Alto produces vinci’s annual report in english | Pelham Media Ltd.
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Alto produces vinci’s annual report in english

Alto International will be teaming up with Vinci to translate its annual report in late 2017 and early 2018. As usual, the stakes will be high and the deadlines tight.

This is a remarkably complex endeavour and, in our case, involves enlisting more than 15 translators who have been specialising in the Vinci Group’s fields of expertise for years. Some of them spend weeks on the project, others spend months.

It all starts with the kick-off meeting, during which everyone on the project – the financial, legal and communications departments, and the heads of the various subsidiaries – plots out the production timeline. This timeline is detailed down to the exact time Vinci has to send Alto the documents to translate and the time we will send them back – again, over several months. The kick-off meeting is also an opportunity to talk about lessons learnt from the previous year’s report, as part of a continuous improvement drive that Vinci and Alto have embarked on together. Then, each translator gets to work on the texts in his or her field of expertise, and stays in touch with the rest of the team throughout the process.

Vinci’s annual report is more than an update on the group’s finances: it is also a 350-page-long communication vehicle discussing Vinci’s governance, research, development and innovation initiatives, strategy, ethics, corporate social responsibility, and all other aspects of its all-round performance. It contains the group’s activity report, the registration document it files with the AMF (French financial markets regulator) and its sustainable development report.

Over the years, the Alto community has tested and started using a number of new platforms (most recently Trello and Slack) to liaise during the project. Vinci and Alto are entirely open about their working methods and progress. For example, we circulate a who-does-what-and-when chart so our customer can track progress at any point in the project. Our team is available to answer any questions from Vinci, by phone or email, at any time. And we have weekly updates to track overall progress with the customer.

Our translators work in groups of three on the documents (one translates the original French text, one thoroughly revises the translation, another proofreads the English version on layout). We deliver the translated documents to the customer (sometimes including suggestions to improve the original) and deal with any questions from Vinci. Vinci updates each chapter in the French version several times, as the content includes a number of moving parts until the deadline for registration, and we transfer their updates to the English version.

When we have translated all the chapters and have them on layout, the heads of departments at Vinci read the final versions, send any comments and questions to Alto, and the translators make the final decisions on the English text with them. We do more than translate the French version: as our team of seasoned translators is familiar with the Vinci Group and its business, they often flag any typos, content errors and layout issues to improve the French version.


Our graphic designer, meanwhile, works with the agency that Vinci has selected to produce and integrate the layout in English. He is bilingual and fully conversant with the layout rules for the English version as well as the Vinci Group’s stylistic preferences. He works side by side with the translators (laying out their original translations then adding their changes) and with Alto (to make sure production unfolds in synch with Vinci’s timeline). At the same time, he deals with the graphic design agency to settle the English version’s visual and technical details.

Any delay in the French version will cause a full reorganisation Alto’s end. And Alto simply cannot deliver the English version late because Vinci is required to hand out its printed annual report in English and French to its shareholders at their general meeting.

The stakes are very high for Vinci: the English version is not an official registration document in the AMF’s eyes but it plays a vital role conveying Vinci’s messages to non-French-speaking investors and analysts around the world.