Make Localization Part of the Experience

Anne-sophie Delafosse won the most recent PIC event, which took place January 28, 2021, at LocWorldWide43. She is the mover and shaker behind everything localization at Deliveroo, and her team plays a crucial role in helping the company achieve their mission to transform the way people around the world order food.


“We are waiting for translation,” “let’s launch in English only,” “let’s just Google Translate.” As localization managers, we’ve heard them all. We’ve all experienced the frustration of being the last one to know about a new feature being launched globally. Well, I wanted to change that.

When I started my role at Deliveroo, I was very lucky to be the first localization manager they’d ever had. There were quite a lot of issues to fix with the workflow. It was seen as too slow, not automated, and complicated.

I took three months to listen to the tech team, the product design team, and the content design team to understand the positives and negatives of the existing workflow.

I was very surprised to see that there was no automation between our design tool, Figma, and our localization tool Phrase. The strings of content were written on Figma so we could get the content directly from there but we had to wait for the keys to be created by the engineers.

So what if the localization team could create the keys at the design stage and give them to the engineers?

This is when the idea of a plugin came about: we could rename the text layer on Figma with the key names and push the keys, strings, and screenshots in one go.

We designed and shared the idea with our partner Phrase, who saw the potential and built it with us.

So how does it work in practice?

It’s all about collaboration: localization manager, product and content designers, and engineers all work together before the build. We all work together on Figma.

  • Designers/localization create the keys on Figma.
  • Designers/localization create the keys on Figma.
  • Engineers get the keys from Figma and pull them from Phrase once translated.
  • Language specialists work on Phrase on the entire flow.

By moving the localization within Figma, we have reduced the workflow from ten to five days. We have improved the quality of the UI localization because (1) we can spot cultural and localization issues before we build, and (2) we can trans-late the entire UI so our linguists can better understand the flow and what we are trying to build.

It has also been beneficial for other teams like the local marketing teams as we are able to share fully localized prototypes ahead of time.

We decided not to automate the key names completely, as engineers wanted to remain in control of the key name convention. We templated it so it would be easy for anyone to create keys correctly. We are now in the process to align our key names with our design systems to create keys even more easily.

The localization team is no longer perceived as a Jira ticket handler that is slow and complicated. We are now a real partner, fully embedded in the experience!