SumUp: From Zero to Localization Hero:

Eliminating over 200 copy and paste actions through the power of automation


How Sum-Up Went From Zero to Localization Hero

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SumUp is a financial technology company that allows businesses of all sizes to receive payments quickly and simply, both in-store and online. Named as Europe’s fastest-growing company in the ‘Inc. 5000’, SumUp has over 4,000 companies joining the platform every day. With its card terminals relied upon by 1.5 million businesses globally—from hairdressers to artists, from restaurants to taxis—SumUp expects to generate €200 million in revenue in 2019.

In October 2018, SumUp released its 3G reader, a card terminal that lets merchants process payments without the need for a mobile app or constant Wi-Fi connection. SumUp’s 100% digital sign-up, fast delivery, and frictionless set-up means that merchants around the globe can be empowered by digital transactions within just minutes from receiving their card terminal.

The Challenge:

As SumUp expanded globally into new markets, the need for localization became clear. When David Pillon joined SumUp to lead their localization efforts, he faced some significant challenges, including:

  • Zero documentation - There was no documentation whatsoever around SumUp’s content — nothing about what kind of content existed or where it was housed. After some investigating, David built a framework from the ground up for rolling out new products or expanding into new markets.

  • No centralized localization process - Any translation project the SumUp team worked on was done internally, within each individual office (five offices). As part of the investigation process, David had to get up to speed with each office to understand what was happening. He discovered each team had a different manual process that prohibited the business from scaling its localization program. For example, teams were using Google Sheets and copy/pasting translations.

  • Expansion = more content creation - At the time, SumUp products were available in 17 countries in eight languages, with plans to launch in 13 new countries in three months. Launching in a new country was not as simple as creating a couple of marketing documents and product features; it required the translation of the website, product, and other product-related content - over 100,000 words in the case of SumUp.

  • Lack of translation content management - As new content was created and existing content updated, SumUp lacked any process to ensure consistency across channels and transparency for key stakeholders.

The Solution: Contentful and Smartling


To launch a new product in 20 countries across Europe, David’s team knew that a one-size-fits-all tech stack would not work. They needed something tailored that supported any tools that their internal stakeholders, from developers to marketers, used regularly.

For this reason, SumUp chose Contentful, an API-first CMS, to manage this new product content, SumUp’s website, and blog-related content. Contentful offered SumUp the ability to reuse and repurpose content, independent of channel or language, and agile workflows for optimization. With its decoupled architecture, Contentful could live at the center of SumUp’s enhanced tech stack to support different tools, including Smartling’s translation management system (TMS).

By using Contentful, SumUp saw the following benefits:

  • Increased self-service for all content editors - Prior to integrating with a CMS, SumUp editors had to rely on developers to build any pages or new components. With Contentful, SumUp could create specific components that were applicable for all new pages and give more freedom to the marketing team.
  • Rich text - The rich text feature gave editors the freedom to format the text however they saw fit and to create more complex components.


Because he needed to translate marketing and product content for multiple languages, David needed a robust TMS designed to produce higher quality translations while decreasing the number of time-consuming tasks. Smartling’s translation management platform gave David and his team the automation he needed to manage all translation workflows effectively.

By using Smartling, David and the SumUp team saw the following benefits:

  • A clear view with visual context - Once a page is built in Contentful, SumUp pushes it to Smartling’s platform with visual context. Visual context is invaluable for SumUp’s translators because they can see how the translated copy looks and fits on the page without any guessing, which is all the more relevant given the diversity of text components, including headers, CTAs, benefit list, and descriptions.
  • Smartling glossary: the right tone and message - Smartling’s glossary stores a list of branded terms and tone of voice requirements. This glossary is extremely important for guiding SumUp’s translators as they develop specific marketing messages and ensures a consistent tone across all channels.
  • Efficiency with translation memory - Whenever SumUp uploads a new source text as a segmentation, only the new source strings are assigned for translation. Editors can rely on translation memory to repurpose all or parts of the previously-translated source string text.
  • Transparency across the board - From preparation of the page, to translations with external translators, to proofreading with internal reviewers, to Q&A, every step of the translation process is automated until ready to publish. This provides transparency for stakeholders to review the status of any project, for any language.

To learn more about how SumUp worked with Contentful and Smartling to scale their localization efforts, click here to listen to our webinar.