Hachette Antoine

Regional publisher improved the quality of Arabic typesetting, significantly reduced production and review time, and eliminated outsourcing with Typefi automated publishing software.

Hachette Antoine is a regional publisher formed in 2009 as a joint venture between global publishing leader Hachette Livre of France and Librairie Antoine of Lebanon. The company is based in Lebanon and primarily publishes books for the Levant, Gulf, and North Africa.

Hachette Antoine publishes an average of 120 titles per year including textbooks and fiction in Arabic, French, and English. This includes original works in Arabic and translations (into Arabic) of general literature.

The company currently publishes under five imprints including Naufal, Hachette Antoine Lifestyle, Hachette Antoine Kids, Hachette Antoine Reference, and Hachette Antoine Education.

A two-page spread from a Hachette Antoine illustrated Arabic dictionary showing images, captions, headings, subheadings, and graphics.

The challenge: Improving quality and reducing production time for Arabic publishing

Hachette Antoine publishes the majority of its books in Arabic. From the time the company was founded, the production team has used Adobe InDesign for layout and composition because of the software’s robust support for Arabic text.

Over the years, the production team at Hachette Antoine created a large library of well-designed InDesign templates for each of its book categories. Content to fill these templates was authored in Microsoft Word.

All the typesetting work was outsourced. However, there were significant quality issues with the Arabic outputs received from the typesetter. These issues were compounded for mixed language texts where French, English and Arabic were combined in one publication.

The production department at Hachette Antoine consisted of just 5 people, including 2 graphic designers, and there just wasn’t time for this small team to fix all the quality issues and still meet production deadlines.

Keeping up with the editing and rework of Arabic content quickly became overwhelming, and the production team saw an opportunity to automate parts of the publishing process.

After searching for an automated publishing solution, the team discovered Typefi.

Typefi was a good fit for Hachette Antoine thanks to seamless integration with Adobe InDesign and robust support for hundreds of languages including right-to-left languages like Arabic.

The solution: Publishing automation for multilingual content

Hachette Antoine began using Typefi automated publishing software to produce multilingual books in 2013. Transitioning to a new production process using Typefi was smooth and the team was able to continue using existing tools.

Hachette Antoine’s authors still create content in Microsoft Word. Authors now use the Typefi Writer add-in to prepare the Word files for automatic composition.

The production team also continues to use Adobe InDesign. With a large library of InDesign templates already established, the transition to Typefi was easy.

“As long as we had our InDesign templates done with all the master pages, the style sheets, et cetera, it was easy to adapt this into Typefi,” said Pascale Kahwagi, Editorial Director at Hachette Antoine.

The production team now uses a plug-in called Typefi Designer to prepare the InDesign templates for publishing automation. The templates only need to be updated once and can be reused indefinitely.

To produce a publication, the team now uploads the prepared Word file to Typefi, selects the relevant InDesign template, and clicks a button to run the job. Within minutes, Typefi returns the selected outputs: InDesign file, print-ready PDF, EPUB, or all three at once.

“In less than 48 hours I can go to press,” Pascale said. “When you have lots of last-minute edits that affect the layout, you go back to the Word file, you insert your edits, you print, and you have your layout produced in minutes.”

A two-page spread from a Hacehette Antoine publication of Arabic poetry.

Faster production, higher quality typesetting, and a painless review cycle

Today, about 40-50% of the titles published by Hachette Antoine—including novels, dictionaries, and law books—are produced using Typefi publishing automation software.

Typefi completely eliminated the need for outsourcing while significantly reducing production time and improving the quality of Arabic typesetting. E-book publishing is now done in-house, and the review and editing process is drastically shorter.

“It’s really a life-changing tool,” said Pascale Kahwagi, Editorial Director at Hachette Antoine, “and it saves you a lot of stress.”

If edits are needed during the production process, changes can now be made directly in the source Word file. Those changes are run through Typefi to produce a new print-ready publication In English, French, or Arabic in a matter of minutes.

Typefi also enabled Hachette Antoine to publish things that were not possible before, like illustrated dictionaries and classical Arabic poetry. Arabic poetry is very difficult to typeset, and the Typefi scripting team wrote custom scripts to ensure these publications can be produced automatically with perfect typesetting.

“Now when I plan for a publication, the last thing that worries me is the layout phase,” Pascale said. “I know that I can produce a book within hours instead of weeks.”

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We’ll work with you to understand the publishing challenges you’re facing to see how Typefi can help. Start by telling us a bit about your publishing needs and we’ll be in touch!

This case study was adapted from a Wednesday Wisdom interview hosted by our partner, BookMachine, that took place on 21 January 2021.