From Customer Case Studies & Projects

Calling All Bengali Translators

With advancements in technology, most notably the internet, the communication of people around the world is a much simpler task than in the past. Unfortunately, “the communication of people in more than 60 countries around the world are regularly censored, surveilled, and blocked. These restrictions and failures to protect fundamental human rights denies people access to democracy and positive social change.”

The above quote was taken from the Open Technology Fund (OTF), an organization that provides projects and individuals with funding to help promote freedom of expression and information to citizens around the world. Recently, there have been significant crackdowns on free expression in Bangladesh, threatening the ability of bloggers, independent media, and other digital activists from being able to access information online securely, and to communicate online safely with their colleagues.

Projects Needing Translations

With the shared goal of connecting people around the world through language, Transifex is reaching out to all of our translators to support OTF and those unable to access critical information online in Bangladesh. If you are a Bengali translator, check out the following OTF projects:

  • Tor Project
  • Signal
  • Psiphon
  • Cryptocat
  • Chatsecure
  • Tails
  • Lantern

To help the Open Technology Fund translate content, visit their public page in Transifex. We greatly appreciate your help during this busy time of year!

Recognizing the International Rescue Committee

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Transifex team wanted to share the translation story of one of our open source users, the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Founded in 1933, the IRC is recognized as a global leader in emergency relief, rehabilitation, protection of human rights, post-conflict development, resettlement services, and advocacy for those uprooted or affected by conflict and oppression. And today, we’re sharing their inspirational story about helping those affected by the crisis in Syria.

Where It All Began

In March of 2011, anti-government demonstrations began in Syria, and the peaceful protests quickly escalated after the government’s violent crackdown. Today, the war continues, and according to reports by the United Nations, more than 215,000 people have lost their lives, with millions more displaced without basic necessities like food, water, and medical care.

Many of those displaced in the conflict, over 1 million Syrians in fact, have poured into Lebanon to find shelter and safety. Because there are no formal refugee camps in Lebanon, it has often been difficult for these displaced Syrians to find and access the lifesaving services they require. As a result, the International Rescue Committee started ServiceInfo, a project designed to link refugees with services in the host communities supporting them in Lebanon.

ServiceInfo Reaches a Broader Audience

ServiceInfo is a web-based information and feedback mechanism, similar to applications allowing users to search for hotels or restaurants and then rate their services, designed to link service providers in Lebanon and with the Syrian refugees who need their support. With the goal of reaching the largest audience possible, the IRC looked for a way to share information in multiple languages. That’s where the Transifex localization platform came in.

“Supporting multiple languages helped us reach out to a bigger audience, which was integral to the success of the project,” said ServiceInfo’s Project Manager, Omar Meksassi. “In our project we use three different languages: Arabic, English, and French. Arabic is a RTL language, which often makes automated translation more complex, but Transifex handled it perfectly.”

Making the World a Better Place

Making important information accessible to those displayed from the Syrian crisis is just one of the many projects the IRC is a part of. Their humanitarian efforts include:

  • Emergency response at the outset of a crisis (water, food, shelter, sanitation services, assistance for unaccompanied children, primary health care, sexual and gender-based violence prevention)
  • Post-conflict education, training, income generation, and health care
  • Post-conflict development
  • Refugee resettlement in the U.S.
  • Advocacy for the cause of refugees

And it doesn’t stop there. In 2014, the IRC:

