How Lokalise gives RWS and Bird a smoother ride 

“Adding a new language in Lokalise requires very little effort on our end and ramping up a new language with RWS is also very efficient.”

Björn Schefzyk, Senior Director of Product Management, Bird 

If you’re in the translation game, RWS will be familiar. It’s a giant in language and localization services, with 7,700 people across 70 offices worldwide – and has a reputation so secure that over 80% of the world’s top 100 brands use its services. 

While successful localization depends on collaborating with your language partner to deliver the best results for you and your customers, we’re seeing a trend where companies are taking more and more control and ownership over this process (with vendors as an extension of their team). This is true for RWS client Bird, a leader in environmentally friendly electric transportation – illustrated by Björn Schefzyk, Bird’s Senior Director of Product Management.

“The collaboration with Lokalise and RWS really helped us improve the quality of our translations,” said Björn, “as well as removing the friction from the process and making it much more efficient.” Let’s hear the story.

A rolling start

In 2021 with operations now covering hundreds of cities, Bird was committed to meeting riders where they are through linguistically and culturally relevant translations in priority languages: Dutch, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Spanish. 

One of the key challenges any localization professional encounters is that literal translations rarely match the words a native speaker would use. Even a few hundred words of text will have specialist phrases that need expert translation, and repeating words to be agreed and standardized for consistency. But, as with any app, the translation itself was only half the battle – it had to be complemented by a software solution that enabled greater control over the content and translations.

RWS and Lokalise: centralizing collaboration between in-house stakeholders and external partners

The company was eager to explore an established localization platform and LSP solution with existing integrations. Lokalise provided a Translation Management System (TMS). RWS provided Bird with language services. And RWS, as a longtime Lokalise partner, already had an integration with Lokalise’s platform. RWS demonstrated to Bird how its translations could use the same integration to centralize collaboration between in-house stakeholders and their external partners at RWS.

Holding the strings: the Lokalise approach

Getting technical for a moment: a TMS, or Translation Management System, is a platform. It doesn’t provide the translation itself – rather, it helps you manage translations, much as a CMS manages content on your website. By formalizing specific blocks of content (such as your call-to-action text, the word you use in your “Submit” button, and so on) as containers called strings (a standard computer science term) the Lokalise TMS gives structure to a customer’s content, making it easier to edit, approve, and update. 

Want to change your headline across all your languages? The headline on your homepage is a string; if you change it in your main language of English, processes can be set up that prompt translators to re-translate the English sentence in other languages as needed. (Without translating the whole homepage again.) And since a string’s description precisely describes what it contains and where it fits into a document (like an app page), a party using the TMS can set up a custom set of strings that describes all the content it translates: headlines, opening paragraphs, benefit bullets – and match it with a template on the customer’s website or app, so translated content can be “taken live” at the click of a link. This is how RWS already worked with Lokalise. Manage the strings, and you can manage the project. And it offered Bird a solution. 

With support articles enjoying the same benefits

The Lokalise/RWS solution supports mobile app text in Bird’s priority languages, but it’s also working well for Bird’s customer support.  Today, support documents – the key pieces of content answering the questions users ask time and time again – are also translated into the priority languages.In situations where Bird’s city partners desire micro-mobility providers like Bird to provide support in a number of languages, machine translations with a connector to Lokalise ensure that the app can support those languages.

The results

  • Up to 95% reduction in turnaround time for translations
  • Time spent solving localization issues reduced to zero

Delivering localized products up to 95% faster while improving quality

Translations are now deployed on the Bird app in less than 24 hours (for priority content) and 3-4 days for all other content. Of course, the standout issue for Bird had been quality. Just as important, any quality issues can be dealt with quickly, with updates “pushed out” the moment they’re approved.

Driving efficiencies through process automation

Dealing with translation quality issues is also more joy than drudgery. What used to take an hour a week per language now takes effectively zero hours, since RWS translators have improved the quality to the point where mistranslations are essentially non-existent, and potential small issues such as typos, extra spaces or inconsistent placeholders are flagged by Lokalise’s automated QA checks. It’s been an investment – but one which is paying off. 

In brief, the Lokalise/RWS solution has delivered what Bird was looking for – automations and efficiencies between different technologies, with TMS platform, LSP services, and Bird’s applications functioning seamlessly. Which also means they can launch new languages and support riders in the languages that work best for them.

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