Case Study

Case Study: Gengo


Gengo is one of the world’s leading online translation companies, empowering talented people everywhere to help the world communicate.

Gengo’s web-based, high quality translation services are used by businesses around the world to operationalise translation in a way unimaginable just a decade ago — enabling, for example, the near-real-time translation of documents for an important business deal or a rapid launch of an ecommerce business in a new country. Its clients include global names such as YouTube, Buzzfeed and AirBnB.

The challenge of onboarding

To facilitate its services, Gengo manages over 21,000 translators around the world outputting over one million words of content every day. Thanks to this network, new jobs can be picked up and translated in minutes, offering Gengo’s customers the speed of algorithmic translation with the accuracy and quality of human translation, at a sixth of the cost of a traditional translation service.

In 2016, Gengo’s Community Manager Lara Fernandez and Head of Translator Operations Shoma Kimura sought a new way to ensure that new members of Gengo’s translation team were up-to-speed as quickly as possible after they signed up as part of the team.

As translators are at the heart of Gengo’s business, Lara and Shoma knew that moving them quickly towards success — their ability to start doing what they love and earning their living — was absolutely critical.

“We were looking for a way to guide all new translator around our platform and to ensure that they got certain pieces of information (especially regarding RSS) which they might miss if given the passive option to simply browse through support articles. While installing an RSS feed reader is optional, we wanted to ensure that every new translator would receive the same information encouraging them to try one,” explains Lara Fernandez.

“Our primary objective was the ensure that our translators made it through these steps and that we could track how well they were progressing. For us, success is a translator who understands the system and can dive right in on day one to get some work done and start earning money with us.”

Building Nickelled walkthroughs

After experimenting with several solutions, Lara and Shoma turned to Nickelled to help onboard new translators onto their systems. Working hand-in-hand with the Nickelled team, Gengo created a series of simple, step-by-step guides to help their new users understand and use the first screens they visited on the Gengo translation interface.

“Building Nickelled guides was a simple process, which was a relief,” says Lara. “We are able to build and deploy our first guides to translators very quickly, as there was no integration work to be done in our app, so we didn’t need to wait for developers or a new release of the app.”

Gengo’s first guides acted as a virtual tour for new translators, simultaneously highlighting elements of the interface that they needed to understand and prompting them to take actions such as installing optional software that helps their workflow.

As a company serving translators around the world in multiple languages, Gengo’s requirements were somewhat unique, but the company was able to make heavy use of Nickelled’s localisation abilities — launching guides in five different languages and working with the Nickelled team to add further languages.

The results

Gengo now offers guides to every new translator who joins the team, delivering the right experience depending on the person’s language and role.

“In the past few months, our percentage of new translators who become active within the first 12 weeks after signing up has increased, eventually reaching our goal of 60%,” says Lara.

“The percentage of new translators who have become active within the first 12 weeks after signup was around 38% in January 2017. For the last couple of months, it fluctuates around our goal number of 60%, meaning that more translators are picking up jobs within a short period after signup.”

“We're currently tracking how many of our translators are indeed using an RSS feed reader, but we can definitely see a correlation between our efforts and the results.”

At the start of 2017, Gengo and Nickelled began working together to explore other ways that Nickelled may be used within the business, including the onboarding of new clients who require translations.