  • Helped 17.6 million people whose lives and livelihoods were shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future
  • Provided 16 million people with primary and reproductive health care
  • Gave 3.3 million people access to clean drinking water and sanitation
  • Vaccinated over 364,000 children under the age of one against disease
  • Helped 331,000 women deliver healthy babies in IRC-supported clinics and hospitals
  • Treated 104,000 children under the age of five for acute malnutrition
  • Provided schooling and educational opportunities to more than 1 million girls and boys, and trained nearly 23,000 educators
  • Provided counseling or cared for 32,500 vulnerable children
  • Counseled and provided essential services to some 11,000 survivors of gender-based violence, and educated, and mobilized over 1.2 million men, women and children to lead prevention efforts in their communities
  • Created 1,530 village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) that benefited some 36,000 members in 8 countries
  • Provided 18,000 farmers with agricultural or agribusiness training
  • Provided job-related skills training (entrepreneurship, business and financial literacy, vocational training) to 18,000 people
  • Provided legal assistance to 22,000 people through IRC-supported legal centers
  • Helped resettle 10,900 newly arrived refugees and other immigrants in the United States

Show Your Support

We love the International Rescue Committee’s mission and are proud to call them a user of Transifex! It’s a true testament to the power of breaking global language barriers and connecting people with one another, no matter what language they speak. To learn more about how you can help, please visit their website or click here to make a donation.

Translators Power Ushahidi

A note from the Transifex Team: Our friends at Ushahidi share about their new “Translators Power Ushahidi” campaign and effort to allow more people to report issues from around the world.

The Ushahidi Platform is an open source software that helps communities, activists, companies, and humanitarian organizations gather and share critical information via web, social, and mobile channels. It is a tool for people around the world to tell us what is happening around them or to them during an emergency or disaster and lets other people and organizations quickly respond to these reports. People around the world have used the Ushahidi Platform for collecting reports from citizens on issues ranging from acts of harassment in Egypt to tracking the ebola virus in Liberia.

Ushahidi

Last year, during Uchaguzi (our Kenyan election project), we saw members of our Kenyan community, along with our friends at Translators Without Borders pull in a collective effort to bring the Ushahidi Platform’s Swahili translation up from 60% to 100% within a matter of days. This effort helped propel a massive effort to allow Kenyans to protect their vote in a language that everyone could understand.

This year we are launching a campaign dubbed “Translators Power Ushahidi”, in a bid to push for the translation of 15 new languages to more than 80% complete by the end of the year. Translating technology into new languages make it possible for millions more people to access, understand, and wield our tools for humanitarian good. We need your help in extending our reach into new languages.

Through Transifex we have been able to translate all our products into more than 15 languages — which opens the door for millions of people from at least 15 new cultures to gain access to this technology. Thanks to the power of the Transifex platform, we have been able to connect with translators around the world who power Ushahidi by translating the list of words and phrases on the Ushahidi Platform.

But that list didn’t appear out of nowhere; it exists because Robbie Mackay and Sara-Jayne Terp spent hours searching for every word that appears on the Ushahidi Platform site (including the administration pages), wrapping those words with the command {{t “list.phrase”}} and adding them to a translation file. The Phabricator page for this work lists more than 30 front-end files changed in just one monster editing session.

Sara-Jayne admits to being a bit of a language geek, having learnt several languages because of an AI-inspired interest in how language restrictions affect the ways that people think, and doing the usual Natural Language Processing analysis of difficult word orders like Austrian German. The prospect of making a site accessible in hundreds of languages is a bit of a language-geek’s dream, e.g. thinking “how will this work in French, Arabic, Mandarin”. And because of this, and how we’ve seen translators work during crises (e.g. picking the most-used site phrases to translate first), we made a bunch of design decisions that should hopefully make the translation file easier to use.

For example, we don’t just translate individual words, like “edit”; we also translate phrases like “edit post”. We did this from Robbie’s hard-earned experience with the Ushahidi Platform V2 translations: translating into multiple languages means being aware of the quirks of those languages, like gendered adjectives, word order changes (e.g. “blue marker” == “marqueur bleu”) and different punctuations (e.g. Spanish question marks), and the more you can think about this upfront, the less you have to change the translation file to fit new languages and locations (because, y’know, British English is different from American English, Egyptian Arabic different to Saudi Arabic, etc) later.

