Driving Global Outreach With Streamlined Localization Management

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Fair Trade USA aimed to build an online portal to make life easier for its vast network of certified partners. Scaling the project and localizing it for a global audience could have posed a challenge for the organization’s lean software development team—that is, if it not for Phrase Strings.

Fair Trade USA has been using Phrase Strings for three years to efficiently deliver digital applications at scale. The software massively streamlines the localization process, to the point where a single Fair Trade engineer was easily able to handle the entire localization management workload for the new portal.


  • Scaled Fair Trade USA’s  impact around the globe
  • Saved time and minimized dev costs
  • Enabled one engineer to manage the entire localization process
Stats & facts

Fair Trade USA by the numbers

time & cost for localization
farmers & workers reached


Big ambitions, limited resources

Global outreach is at the core of Fair Trade’s mission—working with farmers, workers, and brands all around the world to improve the lives of more than 8 million people. To help make this ambitious goal a reality, three years ago Fair Trade launched a new technology unit with the aim of leveraging digital applications to streamline and enhance the organization’s work.

One of Fair Trade’s most recent technology projects was to build an online portal for its supply chain partners. The portal provides partners with easy ways to provide information about available Fair Trade certified products, log transactions to stay in compliance with Fair Trade standards, and more. With partners located across 46 countries, delivering the portal worldwide was a significant undertaking—especially from a localization perspective. While Fair Trade focused on a few key languages for initial translation, they needed a system which could eventually provide localization in every country they serve.

Bennett Wetch, Vice President of Technology Innovation at Fair Trade USA, explains: “We needed a system which could support translation of more than 460 keys into the languages of over 40 countries. As a non-profit, we have a lean team of developers and limited budget, so managing localization on such a huge scale through traditional means would have simply been impossible for us.” It was just as well then, that Fair Trade did not have to rely on traditional means.


Unlocking efficiency with Phrase Strings

Since its inception, Fair Trade’s technology unit has been using Phrase Strings to streamline localization and help scale up its projects.

Bennett Wetch says: “Given our limited resources, it’s important for us to leverage tools that enable us to be as efficient as possible when building our technology infrastructure. Phrase Strings has been central in enabling our small-but-mighty engineering team to seamlessly localize digital applications.”

Phrase Strings provides Fair Trade with a host of features that help it to save time and reduce the cost of localization. For example, the intuitive user interface makes it easy for engineers to manage and moderate the product and its workload; and the in-context editor minimizes errors by giving translators insight into the context of the translation. Fair Trade is also gaining considerable value from Phrase Strings’ flexibility. The platform enables the nonprofit to effortlessly share language libraries across different systems, and it can easily add additional languages without needing to restructure the code.

“With Phrase Strings, localizing the partner portal was very straightforward,” says Bennett Wetch. “All of our engineers find the platform easy to use, and Phrase Strings fits perfectly into our agile process.”

Phrase has been central in enabling our small-but-mighty engineering team to seamlessly localize digital applications.

Bennett Wetch

Vice President of Technology Innovation


Achieving more with less

For Fair Trade USA, building the initial implementation of the partner portal was both fast and cost-effective. “A single developer was able to manage the entire localization process for the portal,” confirms Bennett Wetch. “And instead of worrying about translation all throughout the development process, we were able to tackle all of the localization at once prior to launch.”

Thanks to the levels of efficiency that Phrase Strings delivers in the localization process, Fair Trade’s technology team is free to focus its finite and valuable time on more important tasks—developing additional services and infrastructure to enhance Fair Trade’s crucial work.

Bennett Wetch concludes: “Tools like Phrase Strings are essential for Fair Trade. They help us scale our impact around the globe and ensure our applications are highly usable by stakeholders worldwide—and they help us achieve this in spite of our limited resources.”

Features used

Key Phrase Strings features that help Fair Trade USA localize at scale

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In-context editor
Phrase Strings’ in-context editor can be integrated within almost any web application and provides the possibility to translate content directly on your site.
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Translation memory
Speed up your localization process with our translation memory. The translation memory remembers translations used on your projects and suggests matching results.
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Translation ordering
Order translations from one of our trusted language service providers in just a few clicks.

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