Ask DN: How do you manage UX copy and translations in your company?

2 years ago from , Lead Product Designer at Geoblink

Hey folks!

I see a lot of people talking about UX writing currently, but very few insights on how organizations are managing the implementation of those copies.

I have a lot of questions and curiosity regarding the topic, so would really appreciate if someone can share its processes and tips :)

For instance:

  • How do you keep control of what copy is the most updated? Do you keep your design files up to date, or just the code?
  • When you decide to improve a copy that is in production, do you need your dev team to do it, or you have some sort of API/CMS for those?
  • Translations, do you have a dedicated team or depends on freelancers? Anyway, do you use any platform to manage that or rely on tools like Excel and e-mails?

Thank you in advance and have a great day!!!


  • G Lukacs, 2 years ago

    Started using Contentful for our marketing website, and thinking about using it for our application moving forward. Too early to say anything for sure, but I find the API really simple to use. I'm sure they have a feature to help with translations too. In my experience, using a native, first-language speaker to directly translate the passage(s) works out best. They tend to know the little idiosyncrasies/ins-and-outs of their language better than any service or algorithm could hope to.

    Transifex looks interesting too, but can't say that I've worked on a project that needs a translation solution at that scale.

    Best of luck!

    2 points
    • Filipe Gonçalves, 2 years ago

      Thanks a lot for your input, Lukacs.

      I agree with you regarding the native speakers. In our case, we are doing something similar. As I am not a native English speaker but we do use English as the main language of development, I end up creating the first version of the copies, which are later revised by an English native speaker that is also responsible for the marketing content. As we are a B2B company, this marketing person is also responsible for building and maintaining the glossary (i.e. we decided to use less formal words that are common in the industry, instead of suggesting technical words that not all users could understand), so her job in the process is even more important. Only after iterating on these copies we pass it to translators, which are later revised again to make sure there is no misunderstanding.

      Regarding Contentful, I will carefully check it out, but at first, the Pricing page is scary, isn't it? Hahaha Just to be able to have different roles (mandatory if we work with outsourced translators) within the system the price goes to 879$/month. Insane


      0 points
  • Karol StefańskiKarol Stefański, almost 2 years ago

    We use Phraseapp for all text strings in our app. Mostly we, designers, are the one responsible for main (English) copy, but we're not native, so we're supported by the content/marketing team if we're not sure about some stuff. The caveat of working with marketing people is that sometimes they don't get how UI copy should tell users the message in the most concise way. Translations are handled by external people, I'm not really involved in this process.

    1 point
  • Pascal Briod, almost 2 years ago

    We use a combination of Prismic (a headless CMS similar to Contentful already mentioned in this thread) and a google sheet with a JSON exporter.

    1 point
  • Teo Gagliano, 2 years ago

    In my previous company, we created our own system using google sheet, JSON exporter and a plugin for Sketch that lets you import the copy to your design.


    1 point
    • Filipe GonçalvesFilipe Gonçalves, almost 2 years ago

      Hi Teo, thanks for helping!

      Hats off for the initiative! It looks great. What I do miss is a way to actually check the design before translating it. What I do miss is seeing the screen to support the translation process with context. Did you find a workaround to that apart from exporting and managing those screens manually?

      By the way, your solution looks similar to this plugin (https://www.contentsync.io/site/howitworks). Is it, or I am missing something here?

      Have a nice weekend!

      0 points
      • Teo Gagliano, almost 2 years ago

        I see, with the proposed solution you and your team will be able to check the screens once you import the new copy or from the spreadsheet. We always had to go through the screens before approval anyway and the process looked something like this:

        review old screens > work new copy in spreadsheet > import new copy in Sketch > review new copy in Sketch

        Btw I've never seen the plugin you mentioned, it does look exactly like our the one I proposed, the plugin is slicker though. That's probably the difference from a free internal workaround and a paid proposition :)

        I'd be curious to know if you find a better solution.

        Have a good one

        1 point
  • Paul HermannPaul Hermann, 2 years ago

    We use Transifex to manage basically everything around translations.

    1 point
    • Filipe GonçalvesFilipe Gonçalves, almost 2 years ago

      Hi Paul! Thanks for your answer :)

      Seems very interesting. Do you also manage UX writing within Transifex too? Requested a demo to check all Transifex features, but I am wondering how I could combine both UX writing iterations with the translation platform, all at once (not sure if I am asking too much).

      0 points
      • Paul HermannPaul Hermann, almost 2 years ago

        Copywriting is done by the designers here as we are a small team. So when the designs have been shareholder green-lighted, I go ahead and create a numbers file where I put the new wordings that are being introducing with that very feature/version. This numbers file is then sent to a developer who's in charge for the localization. He migrates the new wordings into Transifex and adds the respective iOS Keys to them. And then we use Transifex to work with the translators, it's kind of like git for tables, pretty straight-forward.

        1 point
        • Filipe GonçalvesFilipe Gonçalves, almost 2 years ago

          Nice, Paul. Very clarifying, thanks!

          Is there any reason for you to place the definitive words in a spreadsheet instead of doing it directly in Transifex?

          1 point
          • Paul HermannPaul Hermann, almost 2 years ago

            That could definitely be streamlined, I am just not worked into the tool yet and that's why I redirect that task to not mess with the tool setup.

            1 point