Publishing in Translation
‘Words travel worlds. Translators do the driving.’ – Anna Rusconi
Although we are based in London, we have worked regularly with translation partners to produce corporate histories in a variety of languages and tailored to different audiences. We have handled translated works in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Russian and Welsh and throughout this process we have gained extensive experience in managing the design of books in multiple translation simultaneously.
With our publication The Conscience of Europe: 50 Years of the European Court of Human Rights we published the English and French editions simultaneously (both languages being the official languages of the Court), which meant that our design team had to create a flexible template that could accommodate the different text lengths for each book. Following our success with these two editions, we later published a Russian language version, liaising with the Russian publisher and organising the distribution of the books into Russia.
Our 800th anniversary portrait for the University of Cambridge was published in Chinese and we worked with a foreign language teaching unit of the University to edit the content and decide what material we needed to retain and what information should be reworked for the different audience. Unlike the English edition, this edition in translation was published as a pocket paperback, as a format better suited for the new market.
Most recently we have worked on Edizione and Pirelli, two corporate histories that were first published in Italian. For both projects we published the books for the UK trade and so it was vital to design covers that worked for the UK market and paid respect to the design features and heritage of the first editions.
The Italian cover for Edizione featured a palazzo illustration of their headquarters in Treviso against a grey textured background, with red as a bold statement colour in the typography and flaps. For the English translation we softened the colour palette and, while working within the heritage of the initial illustration, we simplified the detail and placed the image across the front and back cover. Our textured background echoes the textured background of the first edition and the newly debossed illustration adds depth and tactile finish. A move to a slimline serif typography modernises the cover, while still reflecting the historical content of the book.
Similarly, the Italian edition of Pirelli featured an illustration that we reworked for the English translation, rearranging it on the cover to become the feature design element and wrapping the image around the book to play with the idea of movement inherent in both the car illustration and Pirelli itself.
Our work with the Arts and Heritage sector has continuously emphasised the importance of engaging with our heritage, and within these two recent translation projects we have thoroughly enjoyed exercising our passion for respecting a company’s history and working closely with them to update its presentation to a new audience.