ALL – Accor Live Limitless, previously AccorHotels, joined forces with Unbabel to enable a platform-to-platform exchange of content through bespoke integration.
Unbabel started its partnership with Accor in June 2014. It first collaborated with Accor’s Global Marketing Team for Luxury & Upscale Brands (based in Singapore), then extended its support across all Accor brands in 2016, working on several strategic projects.
Accor mostly uses Unbabel’s Professional Translation service. Among its achievements, Unbabel created style guides that fit perfectly with each Accor brand — such as Ibis, Ibis Styles, Novotel, Novotel Suites, and Mercure — and built a custom integration to Accor’s app platform.
About Accor Live Limitless
Founded in 1983, Accor Live Limitless is a world-renowned augmented hospitality company with a portfolio of 54 brands, 5,300 hotels and residences, and presence in 110 countries. Its properties range from budget-friendly homestays to luxury resorts, accommodating the tastes and needs of a wide variety of customers.
Having previously built a solid relationship with the business, Unbabel was chosen by Accor as its partner to help release a global app for all key Accor brands.
During the first year of collaboration, the project had to be managed offline. Accor’s existing platform did not have an outward-facing API, so we exchanged Excel templates to and from Accor’s app platform. It was a Herculean challenge: In the post-translation phase, there could be anywhere up to 70 templates to manually import.
The process, which needed to be handled in tandem with Accor’s technology partner, was further complicated by late amendments to individual content templates that required multiple rounds of revision.
Overall, the project was a resounding success, but it was agreed that in the future its management would need a complete overhaul.
Tailored translation teams
After rigorous linguistic testing to find the perfect fit, Unbabel set up translation teams for each of Accor’s language combinations and carefully studied ALL’s existing style guides and assets to reach a full understanding of its brand and needs.
Unbabel also ensured Accor’s amendments and suggestions would be taken into account by establishing feedback loops, and then committing the final versions to the Translation Memory database for future use.
Accor’s chief priority was the ability to deliver according to a rigorous schedule, which meant that the work had to be divided between multiple translators. Unbabel still guaranteed top-quality translations and thorough consistency to Accor’s terms by assigning the revision of the entire translation to an experienced, native editor and proofreader.
Seamless platform-to-platform integration
Unbabel started tackling this challenge by outlining an integration strategy with Accor’s technology partner. The existing platform did not have an outward-facing API, which added a layer of difficulty to the process; nevertheless, together, they were able to get the interface to work with Unbabel’s API and reach full platform-to-platform integration within six weeks.
The integration was massively successful and allowed Unbabel to push all content directly into translation, removing the need for manual handling of the files and, even more importantly, for manual updating of every language version.
Harnessing machine power
Leveraging the power of Translation Memory (TM), Unbabel was able to offer discounts on repeated terms from project to project.
But when transitioning from the offline process to the new integrated, automated solution, the format of the files changed. This typically means that, while the translatable content remains the same, the structure of sentences also changes (e.g., different formatting tags or segmentation). It can heavily impact the TM matches, as what used to be exactly the same translation can be marked as just “similar,” which would then require an editor to check the translation.
Unbabel’s File Engineering team worked to ensure that any variations in the formatting caused by the exchange from an Excel file structure to JSON would be within the given tolerance. The client wouldn’t pay more for previously translated segments, and the time required for translation wouldn’t be extended or affect the strict deadlines for releasing new versions.
In its first year of partnership with Accor, Unbabel translated over 500,000 words across three sizable projects.
Unbabel translated Accor files from British English into French, Thai, Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Italian, German, Vietnamese, Brazilian Portuguese, Indonesian, and Latin American Spanish.
Unbabel built a bespoke integration to Accor’s app platform in six weeks, achieving a seamless platform-to-platform exchange of content.
Careful alignment of the Translation Memory meant an incredibly high match rate between existing translations and the new set of content in a different file format, reducing translation cost, even for languages like Japanese and Simplified Chinese.
To minimize issues and capture any changes the client required, Unbabel offered Accor an offline review functionality, which allowed for amendments to be implemented at the press of a button.