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Translating ‘Check an HGV’ app into eight languages

The UK’s exit from the EU changed the rules for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) entering and leaving the UK. Therefore the Cabinet Office created an app to make sure the process was clear and easy for drivers.

The multiple-choice app gives a step-by-step guide on entering and leaving the UK. To make sure that as many drivers as possible can use the app, it needed to be translated into several languages. The translations needed to be just as clear as the original English text.

The Cabinet Office commissioned us to translate the app into Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Polish, Romanian, Spanish and Welsh in October 2020. There was a very tight deadline to get the app ready in time.

Our expert team translated the English and then reviewed the text on a ‘pre-live’ site to make sure it made sense in context. The app went live in January 2021 and we have since supported the team with small tweaks to align with changes in the law, feedback from stakeholders and changing COVID-19 guidelines.

Project success

Three key actions were crucial to producing quick, accurate translations.

First, we recommended that the English text for the app was finalised and signed off before we started translating. Although this meant the Cabinet Office had to set an early deadline for completing the English text, it saved time and money later in the project.

The second was reviewing translations in a ‘pre-live’ site. This meant our translators were able to work with the wording in situ, ensuring accuracy and clarity for drivers.

We worked closely and collaboratively with the Cabinet Office throughout the process. We provided a single point of contact to ensure clear communication, transparency and ultimately the smooth delivery of this project.

On behalf of the Cabinet Office, Future Borders and the C-HGV team, I would like to pass on our gratitude to you and your team in FCDO Services for the support you have given to the Check an HGV service.

Your particular unwavering commitment and dynamic response to meet all of our demands, has been recognised by the team as exceptional. Your reliable and quick turnaround reduced risk to delivery, and created a high level of trust between departments and contributed to the success of the Check an HGV service.

Eliza Beattle, Deputy Director, Project Director for C-HGV and Supplier Chain Visibility