Copy is design your experiences

A witty error message made your day? An unfortunate translation got you puzzled? Copy and translated copy play a major role in the user experience. Share your experiences—whether good or bad—and discover others’.

Bad experience (Translation)

MEGA

An experience shared by Oleksandr Pysaryuk:

"Looking at the Russian localization of the MEGA (cloud storage and electronic collaboration service) Android app. Spotted two non-existent words + two sentences with grammatical errors out of seven messages on a single screen.”

Great experience (copy)

Mostly Serious

An experience shared by Anne-Laure Véricel.

The voice and tone of web agency Mostly Serious really caught Anne-Laure’s attention: “The entire website is a very pleasant experience. I let you discover it!”

Bad, yet funny, experience (translation)

Rose Bikes

An experience shared by Maxime Souillat.

"Sex 1: Order confirmation. Sex 2: Delivery notice. Sex 3 …"

This is the rather unusual order process that had to follow Maxime when purchasing from Rose Bikes’ French website.

Great experience (copy)

Zapier

An experience shared by Oleksandr Pysaryuk:

"I signed up for the service only because of this copy on the Zapier.com sign up page!”

Bad experience (translation)

Sochi.ru

An experience shared by Sébastien Desbenoit.

The trending #sochifail hashtag applies to translation too. The French version of the medal table is so surrealistic (and incomprehensible) that it makes you wonder: How did they come up with such a ludicrous translation?!

Great experience (copy)

Gimme Bar

Bookmarking service Gimme Bar has personality. Give it a try and you’ll be rewarded with witty interface copy, thoughtfully written. An app with a voice—we need to see this more often!

Great experience (copy)

TinEye

Pursuant to Copy Is Design Bill 2012, we courteously wish to inform you, dear TinEye designers, that your error message is awesome.

Great experience (translation)

Flickr

One can remain faithful to the original text, and yet be creative. To persuade Flickr users to upgrade to a premium account, the English version goes straight to the point: ‘Go ad-free’. In French—Molière’s language—, the translator decided to use… Molière’s words! Classy and catchy.

Great experience (copy)

Harvest

For many of us this is the page we start our working day with. Time-tracking app Harvest provides us with a daily dose of philosophy.

Bad experience (translation)

Dots

Update (Oct 3rd), message from Dianna McDougall, community manager @playdots: Upon finding our translator’s mistake in the French translation of “Moves left,” we corrected the language. What once read “Se déplace à gauche” now reads “Mouvements restants” in the current version of Dots (v 1.9).

The Dots game is over for French users… even before they start to play! The translation, courtesy of Google Translate, is misleading: ‘30 moves left’ becomes in French ‘30 se déplace à gauche’, i.e. ‘30 is moving to the left’.

Shared by @gillesdemarty

Great experience (copy & translation)

HootSuite

Yes, technical limitations can be fun too! HootSuite had to find ways to avoid throttling Twitter servers. This is cleverly done—and well-translated into Spanish for Spain—with a little help from Owly, the company’s mascot.

Did you know the ‘HootSuite’ name itself is a nice internationalisation example? It is a word play on ‘tout de suite’, the French expression meaning ‘at once’ (source Wikipedia).

Great experience (copy & translation)

Tumblr

Signing up isn’t exactly the most exciting part of an application’s experience. At Tumblr, they’ve spiced it up with clever microcopy. One must be at least 18 to sign up, and at least 30 to be young!

The French copy is even more noticeable, using the idiom ‘20 ans et toutes ses dents’ for under-30 users. Too bad the text doesn’t wrap nicely.

Great experience (copy)

Pipedrive

Here is how Pipedrive turns a ‘Crap, this app is buggy’ moment into a ‘They rock at Pipedrive’ feeling. Well done, Martin.

Bad experience (translation)

Typekit

Typekit’s ‘Portfolio’ offer has been translated ‘Portefeuille’ in French, which does look similar but actually means ‘Wallet’. A rather inappropriate name for a medium-priced plan! A better translation would have been… ‘Portfolio’—it’s a Latin word after all.

Shared by @desbenoit