12 months ago
August 10, 2020
How Infobip Built Continuous Localization Into CPaaS
Infobip is a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected customer experiences across all stages of the customer journey at scale. According to the company, “localizing communication across different product lines and channels is imperative in our mission to deliver customer-centric experiences.”
Founded in the small Croatian city of Vodnjan, Istria in 2006, Infobip’s global employee base is now roughly half the population of the city. About five billion people worldwide interact with some form of service through Infobip’s platform; that’s around two-thirds of the global population. The company is a pioneer in the Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) space.
Infobip’s clients come from a range of sectors: financial, retail, transportation, and technology. On a global scale, the company partners with more than 600 telecoms and is present in over 60 offices around the world — which, they pointed out, is in line with their mantra, “a global expert with a local approach.”
Why Infobip Changed Its Translation Setup
When Infobip first began to expand globally, it turned to its local sales and tech staff to translate the product interface as they knew the product portfolio and markets better than anyone.
“Sometime later though, we needed to consider translation on a larger scale, where the quality could be systematically improved across the company, previous translations could be leveraged, and developers could spend less time publishing frequent translation updates,” Semir Mehadzic, Infobip’s Product Manager, told Slator.
Mehadzic, who is responsible for software localization and tech, explained: “We set out to change the setup with two goals in mind. First, find a Translation Management System (TMS) with API integration that works in continuous localization setups, has an easy-to-use portal, and includes a solid web-based translation editor.”
Next, to find a global language service provider (LSP) that would adapt to the chosen TMS, learn about Infobip’s products, and cover necessary geographies, Mehadzic said, adding, “This would mean internal staff could contribute only as reviewers and spend time on what they’re best at — growing the business.”
Infobip’s content pipeline did not have too many legacy systems or complex file formats, so they opted for a cloud-based TMS as it would fit the needs of their CI/CD (continuous integration/ continuous delivery) pipeline.
Setting Up a Continuous Localization Workflow
According to Mehadzic, “Infobip’s communication interface is offered in 19 different locales,” and the company decides on what gets localized based on a few basic parameters such as: the current market need for Infobip products; the strategic importance of that market; feedback from local sales units; and partnership opportunities.
“Given our evolving localization needs and Agile development methodology, setting up a continuous workflow became a necessity. We finally found one smaller, multilingual LSP and one tech provider to partner with, but there were several considerations we had to factor in,” he said, including —
1. Smart pricing
“It’s surprising how many LSPs still have pricing models that simply cannot work for a new type of client: those that constantly feed them with smaller bits of content. We worked closely with the selected LSP to find a pricing model that suited both parties and without the minimum fees.”
“It’s surprising how many LSPs still have pricing models that simply cannot work for a new type of client: those that constantly feed them with smaller bits of content”
2. Agility in localization
“Continuous localization really challenges you to rethink the localization flow and how to fit it into Agile product development. There are no large yearly releases that localization can be organized around. The flow must be truly continuous and synced with releases that happen on a weekly basis.”
3. TMS functions
Most translation management systems tend to work well in just one aspect, yet only a few offer both powerful API integration and a usable portal for translating the occasional Word, PowerPoint, or InDesign document, Mehadzic said. “We wanted to avoid having one system for continuous localization purposes and another for more traditional translation needs (e.g., for marketing or legal). Such a set-up would decentralize the company’s language assets and give us unnecessary work.”
“We wanted to avoid having one system for continuous localization purposes and another for more traditional translation needs”
4. Translation tech usability
“We were surprised by one of the leading tech providers and their user interface (UI). They had such a complex product that we had to receive guidance by their team simply to test the tool. That was a roadblock for us, as such a complex tool would require our employees to go through intensive training, just to get something translated. Simplicity is key.”
Localization as a True Partner
To reset the localization workflow, Infobip strengthened its internationalization engineering team and made Mehadzic their Product Manager. He will also act as Localization Manager early on, to set up processes, oversee quality, and guide their LSP’s project managers and Infobip’s in-country reviewers.
“Another important goal for us is to make the localization unit a true partner for the product and marketing teams, and avoid it being an afterthought”
“As continuous localization is still a rather new concept, we wanted to avoid creating roles based on traditional localization thinking. We’ll start lean and expand as necessary,” Mehadzic said.
He added, “Another important goal for us is to make the localization unit a true partner for the product and marketing teams, and avoid it being an afterthought. We are a growing CPaaS company and that requires much tighter collaboration among teams than in traditional companies.”
Image: Semir Mehadzic, Product Manager, Infobip