Automating the Process of Adding New Language Markets
Shiftbase is a Netherlands-based SaaS software company whose flagship product helps organizations manage employee scheduling and time registration. They had in-house translation processes for Dutch, English, and German, but adding additional languages to fulfill their global ambitions was a cumbersome process involving a great deal of company developer time, better used for continuing software development. They sought a solution that would largely automate this process and allow them to use contract translators without constant developer input.
- 4 new languages live in less than 6 months
- 50% of translation and editing time saved
- Automation saves nearly 100% developer time
Shiftbase by the numbers
Streamline a resource-intensive translation and localization process
The company had already translated their software into three languages using internal resources. The addition of a new language required as many as 3,500 key changes for each language, and their constant release and upgrade processes complicated this already challenging process. In particular, developers were getting caught up in the localization process and were losing the time they needed for developing new features. They realized their continued growth was reliant on adding new language versions. However, their market expansion plans were limited by the time and effort required to add each additional language.
They began a search for a translation management solution that was specifically designed for software translation with their unique requirements, including the translation of code strings, user interface (UI) elements, and documentation. The solution should help them remotely manage freelance translators with subject matter expertise, while freeing up their developer resources, preferably with automated workflows.
The goal was to speed up Shiftbase’s ability to enter new language markets, initially within the European Union, but without future limitations on entering other global markets. This meant the solution should be language-agnostic, with the workflow being automatically adaptable to new languages.
Phrase Strings, a translation platform designed to manage software localization
The requirements for both a translation management platform and a solution that was designed for software and digital product localization, led them to Phrase Strings. With Phrase Strings, they were able to set up processes within the platform to manage every step of the initial translation process and set up automated workflows for managing the translation, review, and testing of new releases, bug fixes, and major upgrades. Their release schedule was based on rapid ‘agile’-style development processes made possible by cloud-based software delivery, with releases happening almost constantly.
Phrase Strings gives its users the ability to enable global settings that, once implemented, remain consistent regardless of the new language pairs. With this capability, Shiftbase developer time was no longer required to make manual upgrades with each language. Prior to Phrase Strings, their localization processes were dependent on having in-house native speakers of each new language working closely with programmers. This was both costly and inefficient once their number of language pairs increased beyond the initial group of three languages.
The transition process was a team effort with managing representatives from Development, Customer Support, and Marketing. According to Justin Dochez Kok, Marketing Officer at Shiftbase, “the user interface and ease of working with Phrase Strings makes it possible for our translators and editors to save about half of their time translating and editing”.
He notes that they have rolled out four new languages (French, Spanish, Polish, and Swedish) in less than six months. Justin estimates that setting up a new language for their entire application (mobile and desktop) can be done within a month.
The implementation of Phrase Strings into their workflows allowed them to use outside translators, with subject matter expertise in translating software. This, in turn, gave them access to a large pool of experienced translation talent without adding and training new staff. Turnaround times, costs, and resource use could be optimized, allowing them to focus on marketing to their new global markets.
Thanks to implementing Phrase we have successfully added 4 new languages to our application within 6 months. Implementing and maintaining translations is just a breeze and lets our developers focus on developing and translators focus on translating without any hiccups. We are now able to set up new languages whenever we want in no time!
Faster market expansion and cost savings, and increased market share
The results, beyond the savings in time and resources required to add new languages, have been a measurable positive effect on growth in these new markets. With Phrase Strings they are growing rapidly in the German-speaking markets and are adding a new sales rep to handle increased interest. They are also seeing increased market share in their new language markets as they expand their footprint.
Because Shiftbase developers are no longer required for new language implementations and upgrades, translation management by developers has been reduced by 100%. Developers are now able to develop and release, completely independent from a reliance on translators. These resources can be refocused on more product development. And errors in contextual use of languages and grammar, for example, are much easier to spot earlier in the process.
The ability to move complex software into a new language market within weeks, and easily manage updates, has generated increased interest in Shiftbase in their new markets, and will help them drive expansion and revenue growth plans across the EU. These system changes will continue to support Shiftbase in entering additional lucrative global markets, without major additional investment in developer and translation teams.