Icon Magazine is one of the world’s finest architecture and design magazines. Every issue features interviews with the most exciting architects and designers in the world, visits to the best new buildings, analysis of the most interesting new cultural movements and technologies, and reviews of an eclectic range of exhibitions, books, products and films.



Expansion into China

Icon wanted to expand the reach of the magazine into China to capture the groundswell of interest in architecture and design in the country.

The Global Lingo team collaborated closely with the team at Icon, as translation was a new area for them. A long time was spent discussing the challenges of the project, answering questions and ensuring all their deadlines and budgets could be met. We put a lot of effort into creating a strong relationship with our customers as it makes delivering projects a lot easier for both sides.

Icon’s editorial team made the decision to create a Simplified Chinese version of the magazine using the best articles from previous editions of the English language publication. To mitigate the risk of a huge print run, they elected to make the first translated publication available online and via an iPad edition. On top of that, they set a strict one-month deadline to coincide with industry conferences in China.

The magazine has a reputation for its high design quality, so any translation needed to be accurate, but to fit with the overall aesthetics of the magazine so Chinese readers would understand the design values Icon has created with its English editions.

Selecting the right Chinese typeface for the design

As design was such a crucial element of the project, the Global Lingo team liaised with Icon’s design team to come up with samples of Simplified Chinese type which would match the design style of the English language magazine. Several test layouts were created using the typeface to ensure the layout and brand of the magazine would transfer with the translated edition.

“Global Lingo were on hand every step of the process and for that I was extremely grateful. Translating Icon into Chinese and within such a limited time-scale was a completely new experience for the team but Global Lingo made it extremely easy and fuss-free.”

Marketing and event manager, Media 10 Ltd.

Once the correct typefaces had been selected, Global Lingo’s teams of linguists, editors and DTP specialists were fully briefed on how to handle the project.

The edition of the magazine to be translated contained over 130 pages – quite a challenge when there is only a month to deliver translated, proofread, quality assured, publication-ready documents. So, to meet the deadline, we managed the project on a rolling basis:

  • Received Adobe InDesign files from the Icon team as they were completed
  • Extracted and analysed text for repetitions to create a translation memory
  • Sent files to the selected Chinese linguists to translate
  • Completed translations passed to pre-approved proof readers
  • Approved copy sent to Global Lingo’s DTP specialists to apply translated text to layouts

“They were readily available for questions and changes and went out of their way to make sure the experience was as easy and enjoyable for us as possible. I would wholeheartedly recommend using them again and I hope with the growth of our Chinese readership and the development of new Chinese exhibitions within Media 10’s portfolio that we will be able to work with them in the future.”
Marketing and event manager, Media 10 Ltd.

The results

The resulting Simplified Chinese edition of Icon is a thing of beauty. With the support of Icon Magazine’s design and editorial team, Global Lingo delivered not only an excellent translation from English into Chinese which reflected the ethos and values of the publication, but also met all budgetary and deadline requirements.

The translated editions were well received by the Chinese audience, creating opportunities for Icon Magazine to increase their readership significantly to new audiences.

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