We also organized the translation file into groups, for two main reasons: grouping common items together so they can be given priority when a new language team starts, and giving context to words and phrases as a clue to the translators on which translations would be most appropriate for them. It also allows a time-limited translation team during sudden onset events like disasters) to choose which groups are most important for them to start with.

Translation is desperately important (as anyone who has ever tried to fill out a customs form in another language quickly finds out (now imagine that sized up to a website where the information you have affects other peoples’ lives). But translation is just part of a larger topic, localisation, that includes things like right-to-left UIs, right-to-left charts, date formats and number formats, and is also part of inclusion: the idea that the design decisions you make on your site affect the people who use it (e.g. people feel more included in a site if it has pictures of people like them, than if you write an inclusion statement: if you’re curious about this, books like Whistling Vivaldi are thought-provoking about this).

We’re working on localisation too, but first we need translations, because without translations we can only reach a fraction of the people who need Ushahidi. So, we invite you to jump in and join the legions of Translators who power Ushahidi.

How Successful Travel Websites Reach Global Customers

A note from the Transifex Team: Today we’re happy to have our friends at TextMaster share some useful tips on how to optimize localized websites. Check out their blog for more great ideas and a few guest posts from us!

Ever wonder why some travel sites seem to have millions of international visitors while others are not so popular? It’s not just big booking websites that get foreign customers; tourist offices, hotel websites and even travel blogs can reach a wide audience by properly managing their translation.

Let’s take a look at what successfully multilingual travel sites have in common and what you can learn from them.

They understand their target audiences

A smart travel business, like any business, knows the needs and wants of their current and potential customers. This means knowing where they are located, their preferences and what languages they speak. It’s important to remember that one country doesn’t necessarily mean one language and by making their web content available in their visitor’s preferred language, they’re able to truly connect with that person. Successful travel businesses also remember to make their websites available in the language of their desired potential market. Just because they don’t have those customers yet, doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t make all the information available to them.

They aren’t afraid to localize

When making a multilingual website, many owners stick to one text and just translate it into many languages. This works in many cases, but to really make a connection with their audiences, effective travel sites will localize to their content. This means that for airline booking sites, in January they’ll show summer promotions in Australia and winter promotions in Canada. They also offer special deals for local holidays and translate their content in a style that their audience is comfortable with, whether it’s more or less formal than the original text.

They don’t spread themselves too thin

Even large travel sites know that they cannot change their entire brand identity and product offerings for each region. While they localize as much as possible – currency, seasons, language, and measurements – they still maintain unified messaging and design. After all, if the brand is successful, why reinvent the wheel for every target audience?

They cover all their bases

Good travel sites combine effective content, design and user experience to attract visitors and increase conversions. They avoid making it too difficult get information or navigate their website. Complete website translation is crucial for this; if a visitor can’t get what they need because of poor or missing translation will leave very quickly. Every element of the travel site should be multilingual, from the menus to the forms to the text in pictures. The website should feel as though it was created in that language, rather than translated from another one.

It’s not magic – it’s just localization

Successful travel sites, whether it’s a booking site or a city’s tourist office website, didn’t just magically attract foreign customers. They took the time to truly understand their target audience and adapted their web content so that it really made an impact with them. Luckily, this isn’t reserved for the giants in the industry; every travel company can start reaching a more global audience by properly localizing their website.

About TextMaster

TextMaster provides online translation, content writing and proofreading services to over 5000 customers all over the world. With a network of translators and writers specialized in over 40 areas of expertise, TextMaster can handle all types of orders, from marketing content creation to website localization.

Cool Community Projects on Transifex: Internet Freedom Edition

Every so often, we highlight great community translation projects on Transifex. This time around, we want to share with you four projects that help support human rights and promote inclusive access to global communications networks.

They impact the lives of many people worldwide, so chip in and lend a hand if you can!

Martus

Martus logoMartus is a tool used across the globe by human rights workers, attorneys, journalists, and others to securely document human rights abuses.

