Globalization requires paying attention to many details, some of them unexpected. As IPC began increasing the number of standards that are translated and converting documents into more languages, they quickly found that one drawing can be worse than 1,000 words.
Translating large volumes of text in technical documents is challenging, but it’s very straightforward. But when multiple callouts are within technical drawings, translators have to redraw the images to change the terms. That becomes very time-consuming and expensive, while greatly increasing the potential for errors.
Technical drawings didn’t pose a major challenge when IPC translated only a few select standards into a couple languages. But the drive to make IPC standards more adaptable to today’s global market means that more standards are being translated into more languages. Chinese, German, French, Romanian, Italian and Portuguese are a few of them.
IPC came up with a fairly simple way to solve this problem. In new standards, callouts are numbered. Text located below the image tells readers what the corresponding numbers show. This text can be translated without altering the image, saving plenty of time and expense. It’s one more way that IPC is responding to global markets while improving operating efficiency.