Hiab Solves Multilingual Documentation Challenges with Phrase & Paligo

February 28, 2023
image is of a HIAB forklift

Managing multilingual documentation can be a complex and time-consuming task, especially when you are a company like Hiab, which needs to produce almost 200 ever-changing product specs and instructions in multiple languages. This is also especially challenging when you need to ensure all of your documentation is accurate, up-to-date, and consistent with other teams across the company. Hiab found itself in this situation until discovering a combined solution with Paligo and Phrase.

Company overview

Hiab is a leading provider of smart and sustainable load handling solutions, committed to delivering the best customer experience every day with the most engaged people and partners. As the industry pioneer, Hiab continues to make load handling smarter, safer and more sustainable to build a better tomorrow.

Hiab is part of Cargotec Corporation. Cargotec (Nasdaq Helsinki: CGCBV) sales in 2022 totaled approximately €4 billion.

Challenges to solve

As far back as 2008, Malin Törnblom, and her technical writing team at Hiab, were aware of the emergence of a new kind of content management system that incorporated components. Before this, they simply did not have an ideal solution for producing ever-changing product specs and instructions in multiple languages.

The decision was made to move to a content management system to ease some of the workload. However, after researching content management options and taking their core needs into consideration, it was apparent that the best solution would be a component content management system (CCMS).

At the time, there were not many options for a CCMS, and they chose to utilize the services of DocZone, a DITA-based CCMS with a built-in translation tool. It was a much better solution for their technical documentation, but as things progressed, they had to perform much of their own customization as the system was becoming outdated and the company was not focused on integrations that matched the customers’ needs. In addition, this system only allowed the use of one translation agency, and they were not allowed to repurpose the translations.
By 2017, Malin and her team set out to find a more flexible and modern CCMS. Among other wants, their main requirements included:

  • An online built-in editor. The DITA system Hiab was using before Paligo was a separate tool that required ‌writers to export, write the XML and then import it back. Also, the system was required to run on a desktop, which was not optimal.
  • A system with more freedom to change layouts and templates. At the time, there was an additional cost for any change.
  • Integration with translation tools that could be selected by Hiab. The point was to have the translation tool separated from the CCMS, but able to integrate and work with the CCMS together with the other tools within Hiab.
  • The ability to output in different channels, such as HTML, PDF and XML.
  • A taxonomy system for topics in order to make an external knowledge base.

The Paligo CCMS was chosen based on the great fit with these core requirements.

Implementation and Benefits of the Paligo CCMS

Onboarding for Paligo was easy because of the user–friendly interface and great support. Paligo has significantly cut the time it used to take to create and publish technical documentation. Malin explains, “Paligo changed the way we worked. It forced us to clean up our content structure. It was clear that daily operations were much faster than in the old system.”

The team also appreciates how user-friendly the Paligo CCMS has been. Some of their favorite features are the drag-and-drop capabilities of topics and publications and the ease of content reuse. Malin points out that it’s much easier to work together on topics, or even to borrow and improve on each other’s topics, which allows content to be reused in more publications than before.

My team is distributed all over Europe, and Paligo makes collaboration so much easier with things like notifications when something is out for translation.

The contribution feature is also a favorite with the team. Before Paligo, only one person at a time could go into the content being reviewed, which increased the amount of waiting time. Now they can send something for review by a subject matter expert with the contributor function and know what is happening in real time.

Everyone agrees that Paligo has a very user-friendly editor. Our technical writing team has different backgrounds; some in web design, some with online editing systems and others with zero coding experience. But we all agree it is very easy to learn how to use tags in the editor and we really like that you can preview things immediately.

Another plus point for Paligo is that the developers and support team are open to ideas and suggestions. The Hiab technical writers feel like their needs are being listened to and they appreciate the possibility to affect the roadmap of the Paligo CCMS. The team has been able to submit feature requests, and if other companies find this useful, they will often see these updated in the Paligo CCMS.

One thing that everyone agrees on is that it’s so easy to train a new employee even if they don’t have any prior experience with a CCMS.

Translation management

At the end of 2009, the EU Machinery Directive came into effect, stating that all machinery must be accompanied by instructions in the official community language or the languages of the Member State in which it is placed on the market or put into service. Because Hiab does business with so many countries in the EU, this made choosing the right Translation Management System (TMS) one of the most important decisions for the technical writing team.

It was also important that the TMS and the CCMS would be able to work together. In addition to product and instruction manuals, there were interfaces and programs that required translation. Luckily, Hiab found a great fit with Phrase.

Phrase and Paligo: A perfect fit

Phrase (formerly Memsource) is a Translation Management System that caters to a wide range of translation and localization needs and works great with Paligo in a direct integration. The system not only works well with Paligo, but also provides HIAB with highly integrated add-ons for their PIM (Product Information Management) system and webshop, and the possibility to take in Word or Google Doc files to do translations in the same tool.

Hiab translates their product information into approximately 28 languages at the moment. And it’s not just product information, but also bulletins and instructions on demand. However, the main focus is on the operation manuals.

Three times a year, Hiab schedules change events with added and updated product information. Since they are obligated to provide printed manuals with all equipment, if there is a new feature implemented or an update to instructions, this information must be sent out to all customers in their official community language.

The combination of Paligo and Phrase is a huge time saver when one considers the amount of documentation required to update manuals and installation instructions in so many languages. “If there’s a new feature implemented in one of our products, we need to make sure that the correct equipment has the correct version of the manual in time.”

Another time-saver is the opportunity in Paligo to branch topics. Malin says, “If an engineer comes to me and says we are changing the oil intervals on a particular machine, I can now easily put it on the list to be updated during our change events.”

Of course, there are also other live services like bulletins or minor instructions that Hiab needs to translate on demand, but the change events are the main thing, and Phrase has been a great support in that respect.

Malin says, “You can understand that we have just under 200 publications with many needing translation, and we need to build and generate tons of PDFs. So it’s quite a big process to kick off every time we are getting close to a change.”

We would never be able to accomplish this amount of work without both Phrase and Paligo

Advice for companies considering a CCMS

When asked if she has any advice for other companies considering a CCMS, Malin emphasizes how user-friendly the Paligo CCMS has been with implementation.

There are tons of new products out there, but right now, Paligo covers everything that we need. We are all very happy with Paligo.

Your company may also benefit from the Paligo CCMS. To learn more about how our system can fit your needs, explore more here , or schedule a demo.