6 ways to have great products in all languages, Product Manager!

Dr Bart Jaworski
3 min readJan 30, 2024

It drives me mad that failing a single detail in Product Management can ruin years of work to create a great product! Poor translations are one of such details. Here are 6 ways to get this right:

Before I begin, let me tell you. I was proud of 95% of my work at @Skype and how the product shaped up. That was until I accidentally booted it in my native Polish language.

My god.

The awkward naming, strings, poorly aligned text that doesn’t fit…

Horror.

I was also told it’s the case across many languages Skype is available. Unfortunately, we never had enough time or resources to get this sorted right.

My work on the mobile app at @The Stepstone Group is a different story. We do develop our product in English, but given its main target is the German market, we always have to check if no “Bewerbungsschreibenformatierungsvorgaben*” makes it to the app and makes it look terrible.

That being said, here a 6 ways to make sure your product sounds great in all of the languages you publish it:

1) Make translation part of the process

Just like testing, release, and marketing, the product should not be ready for release until the polished translations are ready. Unless you are testing something on an English market only — this is your way to create MVPs that require less effort.

2) Hire a diverse team

The more languages in your team, the more red flags or potential disasters can be pointed out. This is how the Skype team knew that translations were an issue! Users didn’t complain, but we all felt bad.

3) Dedicate a team or outsource the translation process

While a diverse team will help, don’t treat them as professional translators! Use those to have those products sound well! If you don’t want to have them on the payroll, consider help from dedicated service providers like @Alconost.

4) Use translation management software

It will be much easier to manage and update wording on mass if you use a dedicated translation solution rather than have those stored in the product. It will…

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Dr Bart Jaworski

I am a senior Product Manager at Microsoft. My online courses have helped thousands to develop their Product Management careers. I would like to help you too!