Recently, Martus released an Android application to allow observers to document abuses without needing a desktop computer.

Go to project »

 

Lantern

Lantern logoLantern is a peer-to-peer internet censorship circumvention software to give or get access to internet in places where access is censored.

By running Lantern, every user with uncensored internet access can now become an access point for those without, providing gateways to sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others that are widely blocked.

Go to project »

 

Commotion

Commotion ProjectCommotion uses mobile phones, computers, and other wireless devices to create decentralized mesh networks and connect these devices directly to each other without going through a centralized point.

Go to project »

 

Psiphon

Psiphon logoPsiphon provides a suite of network software aimed at preserving security, privacy, and access to content.

All Psiphon software is open source and designed to circumvent politically-motivated Internet censorship in countries where such censorship is extra-legally enforced.

Go to project »

 

P.S. You can discover more internet freedom-related projects here.

How Localization Helped ConcertWith.Me Grow

ConcertWith.me is a Russian startup providing concert-goers with a simple web app that answers two questions: “Who are the artists playing near me?” and “Who will go to this concert with me?”

Built for the casual concert-goer, it differentiates itself by keeping the focus on the music and adding a social element, while cutting out the noise in concert listings.

ConcertWithMe

We invited Vit Myshlaev, one of the co-founders, to share about why they localized their app and the results they’ve seen so far.

The Beginnings

When we launched ConcertWith.me in June 2013, it was only available in Russian and English. As users started inviting friends from outside our home country of Russia, we expanded our concert database to cover all of Europe.

At the same time, we decided to build localized versions of the app and provide support for users who don’t know Russian or speak English as their first language. This also gives us a competitive advantage when most of our competitors were only in English.

Which Languages to Support?

Using two awesome tools together, we figured out which languages to target first. Intercom.io showed us a map of where our users are coming from:

And Google Analytics showed us the top visitor languages:

Additionally, we researched English language penetration in European countries:

English language penetration

It was clear from the data that we should support Serbian, Spanish, Czech, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, and German.

As a small team with only my co-founder and I, we don’t have the extra time or human resources to manage translations, so we turned to Transifex as the solution to get our translation project up and running immediately.

Launching the App in New Languages

After uploading our UX and email strings to Transifex, we invited users from each target country to join our translator community. (Tip: It’s useful to provide step-by-step instructions for your translators and reviewers.)

Many agreed to help and in just two days, we got our first new language: Serbian. Spanish, Czech, and German followed soon after. We were ecstatic.

The initial results have impressed too:

  • Average page views per visit increased from 1.5 to 2.3. (ConcertWith.Me is a one page app with very few pages to load, so this is a big leap.)
  • Average time on website jumped from 58 seconds to 3 mins and 40 seconds for Serbian users, a 279% increase.
  • Our Serbian ad campaign converted visitors to users 50% better.
  • In Belgrad, Serbia’s capital, average friends per user is now at 2.1, which compares well with 2.3 in Moscow, our home town.

Get Started Early

As a final takeaway, I’d say that it’s key for startups to be global from the start. Yes, you have a never-ending to-do list. But localization is well worth the effort. And with tools like Transifex, localizing your product is more achievable and simpler than you might imagine.


Want to help? You can get involved with the ConcertWith.Me project on Transifex.

Eventbrite: Bringing the World Together Through Live Events

Eventbrite recently crossed $2 billion (!) in ticket sales for event organizers, with 25% of that processed in just the last 6 months.

Eventbrite localization

How did they reach this incredible milestone? To quote TNW:

The company attributes its growth to two areas of its focus: international expansion and category growth. With the former, Eventbrite believes its localized service in 14 countries and in seven languages plays an important part. Of course, now that it has acquired Eventioz and Lanyrd, Eventbrite will be able to add access to South America and the UK among its accomplishments in the global market.

We sat down with Patrick McLoughlin, their Senior Localization Program Manager, and chatted with him about Eventbrite’s path to international expansion and how they use Transifex to localize their products.

