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Growing Canva's Localization Programs for the Future

Canva uses LILT's AI solution to scale its localization programs and optimize workflows
1,001 - 5,000

Company Size

1,001 - 5,000

Sydney, Australia

HQ Location

Sydney, Australia

Consumer Internet


Consumer Internet


Needed to scale to match exponential growth while maintaining high translation quality


LILT was able to scale quickly and at large volumes while maintaining quality to help Canva continue its growth

There has been a dramatic shift in the way the world lives, works, and has fun - with people across the globe spending more and more of their waking hours online learning, communicating, interacting, shopping and working. As we rely even more heavily on a digital environment, more companies are building their online customer engagement strategy to ensure they reach their communities, no matter where they’re located.

In order to have a great digital customer experience, however, you need to have valuable, engaging content. Whether it’s documents, presentations, social media updates or videos, consumers expect to be able to find information online that resonates with them. Many of the people tasked with pulling together this type of content are running into the same problem - how do you create tailored, yet beautifully designed digital content without breaking the bank?

One word. Canva.

One of the fastest-growing online graphic design platforms globally, Canva’s easy-to-use and intuitive platform makes it simple for anyone to create digital content. Whether using one of the thousands of expertly designed templates across a variety of document types, or exploring the millions of images, illustrations, icons and fonts available to create and publish beautifully designed content, Canva is the best platform for empowering anyone to design, anything.

Since Canva launched in 2013, they’ve grown a community of over 40 million users across 190 countries every single month.

As Canva continues to encourage and empower people around the world to design, localizing its content is core to its ongoing success. Available in a hundred languages, Canva's localization program is incredibly important for the organization's continued growth efforts.


Even though localization is a key to Canva’s success, scaling from one language to a hundred is a challenge for any organization. With Canva’s mission to create design templates that can be used by anyone, it’s important for those templates to be localized so they are relatable to the user and easily fit the look and feel of their language and locale.

But with so many content types to localize, the scale and complexity of the localization efforts were massive. It became clear to Paul and the team early on that localizing templates wouldn’t be as simple as translating strings of text - they needed to also pay attention to the context within each template as well. They looked into working with teams of graphic designers in each locale, but realized that strategy wouldn’t continue to meet their needs as they grew.

“When you scale too quickly, you scale your problems as well. The last thing you want to do at the very beginning of a project is to start scaling up without stopping to measure quality, perform necessary feedback loops, and set up a good foundation,” Paul said.

With the rate at which new content, marketing channels, and strategic initiatives are introduced, it can sometimes feel like localization will never be able to catch up - especially when you've got really high standards for language quality.

Paul Buckley

Localization Product Lead at Canva

Growing for the Future with Contextual AI

Canva’s localization requirements needed both scale and speed - all while maintaining the highest levels of quality. Because of that, Paul and the team looked for a new localization partner to help out with their new projects.

“When we scoped out our localization goals, we knew a traditional localization vendor wouldn’t work for us,” he said.

Canva decided to partner with LILT because of how efficiently its translators can work. That efficiency is all thanks to the Contextual AI Platform, which enables higher translation velocity while maintaining quality. LILT’s translators work in the Contextual AI platform, which is powered by Large Language Models, to ensure translation is accurate, consistent, and reflects Canva’s brand tone and voice.

By not having to worry about translation quality and accuracy, Paul and the team at Canva can spend their time focusing instead on new ways to innovate to support Canva’s growth ambitions.

LILT empowers translators with technology, enabling them to work quickly and at a much more affordable cost, all while keeping translation quality high and on-brand. For us, that was really important due to our high volume of content.

Paul Buckley

Localization Product Lead at Canva

Building a Partnership for Scale

Canva was also looking for a partner that would be able to grow and scale alongside them as they continued to build their localization program.

“One of the most important things we looked for in a vendor was their flexibility and ability to meet our demands at every stage. When things were slow and trickling in, our focus was mostly about getting the quality and process right. LILT worked with us to set up and refine our processes to ensure our localization operations ran smoothly,” Paul said.

While the transition to working with a new vendor took time to set up, the partnership between Canva and LILT was an important part of scaling up and maintaining a high output rate.

Seeing how LILT could help both with urgent campaigns and large scale, long-term projects was what helped us realize we made the right decision in working with them.

Paul Buckley

Localization Product Lead at Canva

What's Next for Canva's Localization

For Paul and the Canva team, localization never ends - it’s an ongoing project that requires constant attention to make sure the quality remains high and continues to reflect Canva’s brand globally.

“Even when all the translations are done, we continue to seek and incorporate new feedback. We continue to run testing, fix any problems that arise, and focus our efforts to make sure things stay high quality. These days, products change so quickly that, even once you think you’re done, things change again and you need to start all over.”

As the team starts to look towards the future, localization will continue to be a strong focal point. For Paul and his team, there are new challenges just across the horizon. Their ultimate goal is to ensure that the product goes beyond the translated copy, and that every version feels natural and local to every user.

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