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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

こんにちは, 你好, olá!


Do you have difficulty understanding what’s written in the line above? Well, that’s exactly the same problem a lot of people around the world face when visiting swiss.com…up until now. 

Hong Li Vu, Marcelo Golovattei and HeeAe Yoo-Wyssen, Intern E-Commerce Zurich

Swiss.com currently appears in five languages, with English serving as its global language. But in some countries with a dominant and widespread local language, such as Brazil, China or Japan, English is not widely spoken.

As we are dedicated to providing the highest possible quality in all our products and services, reducing the language barrier is a matter of course. The “New Language Project” will therefore expand from five to eight the number of official languages in which our website appears.

An internship gave the three of us the opportunity to be part of the “New Language Project”, with each of us taking responsibility for one of the new languages, namely, Portuguese (Brazil), Japanese and Chinese (simplified).

The internship was fully dedicated to the New Language Project, which allowed us to be involved in every step: selecting the translator, proofreading the translations, coordinating appropriate wording guidelines with the respective local markets etc.

Translating a complete website was a massive task. The challenge lay not only in coping with the huge amount of text (approximately 6000 pages) but also in the fact that certain contents were not visible at first glance. Some texts only appeared under certain circumstances (e.g. error messages) and others were well hidden. Finding all the links, pop-ups and every single item in a list was just the beginning.

However, we had more than only translations to deal with. Understanding the whole structure of swiss.com was necessary in order for us to work efficiently. Getting involved with everything about SWISS helped us to provide a proper translation. Especially because the additional languages are not just mere translated texts, our goal was to transfer Swiss values to all visitors to our website.

Reading the complete website and all the translations enabled us to learn a lot about SWISS and also about the airline industry…we now belong to the few people in the world who have actually read the full text covering the conditions of carriage…several times! :-).

We soon realized how complex a website can be and how many different departments were involved in its structure. We were motivated by the many colleagues who did their best to support us. Our E-Commerce team helped us a lot with information related to SWISS and the web content, while we relied on IT to fit the Asian characters into the page design. We worked closely with the local SWISS offices in Brazil, China and Japan since they know best how to meet the expectations of each country’s customer.

As part of the Swiss International Air Lines workforce we also had to give our best to finish the project with the highest possible level of quality so that visitors to the SWISS website experience the company at its best.

That makes us aware of the responsibility on our shoulders and how committed we need to be. That’s quite exciting!

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