Customer success story How XTM helped Gap Inc. boost translation output 10x

Customer success story How XTM helped Gap Inc. boost translation output 10x

About the company

Gap Inc. is a global apparel retailer headquartered in San Francisco. Founded in 1969 with the simple idea of making it easier to find a pair of jeans that fit, the company has continued to grow and evolve, and today its ambition is to champion equality, inclusivity and sustainability. Gap Inc. employees 97,000 people across four distinct but complementary global lifestyle brands: Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta.

All of Gap Inc.’s localization work is managed by one centralized team, with members distributed around the world. In 2015 they implemented XTM Cloud to keep up with increasing demand for localization services, and by harnessing automation and customization they’ve been able to grow output tenfold.

Fast facts

Website URL:





Annual revenue:

$16.4 billion (2019)

Customer success story How XTM helped Gap Inc. boost translation output 10x

The challenge

Gap Inc. has seen many changes in its fifty plus years, not least the meteoric rise of online shopping and the proliferation of digital channels. As the company grew and began its digital transformation journey, the localization team saw demand for its translation services skyrocket. To keep up, they needed to be able to scale, work more efficiently, reduce costs and leverage their resources as effectively as possible.

And with Gap Inc. comprised of four distinct fashion brands, each with their own processes, the team needed to come up with a way of standardizing the localization process as much as possible, while preserving the unique identity of each brand.

Another challenge the localization team faced was a lack of visibility in the organization. Localization was seen as a black box, where a translation request went in one side and a translation came out the other. What happened in between was largely a mystery. And as such, the value the localization team offered was often unrecognized.

Gap Inc.’s key challenges:

Dramatically increased demand for localization and the need to manage significant scale as required
Dramatically increased demand for localization and the need to manage significant scale as required
Standardization vs customization – streamlining localization while maintaining four distinct brand voices
Standardization vs customization – streamlining localization while maintaining four distinct brand voices
Lack of visibility within the organization
Lack of visibility within the organization

The solution

The localization team knew that the right TMS technology stack would allow them to rise to the challenges they faced, while also aligning with the company’s goals of digital transformation, personalization and scalability. In 2015 they introduced XTM Cloud and centralized their localization program management operations. This saw their capacity – and by extension, demand for their services – grow exponentially.

Evelyn Yonhee Kim, Language Technologies Manager, Gap Inc.

What was a challenge, became an opportunity. By implementing XTM, introducing a self-serve model, harnessing automation workflows and using connectors, we’ve been able to dramatically increase our output. We’re now producing ten times the volume of work as in 2015. We’ve transformed the team and expanded on what we do. We’re no longer just receivers of translation requests, but rather drivers of change within the business. Internal teams often come to us for advice on processes. Sometimes they say they want the same level of automation the localization team provides, but in other areas too. We’ve become a benchmark, and that’s always nice to hear.”

Evelyn Yonhee Kim, Language Technologies Manager, Gap Inc.

Around 2018, the localization team’s growth rate tripled as they started building connectors to link XTM to other Gap systems. This covered many different areas of the business, from online sales through to standard office software, for instance giving any Gap employee the ability to create a project in XTM using only a spreadsheet. Today, XTM has become an integral part of their global business systems architecture.

To tackle the problem of Gap Inc.’s four distinct brands, the localization team began by assessing the needs of each brand and content type. This enabled them to standardize certain processes which they could do in XTM Cloud’s backend, while providing the nuances and customizations needed for each brand.

Another key step was introducing a self-serve model where other teams in the organization could send in translation requests without needing to interact directly with the localization team. To take this one step further, the localization team then implemented even more automation and efficiency in the system backend, focusing in particular on workflow templates. Now anyone in Gap Inc. can request a translation or language service, select the relevant job type – for instance, internal or customer-facing; US market or Japanese market; Gap or Athleta; DTP required or not – and a TMS workflow will automatically be selected that’s specific to the team requesting the job, and has all the relevant people and stages pre-populated. Gap Inc. now has over 200 templates within XTM, giving all current global teams pre-built workflows for all of their content translation needs. This has meant teams get translations done faster and to a higher standard, and has meant staff spend less time on repetitive tasks as many of the setup and workflow progressing steps have been automated.

By bringing other teams on board and introducing this self-serve approach, they were able to demystify localization. This gave others in the organization a deeper understanding of what the localization team did, helping to improve their visibility and demonstrate the value they bring. At this point there are over 500 XTM users at Gap Inc.

Conscious of the need to make sure they met customer expectations not only today, but also tomorrow, Gap Inc. took the first steps on their digital transformation journey. As early adopters of cutting-edge technology that enabled the faster delivery of content for customers around the globe, the localization team were seen as trailblazers. And as their expertise in language technology and processes started to be recognized, other internal teams sought their help with organizing, automating and transforming their systems and processes, not just within XTM, but upstream and downstream too. This saw the localization team become involved earlier on in the process development cycle, and saw their knowledge called on more and more. In response, the team grew and expanded into other areas of work, creating new roles and taking on new responsibilities.

Now, the localization team doesn’t just respond to translation requests, but offers many more services and is able to bring much greater value to the company. They’ve re-positioned themselves as a “language operations” team and receive requests for a wider variety of projects, including interpreting and captions for English-only content. And thanks to the right technology stack, they’re able to meet the increased demand for their services. In 2021, they translated 99 million words, compared to 9 million in 2015, a tenfold increase achieved for the same spend and with only one additional team member. They now have a seat at the table and are known as agents of change, playing a key role in furthering the enterprise’s digital transformation.

Solution information after years

XTM has enabled Gap Inc. to:

  • Scale up translation output from 9 million to 99 million words a year
  • Introduce a self-serve localization model
  • Connect XTM to other in-house systems
  • Increase efficiency, with over 200 workflow templates
  • Combine standardization with customization
  • Reduce localization project management time and focus instead on greater value-added services
  • Use their knowledge of process automation to drive change across the business

The outcome

By implementing technology and continuing to connect and tailor systems to their needs, the localization team has been able to boost localization efficiency, gain greater visibility within the organization and expand their remit. Ultimately, they’ve been able to draw on their expertise to help Gap Inc. scale.

Pascale Tremblay, Director of Localization at Gap Inc., explains their success:

The key to our success has been to innovate, stay abreast of trends and anticipate business needs. In retail and other fast-paced industries, you need to be ready with what’s needed – before it’s needed. It’s about engaging with your business partners and driving change.”

  • Aligned with the company’s goals

  • Maximized efficiency and productivity, with projects completed faster

  • Translation output increased x10 in five years

  • Advocate for other teams’ technology needs

  • Language technologies are part of the business’ core ecosystem

  • Redefined role of localization within the enterprise

Localization Program Expansion - growth by year

Start facing the challange of going global and embrace your success now

Ready to see this technology in action? Leave us your name and email address below and let’s speak soon.