International translation service Welocalize has found payments to be a particularly tough language to crack, so it's embarking on a technology project that's designed to improve the system it uses to pay its many diverse business partners.
"We use a variety of models depending on the country and client, and have everything from freelancers to contractors to large vendors," says Jeff Ash, the CFO of Welocalize.
Welocalize will use an application programming interface (API) from Payoneer to build a payments system that integrates with Welocalize's vendor management platform. This interface will automate the process that Welocalize uses to select payees, build profiles, determine where the payee is located, manage currency and handle other tasks that were previously handled manually.
The payout platform will enable payments through local bank transfers, Payoneer's prepaid cards, electronic wallets and paper checks.
Welocalize, which was founded in 1997, provides translation services and what it calls "localization solutions" in more than 125 languages. It has offices in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Ireland and China. It translates business documents, educational materials, marketing content, legal files, digital and electronic media content, and the user interfaces of software programs. In the process, it tailors content to fit local culture, regulations and the tendencies and preferences of users in different countries.
"It's not a literal translation of words, but local context and phrases matched to the intent of our client," Ash says. "There is not just a cultural difference in different areas, but a different way of speaking."
Welocalize uses not just language specialists, but also experts in the economics and culture of different regions or countries. Its experts include short-term freelancers and long-term consultants.
"It's kind of an 'all of the above' when it comes to who we are doing business with to help us. That's why we need flexibility and scale with payments" Ash says.
Welocalize has made recurring and one-off payments of different sizes, frequency, currency and type. Handling those payments manually has proven challenging, particularly as the company adds markets, clients and contractors, Ash says.
Welocalize plans to leverage Payoneer's scale. The payments company manages currency and transaction processing in more than 200 countries, and hopes to add more markets and functionality after receiving a fresh capital infusion in March.
After integrating with Payoneer, "we'll be able to manage the relationships with our vendors on an [end to end] basis," Ash says. "We don't require a separate system for accounts payable or other functions. Uploading a partner into the payments portal will upload the vendor to all of our systems."
Payoneer has established a network of bank partners to deliver payments to different countries. It can also connect with the clearing systems that those banks have established in their local markets. Its partners include international freelance networks and companies such as Fiverr, an online marketplace.
Payoneer charges a fee per transaction, which varies depending on the country or program. It does not charge monthly or annual fees.
"Welocalize has more of a physical presence in more places than many of our customers do, but it's also part of the e-commerce market and does a lot of payments across different currencies," says Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer.