Working with translations: Version control

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) recently published Trade and Green Economy: A handbook, the third edition of a handbook that examines the relationship between trade and the environment. The third edition focuses specifically on the green economy, which UNEP defines as an economy “that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.”

Pages from 20141007 Trade GE Handbook FRENCH - INSIDE Talk Science did the copy-editing, proofreading and design of the English version of this handbook, as well as the design of the French and Spanish versions. We didn’t do the translation, copy-editing or proofreading of the non-English versions, but since we did design for all three, we handled a good chunk of the project management as the manuscript passed through us on the way to the designer.

With this project, we were managing parallel versions of the document, but it wasn’t quite a straightforward parallel: two of the documents were translated from the third, which meant that they were dependent on that third document. Any changes made to

Coordinating cooks: Working with live designs

The State of Sustainability Initiatives Review is a massive report, created every four years, by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, one of Talk Science to Me’s oldest clients. We were asked to copy-edit, design and proofread this epic masterpiece, weighing in at 365 pages. The design portion of the project, with its more than 400 figures, tables and images, was mine.

State of Sustainability Initiatives Review 2014 cover © International Institute for Sustainable Development 2014The SSI report, which evaluates voluntary sustainability initiatives in 10 major agricultural crops, is a massive undertaking of research and writing, and my task was to honour the content and create a logical, readable, accessible—i.e., well-designed—version for our client’s readers, which include experts in the field, laypeople and the media.

The central problem in the design process, which had to be completed—including working with the proofreader—in about a month, originated from a seemingly non-design-related question: who was providing content, and when were they delivering it?

Solve that problem well, and the report would be better designed for it.