New Booktype output features create laid-out, print-ready PDFs across languages


Amnesty International has just published their 2015/16 Annual Report, a 400-page publication on the state of human rights in 160 countries. Each chapter is written by a regional expert and translated into nine languages, including Simplified Chinese and right-to-left Arabic, which are delivered simultaneously every year. To manage the complex publishing workflow, Amnesty International migrated the key aspects of the project and team to the Booktype publishing platform for the second year in a row.

Amnesty International adopted open source Booktype in 2014 due to its requirement for a single-source dynamic publishing system that was capable of managing nine different language teams on one platform. Booktype allows editors and translators to manage thousands of individual pages right from their browser. With updates to politically sensitive information arriving at any time up to the print deadline, identifying exactly where text had to be changed was a challenge for Amnesty International translators, one which Booktype helped them overcome.

The Booktype team created a seamless workflow from the import of translations to the export of multiple output formats on demand. Authors and translators upload Microsoft Word® documents using pre-defined styles which are mapped to HTML and CSS classes. After editorial and tagging corrections, the book is converted automatically into various PDF, EPUB and website-ready formats.

“Sourcefabric has been really collaborative, working closely with the Amnesty International team to ensure a smooth delivery in all language formats in print and online. This has made for a great customer experience”, said Caroline Stomberg, Head of Publishing, Amnesty International.

Booktype replaces Adobe InDesign®

For this year’s annual report, Booktype produced automatically generated print-quality PDF layouts for nine languages and versions, including Simplified Chinese and right-to-left Arabic. The resulting laid-out, print-ready PDF was created directly from the XHTML source using a single CSS3 stylesheet controlling the design. To create the print version of the entire book, the editor simply had to press a button. The Booktype team was able to reduce the PDF delivery time from hours to minutes.

This was a major shift from the production workflow in the previous year, where Amnesty International used Booktype’s XML-export for Adobe InDesign® to maintain control over the final touches in the manual layout. This year, Booktype did it all at once. This eliminated Adobe InDesign® from the production workflow entirely.

Full revision history to manage changes for translators

To manage updates of politically sensitive information across many languages and against tight deadlines, Booktype is now equipped with a full revision history. This feature exports a report of all changes since the original upload of the Microsoft Word® documents. When there are edits to the source chapter, the whole chapter text is shown for context, with revision timestamps and highlighting for deleted and inserted text. This history report can be saved to a local computer as a standard HTML page and shared with editors and translators who do not have access to Booktype.

“After last year’s successful cooperation, this year’s focus was to make it even easier for Amnesty’s team to work with Booktype. The automatic layout generation was an especially big step towards optimising the workflow further", said Julian Sorge, Managing Director at Booktype GmbH. "The possibility for editors to create a fully rendered book file at any stage of the process with just one click was essential. This enabled the team to have the complete editing and proofreading process in one place without any media breaks.”



Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.


Booktype is an open source platform that produces beautiful, engaging books formatted for print, web and almost any e-reader within minutes. Booktype GmbH was founded in Berlin in 2015 to develop the Booktype software for single source publishing. Booktype GmbH is a part of Sourcefabric z.ú, Europe’s largest open source software development organisation for journalists and newsrooms.


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