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Customer Success

The R&A:

Creating a single point of reference for all translations


Based in St Andrews, Scotland, The R&A engages in and supports activities for 156 golfing organisations worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, and on behalf of over 30 million golfers in 143 countries. Together with the USGA, The R&A governs the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions while sharing a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards.

The Rules of Golf are updated every few years, but the changes to the Rules of Golf that came into effect on 1 January 2019 saw some of the most significant changes made to the Rules of Golf in over 60 years. This Rules Modernisation project not only saw a complete update of the Rules of Golf, but a new Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf was also introduced for the first time. Communicating these changes to organisations and players around the world in different languages was a daunting project that needed to be completed thoroughly and efficiently.

In addition to distributing print versions of the Rules of Golf and Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golf, The R&A understood the importance and benefits of making the Rules available digitally through their websites and mobile apps and in multiple languages. To align with this modernised approach, The R&A’s technical product manager Graeme Smith looked for a technology solution to centralise these rules and created a single point of reference for all affiliated organisations and their translators.

The Challenge:

  • Out-of-sync versions of rules. Once English translations were passed off to affiliated organisations to translate, rules around the world became out of sync. There was no single source of content that stayed up to date that affiliates could confidently work from at any time.
  • De-centralised affiliates serving as translation resources. Rather than being translated by professional translators, the Rules of Golf are mainly translated by volunteers from affiliated organisations. Terminology specific to the Rules of Golf made it important for golf experts to serve as the translators - and even more important that the translation management system they used was intuitive to non-linguists.
  • Cross-channel touchpoints for golf resources. The R&A needed to ensure consistency across Rules detailed on its website, apps, and print documents. This became challenging to track.

The Solution: Smartling

Using Smartling Cloud Translation, The R&A realised the following benefits:

  • Using Sitecore website as single point of reference for all translations. Using the Rules detailed on their Sitecore site as the single source of truth, The R&A pushed the same content out to affiliated organisations in different locales to translate. The R&A was able to control the process in which translation projects were updated and delegated.
  • Supporting 30-40 languages. The flexibility of the Smartling tool facilitated a smooth onboarding process for R&A’s volunteer translators from their affiliated organisations, allowing them to easily contribute their subject expertise to the translation process.
  • Custom solution to accommodate visual context. Given the unusual set-up of their content (golfing rules followed by series of sub-rules), Smartling’s Professional Services team created a custom solution to accommodate visual context for The R&A’s translators.