CASE STUDY: “Money, Money, Money: Translation”


(This is a business case study. It will be used to guide discussions during the session: “Money, Money, Money: How the Paysite Pros do Billing – Translation” with co-hosts Mitch and Thierry of Vendo at the Paysite Meetup.)


Tim had always struggled with translation. Not actually translating in conversation between the three languages he spoke fluently (German, Spanish and French) but for everything that went into translating for his site.

It was hard enough to figure out the right English text to use in the first place. Then to watch his design break as he added the very long compound words of German or use the relatively short words of Japanese was frustrating. He wanted his site to be the best that it could be and he wanted people to understand it. It seemed like that was a trade-off with translation.

There were other trade-offs as well. He had to figure out how many resources to spend on translation. Which languages would get him a positive return on investment?

He also had to look at which fixed costs were justified. Did Tim have to set up a whole platform in order to do translation? What sort of systems and processes would he need? Just to get the text he would need translators and editors of translators. He would also need a system for his platform that could recognize where people are coming from and deliver text in the right language. Then he needed to keep it up-to-date. It seemed like an impossibility for his whole site.

So he started to look at where it matters most.

For the most part, he was selling images and videos. They were pretty universal.

“Should I focus on the sales part? Is that where to begin?” Tim asked himself.

The first place on his site where he asks people to do more than click, surf and press play (all of which are a wealth of international symbols and don’t require language) is where Tim asked them to fill out a form.

It was also where he asked users to understand the terms of the products he sells and where he explains why they should buy from his site.

That definitely needed to be clear. That is where he started.

3 Questions

  1. What should be in the user’s own language?
  2. What is the best way to do translation today?
  3. What is your translation status?


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