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Through Spreadsheets to the Stars: the Story of TransferGo

We all love stories. Stories of success, in particular. Stories that we can relate to and inspire ourselves with.

Today’s story is about a project that started back in 2012. We are proud to be not just humble spectators of its vigorous growth, but also participators, offering our services as a localization platform. Please meet TransferGo, experts in international payments and cryptocurrencies with more than 800.000 users around the world!

Case study

Founded in 2012, TransferGo is one of the top UK money transfer companies. Since they signed up with Lokalise in January 2018, their localization workflow has undergone substantial changes.

In less than a year, TransferGo:

  • got rid of worksheets
  • created 5 projects in Lokalise with more than 5000 keys for 9 languages
  • came to handle 95% of the translations using the Lokalise marketplace
  • freed up developers’ time and improved the workflow

TransferGo representative Vytautas Šernas speaks about their recent experience with Lokalise emphasizing the challenges they had and reveals how Lokalise helped to overcome them. In about 8 months, they have completely moved from an obsolete Excel-based localization process to a lightweight and convenient solution using the Essential plan.

Spreadsheets and hassles

Let’s cast our minds back. What was there before Lokalise?

There were spreadsheets and we were using external translation companies. If we needed a translation, we just created a spreadsheet in Google Sheets and shared it with some screenshots and maybe some explanations. There also was a dedicated translation manager, who communicated with third parties and got back with the translation. He then updated the so-called master file by copying and pasting the text.

Doing translations this way was quite expensive. The third party companies had a very high limit for the minimum order volume per language. Thus, translating just a couple of sentences was either impossible or came at a very high cost. And finally, at some point, we realized that the translation quality was not really good.

I was a bit terrified of the whole workflow 🙂 It was really cumbersome. So I started to look into other solutions. In total, there were many reasons why we wanted to use translation tools. In particular, improved convenience, better translation quality, reduced costs… Basically, all the reasons one can possibly think of. We needed to implement a better workflow and start saving developers’ time.

What is critical for a localization platform, from your point of view?

Potentially, with the translation platform, we wanted to get all the right features. Android and iOS support, for one thing, as we needed to localize our apps.

Also, we were anticipating something with superior usability. We saw a lot of people were using Lokalise, and it appeared to be very clear and user-friendly. Most importantly it was modern, it looked like a tool that had been made recently, not some ten or fifteen years ago 🙂

And the price, of course. Your pricing is decent, with a very clear upgrade path. We see what we can get in each price tier. It is great that you write the prices online, because many other providers, especially big ones, do not publish their prices. So, one needs to make a lot of sales calls, and then they do the calculations for a few weeks. And when they finally come up with a price, you wonder, how on Earth did they come up with this price and which upgrades does it cover? Fair pricing is very important for us.

Innovation as the top priority

What were you expecting to get for the price of a TMS?

We did not have any clear boundaries on the price. The decision was to take a look and see if this was a beneficial perspective. Clearly, it is hard to compare a translation management system side-by-side with our previous experience with the translation companies. So, with the software-as-a-service model, you get yourself a tool and you can build on it without involving a lot of human activity from the third party. For us, this is crucial, as we are not alike huge corporations: they can afford to spend more money and, understandably, do not want to do anything themselves in this regard. For them, it is easier to give the money and just say: okay, guys, now you do everything right. A self-service model like yours fits us better.

So, we decided to cover the whole project at once. Expecting to invest about 100 euros per month to start with and then see if we need any upgrades as we grow. See whether it will be about more cases or more users, and so on.

Did you have a choice to compare many TMS before you made the final choice?

Oh, quite. I had a spreadsheet with the comparison, including structures of the pricing models. Turns out, some companies charge per user, some charge per case, some charge for… whatever they want.

There was one German tool, quite a nice one, with their pricing based on users, with multiple different price tiers. With them, if you wanted to have some in-house translations and then some other people checking these translations, it resulted in a huge cost. Alternatively, you could have just a single generic user account and share it for all operations, but it was far from an ideal solution for all our cases. On those terms, it would mean compromises from day one, which we did not want.

Innovation is one of our top priorities, which means trying new things all the time. So, we tried like five or six translation tool providers; some of them demonstrated the tool, showed us how it worked in a real-world environment. There were definitely some good tools, but our experience with Lokalise has been better at the end of the day. I can even say it worked flawlessly for us.

We came to try every tool for at least a day. I think Lokalise was the third one. And this was the moment when the developer said: yeah, this one is cool, we have everything we need for our day-to-day operations. Tick all the boxes and off we go.

Instant benefit

What changed when you started using Localise? What is the current workflow?

