Case study: Onboarding a client for e-commerce translation services

Executive Summary

Canadian law requires all digital consumer-facing content to appear in both French and English. When a New Zealand-based fashion retailer entered the Canadian market, translation into French became a necessity. Their English language listings would not reach customers until the French versions were ready, so they needed a language partner who could handle high volumes quickly.

This client was accepted as a new vendor by a high-end e-commerce marketplace and referred to Scriptis for translation services.The initial order of 168 product descriptions and related collateral, including graphic design work, totaled over 22,000 English source words.

In addition, the source material included design-heavy advertising material. This would require reformatting within a graphic design tool to accommodate the particularities of the French language.

The Challenge

Translation into French for bilingual Canadian e-commerce presents both linguistic and technical challenges.

Many clients who are new to translation do not initially grasp the differences between Canadian and European French. French-speaking consumers in Canada are turned off by the Anglicisms and other terminology common in European French. Only a native French Canadian in-house language team can write compelling, convincing content for the Canadian consumer.

On the technical side, e-commerce translation produces a steady flow of content requiring fast turnaround. Our regular e-commerce customers submit projects of all sizes, with some consisting of thousands of words and others less than a hundred. Because this new client was well-established in English speaking regions including the US and UK, their initial order was substantial. The team needed to onboard the client quickly to help them reach digital shoppers as soon as possible.


One of the first steps in onboarding a new client is creating a termbase or bilingual glossary. This is a list of terms and trademarks essential to the brand personality. Our client provided an initial glossary of 185 color names and brand-critical terms. The team translated these with an eye toward capturing the same “feel” as the English in French.  After review, the termbase was imported into the translation software to inform this and future projects.

The client exported product descriptions and related information from their own e-commerce tool and provided the data in Excel. The file needed some editing to remove unnecessary lines and extraneous characters resulting from the export process. Given the high volume, the project manager worked with the client to triage the content into multiple batches for rolling deliveries. For additional content like ads and flyers, the project manager secured all the design files, including graphics and fonts, before engaging the team for the translation and reformatting.


The Scriptis team delivered careful attention and quick, precise work. The client received all the translated and reformatted French-language content through our client portal in under a week.  Our new client continues to rely on us for translation projects both large and small.

After onboarding, all our clients enjoy streamlined ordering and customer service. Clients use the Scriptis portal to send job requests and files straight to the production team. However, Scriptis fully understands the importance of the human in the loop.  A project manager is readily available if a client needs to discuss any aspect of a project.

Our long experience with major players in Canadian e-commerce marketplaces gives Scriptis an advantage over our competitors. We have seven in-house linguists dedicated to translation for retail and e-commerce clients, and our project managers are based in the United States and Canada.  As the preferred language partner to many major Canadian retailers, Scriptis is well-positioned to introduce your merchandising team to e-commerce translation services.