reddit switching to Transifex for agile localization

According to Alexa, reddit is the #50 most visited site in the US and #120 globally. 2 billion pageviews, 35 million visitors. Per month.

So, when the Tx team finally read that reddit is switching its localization to Transifex, we experienced a small nerdgasm.

reddit announcement

reddit localization challenges

Similarly to many modern, addictive and super-popular websites, reddit’s success is driven by the community itself. We are a few of the millions who are using reddit daily to find the best news on the Internet. And at the same time contribute back by upvoting the best news in a crowdsourced way.

reddit has been realizing that the barrier of entry for their localization process was higher than optimal. Translators were required to access files from git, which is sub-optimal for people who are good at languages. You want these people to focus on the translation work and quality instead of doing interactive rebases and 3-way merges. Or even worse, have a developer do interactive rebases and 3-way merges of translations.

Times have changed. Agile development is the word. reddit is deploying multiple times per week and small delays or time-consuming tasks, however small, are going to affect the quality and quantity of the available translations.

reddit localization workflow v2

  • The reddit crew will now use the Transifex client to auto-upload their English files. This can be run manually, attached to git-commit hooks, or become part of continuous integration. Tx will take care of merging the new strings with the translation files.
  • Translators from the reddit community can request to join a team or request the creation of a new one. Everyone is encouraged to submit suggestions and upvote for them using the web editor.
  • Language teams will have a reviewer who will make sure quality is high by approving contributions as proofread and finalized. These entities can still receive suggestions and votes in case there are ideas on how to improve them.
  • The reddit devs will regularly pull reviewed translations with the API or command-line client (tx pull -t) and deploy.

Tips, lessons learned

  • Quality matters: Proofreading, collaboration, translation memory and glossary are important part of the process.
  • Community matters: Enthusiast users (and often customers) look forward to the opportunity to show their love about your product.
  • Crowdsourcing and quality can go together.
  • Be bold with your infrastructure. Focus on your competitive advantages rather than services. Love your localization.

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