Before Lokalise, we had eight languages. English was the main one and the rest was branched from it. Right now, we have four formal projects in Lokalise – the main product, the public webpage, and two mobile applications, for iOS and Android. The fifth project is less formal and it includes hard-coded values for internal transactions, SMS, emails an so on. Almost forgot to mention, one more project is our Zendesk help center.

We started with the main product because most of the development happens there – all the changes, features, you know. And less than in one week we had it in production! Actually, this was a bit easier than one might think: as we already had some localization files, we did not have to introduce keys. Instead, we just mapped everything and imported the whole project into Lokalise, then streamlined this into our continuous integration process. So now, before each new release, we fetch the new data from Lokalise. It was quite an easy thing to do. And there was an instant benefit: we found all the duplicate keys in no time at all, reused existing translations, then ordered extra translations for the new features. Right out of the box, we got a lot of value for our main product.

Next thing, after a few months, we made up our mind to implement the Web part, the public project. There, we needed to adjust some keys and map them, and introduce the deployment process. Since we already were familiar with Lokalise by that moment, it did not take too much time; one might even say we did this in our spare time, between the other tasks. All the search capabilities, the quick ways of adding screenshots helped as well.

Speaking of iOS and Android applications, we applied Lokalise to them about last week only. We have been able to reuse the keys, like, bundles of them. Before, we did not have any localization for the mobile apps; the webpage was multilanguage starting from very early on, but the apps had been English only for a long time. Therefore, to begin with, we needed to align the English keys, sort of migrate English to Lokalise and then manage it from there. Afterward, adding other languages was easier. This was more of a process-oriented task: check if the translations were correct, not too long, and other stuff. Basically, we are in the middle of the process right now, now also adding the Turkish language.

Do you order any translations with Lokalise or do you solely use your translators?

I would say, 95 percent comes through the Lokalise internal marketplace, and the other 5 percent is left to internal translations.

For example: if we need just one tiny sentence and we have the majority of our supported languages in the house, then we just copy and paste it and ask the guys to translate it in their own language and it takes a couple of minutes. Just someone familiar with the language and the context, and, usually, they do not work with Lokalise. This is also true for sensitive text, which is used very often or appears in a prominent place and so on. In these cases, we want to be a hundred percent sure that the translation is correct. But, most of the time, we order the translations from your marketplace.

Managed to free up some coding hours?

Well, yes. But we have not calculated exactly how many 🙂 Now we do not have to bug the developers with minor changes. A rough guesstimate would be about five to ten hours, something like that.

We are now encouraged to improve the localizations more often. We do brainstorming sessions, talk about what we already have and what can be improved. Sometimes the enhancements may be as simple as slightly improving the copy: since it is not in our native language, the product managers to put it plainly have no idea if it is wrong, and what exactly is incorrect. Such changes are applied immediately, as we discuss, simply copy and paste the search string and then edit. This would be a headache with the old workflow – manage that all in Excel, create bugs for developers, they would then need to pick them up and include the results into the release. The whole process would take days, but now we can do it on the fly. No hassle at all and everyone is encouraged.

So what are the future plans?

Hard to tell. As I already mentioned, we are currently adding Turkish language, so we are looking into it. We might then launch three more languages, or concentrate on the existing ones. Depends on our expansion plan. Anyway, thanks to Lokalise, adding another language will not be a problem at all.

Fair price and great support

Which feature of Lokalise did you like most?

The number one feature is the unified search. You simply enter a value and it will find the key for you, and you start working with it at once without spending the precious time for the search. This is especially crucial for foreign languages. Throughout all projects, we have a lot of keys: one project has about 2000 keys, another one like 500, and approximately 1500 for the mobile. So the search really helps.

The possibility to order the translations is also a nice one. Of all the translation providers, I think it is Gengo who do not have a minimum order. It is really convenient, as you can just make a quick small order for 5 bucks, and it is done.

And your support is also great, your engineers respond very quickly and always on point. We have four product managers, and all the time it goes like: how do I do this or that? And there is your live chat button, right on the spot.

Would you recommend Lokalise?

Definitely. For one thing, you have a very clear pricing structure so one can see what they get for the specific payment plan. And then, it is possible to estimate the future growth and assess what plan would be required in three months, six months, and so on. And then, it is your awesome support, your guys are very communicative and helpful.

In my opinion, Lokalise is a very good solution for many companies, in particular, if their workflow is not linear. Say, today we do not have many keys but we need more users or vice versa. And this works out with Lokalise because you are very flexible on the feature packages. One more advantage is that the user experience with Lokalise is really nice – the UI is clear and straightforward, and you add new features all the time. Really great.

Feel like sharing your Lokalise story with the world? Let us know!