer's translation request workflow. For example, behind one of our customer's translation request management platforms, one of our experienced project managers is actually at the helm. This relieves the customer of the complexities of our business and ensures optimum handling of their translation requests.

Finally, we offer another "format" for content translation: oral interpreting. We provide interpreting services, mainly liaison interpreting, to accompany our customers at their meetings or other events.

Words and people: our team

The common base of our team is our expertise in linguistics and technical translation. From translators to project managers, and sometimes even to some salespeople, we all have a linguistic background and at least 20 years of experience in our field. Our translators are also often trained engineers.

For certain projects in the defense sector, certain members of our team of linguists are accredited. For highly confidential projects that cannot leave French soil, we assign the documents to be translated only to French nationals residing in France. We can also send qualified translators on-site.

In addition to the fact that we have the internal and external resources to translate into over 70 languages, when we assign a project to a translator, it's not enough for them to translate into their mother tongue - the state of the art in the profession: we also select them according to their area of expertise. A technical translator does not translate legal or communication documents, and vice versa.

To translate well, you need to understand what you're talking about!

We qualify our new resources through translation tests. Once a new translator is qualified, we give him or her the opportunity to work on projects with the support of senior translators.

In project management, we work in pairs. Each customer has a sales manager and a dedicated project manager. This pair works upstream of the project to analyze the customer's needs, study technical feasibility, set up schedules, draw up an appropriate technical and financial offer, and assemble the appropriate translation team.

We see ourselves as a true partner and advisor to our customers, anticipating difficulties and making suggestions.

Learn more about our services dedicated to the Aerospace & Defense industry

Data security at Acolad

Given the sensitive subjects we deal with, we must follow extremely strict rules in terms of computer security and data security . Our premises are thus protected with access control and we work on our proprietary computer servers located in France near our head office. We apply a multi-factor authentication method on our business applications and the antivirus works continuously on the entire IT area of ​​Acolad.

In our exchanges with our clients and our external translators, we use various methods to secure highly confidential data: encrypted containers, secure platform with password – out of the question to use public sending platforms! We may also be required to destroy data on our network with a destruction report if the customer so requests.
In terms of standards, Acolad France obtained ISO 9001:2015 certification for its quality management system. And we are currently working on ISO 17100 certification , an international quality standard specific to the translation sector. Acolad Spain and Acolad Belgium are already certified.

Artificial Intelligence applied to translation

As you already know, AI-based technologies have also been developed in the translation business and the results in Neural Machine Translation (NMT) (5) have been really convincing for 4-5 years. But as in any innovation, it is a question of not playing the sorcerer's apprentice. Exploiting NMT is not suitable for all translation projects , although it may be tempting to use this technique to obtain an almost instantaneous result. First and foremost are issues of data privacy . If you pass entire documents through certain public automatic translators, your data escapes you and is used to train these engines, contrary to what is recommended by the European GDPR (6). This may not be a problem for isolated portions of text, but it may become so for documents covered by commercial or industrial secrecy.

At Acolad, we have been investing in R&D on this subject since 2014. Our engineers from Acolad Labs specialized in Machine Learning and NLP (7) have thus developed a machine translation platform trained with data specific to each Acolad business sector. – Technical, Financial, Legal… and on our own servers hosted in France .

Imagine that one evening you received a 300-page invitation to tender in German in PDF format. It is more than frustrating to have to incur translation costs for a call for tenders that you are not sure of winning, or to want to respond to it and moreover having to wait more than a week for the return of the translation. so you can start working on your response package. Thanks to our NMT solution, we can provide you with a usable French or English translation within 1 hour to start working on the AO and at a cost up to 80% less than a traditional translation. In addition, you will be able to reuse the English version to write your response to AO in English.

To gain in terminological precision, we can also customize our translation engines by associating them with customer memories that we enrich as the translations are carried out.

Then it's all a question of dosage. Raw machine translation is perfectly applicable for work documents. For documents intended for publication, neural translation should be combined with post-editing by a professional translator in order to achieve a level of publishable quality.

The question to ask yourself before requesting a translation is that of its purpose: is it a translation that will only be used for your work or a translation intended for publication? What is the degree of urgency? Our translation company is there to help you target your request and find the appropriate technical response. Let's talk about it !

(1) Illustrated Parts Catalog – Nomenclature
(2) Human-Machine Interface
(3) Computer Aided Translation
(4) Electronic Document Management
(5) Neural Machine Translation
(6) General Data Protection Regulation
( 7) Neural Language Processing – Automatic Natural Language Processing

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