Experience: 4+ years

Keywords: localisation, localization, internationalisation, right-to-left, diversity, culture, Hofstede, translation, transcreation, adaptation, grammar, training, e-commerce, globalisation, cultural dimensions

My approach

Diversity gives us strength. Locally relevant, globally scalable.

Those were two of the values of Booking.com when I joined the company in 2015. As much as I dislike fancy statements and general corporate bullshit, I actually stand by these two. They shaped the way I think about localisation, translation and inclusion.

There is so much beauty in how different we all are. Yet, it is impossible to objectively measure this beauty and its business value. How do you measure the value of proper grammar? Of not being upset by seeing piggy bank as a muslim user? Of not accidentally starting a diplomatic incident because your website shows Taiwan as an independent country, rather than a part of China? Of not spending time converting Fahrenheit to Celsius, yards to meters, or guessing is it an American date format, with month up front, or a European one?

When thinking about localisation (globalisation, internationalisation) I like to find the balance between the business value and the ideal state of things.

Cases & achievements

Localisation training & localisation talk

For 2 years, I was developing and delivering Localisation training for Tech & Product department of Booking.com. Together with a full-stack developer and a UX designer, were covered various topics from cultural differences and political issues, to translations, dates and metric APIs. My responsibility was the translations part, but I contributed to the overall structure of the training as well.

The audience included backend, front-end and full-stack developers, UX designers, product owners/managers, data analysts, data scientists, UX copywriters and other people from the department. It was a monthly training, each session for ~20 people, usually fully booked.

I was also responsible for coordinating the administrative part of the training with the Learning department.

In 2016, I presented a “Locally relevant, globally scalable” talk at the Booking.com Annual Meeting (BAM) — a yearly gathering for employees from around the globe. The content was similar to that of the training, but geared to a more general audience — from customer service representatives to language specialists, from account managers to marketing executives. It was a big success, with people approaching my manager to join our team.

Hofstede’s cultural dimensions

As a UX Writer for Localisation, I was exploring ways of applying Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to our messaging. Together with my colleagues responsible for various regions, we divided supported languages in groups based on how they score on collectivism/individualism scores and conducted A/B testing. Our hypothesis was that group with high score will respond positive to messaging like “Join other travellers”, while the group with low score would not. The experiment showed conclusively positive results for the first group, and remained inconclusive for the second one.

We pursued similar (successful) experiments for other dimensions as well.

More examples can be found in this presentation by our then Senior Product Owner, Judith Yaaoubi, and in her PhD paper (.pdf)