#LocalizationMatters: How @Ulyssesapp made localization a constant part of development




  • Greater than 6 minutes, my friend!

    Howdy friends!

    For the past few months the wonderful Eleonora Angelici and I have been working on exciting new interview series designed for startups, developers, language lovers and everyone interested in localization.

    This fun little project is aptly called Localization Matters. ☺️

    We hope that you’ll enjoy reading those interviews and that the stories that we’ll share will bring a lot of value to the global localization community.

    So, please, don’t forget to share and use our hashtag #LocalizationMatters

    Your comments are also appreciated! 😉

    Hugs from Canada and Italy!

    Dmitry and Eleonora

    Localization Matters: Interview with Ulysses

    Today we’re talking with Rebekka Honeit.

    Rebekka is in charge of communications and marketing at Ulysses.

    As Ulysses’ communication allrounder, Rebekka can rely on professional experience in PR for 1 festival for radio plays, 1 major e-commerce platform, 1 university and 2 research institutes, as well as a Master’s degree in Communications and Sociology.

    Rebekka loves literature and yoga, and truly enjoys to make sense of things by writing about them.

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    Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, Rebekka. We’re thrilled to have you here! Can you please tell us a little bit about Ulysses? Why did you build it and who is it for?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    Ulysses is a writing app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It is designed for people who write a lot, be it’s because they’re book authors, journalists, academics, or copywriters.

    Ulysses offers a distraction-free, focused writing environment, organizational features to keep track of all kinds of writing projects, and exports to a host of standard formats. You can even publish directly to a WordPress blog.

    Last but not least, it syncs your texts seamlessly between all your devices. This is very helpful, when you quickly want to capture ideas on the road. You never have to worry about your setup.

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    What a fantastic idea! And kudos for supporting WordPress. When and why did you decide to localize Ulysses into other languages?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    Ulysses was published in April 2013, and in October we added the first six localizations. Just recently, we added three additional localizations.

    With a target group like ours, localization is a no-brainer.

    Ulysses offers a lot of pro-functionalities for writers, and many people can only fully benefit from these when they’re available in their native language.

    Without localization, you just limit the potential users to those who have a very good command of English and don’t care about using a tool that is not localized.

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    Indeed, localization can easily unlock new markets and help more users around the globe discover your app. What languages did you choose for your localization and why?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    Ulysses is now available in English, German, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, as well as Korean, Russian, and Brazilian Portuguese.

    These were the most-requested languages, and also those where we saw most potential.

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    Wow, that’s 10 languages! Congrats! How did you choose your language services provider? Did you hire freelancers? Did you go with an agency or crowdsourcing? How did you find them and what was your selection criteria?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    Since the very beginning, we work with Wordcrafts, an agency specializing in app localization for macOS and iOS. The German Mac/iOS scene is relatively small, this is how we met them.

    They offer exactly what we need, and we’re contented with their services.

    We were often approached by individuals who proposed to help with localization, but unfortunately it does not work this way.

    For a professional tool like ours, only a specialized provider can reliably offer the needed quality.

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    Absolutely! When it comes to localization you want to work with people who know what they’re doing. What were the biggest challenges during localization? What were some of the things you’ve learnt along the way about the process of translation and localization that you didn’t know before?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    When you work like us, localization is an ongoing undertaking.

    We’re continuously improving Ulysses, we redesign interactions, add new features and functionalities.

    Any change we make in the app reflects in the localization.

    Almost every release cycle includes a step where we submit changes to our agency for localization, get the localized words or sentences back after a couple of days, which we then implement within the app.

    This is more time consuming and costly than we thought before, and it is also the reason why it is so important to us to work with specialized experts in this field.

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    Yes, localization can be quite complex. That’s why it is important to have a process in place in order to achieve the desired result. Speaking of which, how did localization affect your sales, growth and other metrics?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    Ulysses is more popular where it is available in the native language. We constantly sell more apps in these countries.

     

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    We’re really happy to hear that localization helped you increase your sales. That’s fantastic! What do you think should be localized first? Marketing materials, product pages or something else?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    With Ulysses, we localize the app itself, the introduction that is available within the app, as well as the description for the app on the App Store, where people go to buy it, and the release notes.

    This is the basis.

    When we’re releasing new features, we also localize our press release to make it easier for non-English-speaking journalists to write about what has changed.

    However, our website, blog, social media, etc. is only available in English.

    A localized website would certainly help more people to discover and use Ulysses, but would also require a lot of work we can otherwise dedicate to the app’s further development.

    It’s a trade-off.

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    Even without your website website, blog and social media, you’ve localized quite a lot! Great idea to localize your press releases. Makes the lives of journalists much easier. How did you measure the quality of the localized content? Did you test it in any way?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    After we have implemented a new localization, we test it internally first, and later include it into beta versions of the apps.

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    Was it hard to reserve budget for localization? Did you have to adopt any strategies to make it possible?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    We first released Ulysses in English.

    As soon as we could afford it, we added the first seven localizations, as we knew that it is important if you want to persist internationally.

    Now localization is a constant part of our development cycle, and constantly has a portion in our budget.

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    Last, but not least, why do you think localization matters?

     

    Rebekka Honeit, Communications & Marketing, Ulysses

    Apps are tools, and people need to know how to use them.

    Together with design, language plays an important role in guiding people through their tool’s usage.

    Localized apps are therefore not only easier to use, but they serve their purposes better, they will in the end make more users happier.

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    Very well said,  Rebekka! 👍 Thank you so much! We wish you the best of luck with Ulysses and can’t wait to see what else you will build for book authors, journalists, academics, and copywriters around the globe! 

     

    Thank you for reading, friend!

    Hey friend!

    We really hope you enjoyed reading this interview with Rebekka!

    We would really appreciate it if you could share it on social media by clicking on one of those little social sharing buttons below.

    Your likes, shares and comments give us more motivation to keep going. 💪

    Also, if you know any other startups, companies and developers who might be interested in doing an interview for #LocalizationMatters, please, let us know in the comment box below or click this link:

    I would like to suggest a company for your interview series

    Or, if you’re a startup and would like to share your experience with localization in one of our interviews, just fill out this Typeform and we’ll get in touch. 🙂

    Thanks again for reading and sharing!

    Cheers!

    ~ Dmitry and Eleonora

    Dmitry Kornyukhov

    About Dmitry Kornyukhov

    Founder of The Open Mic. English-Russian Translator. Video game localization specialist. Helping small and medium-sized businesses go global. Loving every minute of it.

    9 thoughts on “#LocalizationMatters: How @Ulyssesapp made localization a constant part of development

        1. Dear Dmitry, If we’d like to do something, we need tools, knowledge, cooperation, coordination, and consultation to get awesome results. If not, we have lost our precious time, our money, and energy, finally with a useless output.

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