Check out their story.

Disqus Jumps the Language Barrier

Disqus logoThink back to the best discussion you ever had on a blog or website. Odds are that Disqus made that happen. Comments changed how we interact with online news and content, turning audience members into engaged participants. To be able to dialogue with a journalist or connect with a worldwide community of people sharing your passions is not something our grandparents could have imagined.

Disqus is about more than just comments however; it allows users to easily find interesting conversations happening across the web. Some of the web’s most trafficked and respected sites including CNN, Bloomberg, and Wired have all adopted Disqus.

Going Beyond English

While Disqus has become a ubiquitous part of the English internet — 2/3 of all US commenters are on Disqus — many users asked to use Disqus in their own language. And given that Disqus is in the business of facilitating communities, they reached out to their own community of devoted users for help with translations.

Having hosted many community translation projects, Transifex made the perfect home for the Disqus localization effort. The development team at Disqus was already following a continuous integration workflow with Jenkins, and extended that to localization as well. Burak Yiğit Kaya, a Software Engineer at Disqus, says, “Transifex’s API and easy to use client combined with Jenkins made continuous translation possible.”

Disqus localization

Built-in error checking in Transifex also helped the Disqus team with the automation. Previously, a faulty translation, such as one with a missing placeholder, might have brought the whole app down. Checking and correcting these errors was a mundane task, but the Transifex editor prevents them at the time of translation by notifying the translator and not accepting the string. “It’s great,” says Burak.

The Disqus Translator Community gathers on Transifex to translate the Disqus website, commenting widget, and Windows mobile app. When the time comes to deploy new code, which happens daily, the Jenkins instance at Disqus retrieves all available translations from Transifex, compiles them into .mo and .js files, and bundles them with the application for deploy.

Results

In a matter of weeks, Disqus was available in over 36 languages, with additional languages in progress. 31% of all sites on Disqus today are non-English and 52% of page views come from non-English sites. “Using Transifex has allowed Disqus to be more appealing to those who don’t speak English,” says Burak. “And we can keep all the various languages up to date, even in the midst of daily deploys.”

Disqus can rightly consider itself a global company and a community of communities that transcends language barriers.


Do you use Disqus? Lend a hand and get involved with the Disqus project on Transifex.

Cool Community Projects on Transifex: Disqus, XBMC, GNU Health

We are constantly amazed by the the diversity of projects on Transifex. Products and tools that help us at work. Ones that keep us entertained. And others that connect us with one another. Each makes our world and lives better in some way.

Here are just a few projects (out of thousands) you could get involved with:

Disqus

Disqus is the web’s community of communities. Online communities are where people go to connect with their passions. Disqus makes them better through more enjoyable discussions.

With a few quick steps, you can turn your old comment system into a new way to engage your visitors.

Go to project »

 

XBMC

XBMC is an open source media player and entertainment hub available for Linux, OSX, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with TVs and remote controls.

You can play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.

Go to project »

 

GNU Health

GNU Health is a free Health and Hospital Information System aiming to improve the lives of the underprivileged through a system that can be modified to each health center’s needs.

It is used by the United Nations, public hospitals, Ministries of Health (such as in Entre Rios, Argentina), and private institutions around the globe.

Go to project »

 

P.S. If you are looking for paid work as a translator, visit your profile settings page and check the box near the bottom that says “Looking for work.”

Cool Community Projects on Transifex: Waze, CKEditor, Ushahidi

Many products — commercial and open source alike — rely on their user communities for translations. Here are a few amazing products with community translation projects on Transifex that you could get involved with and contribute to:

Waze

Waze is a free traffic and navigation app, home to the world’s largest community of drivers who work together to fight traffic, and save time and gas money on their daily commute.

Go to project »

 

CKEditor

CKEditor is a ready-for-use HTML text editor designed to simplify web content creation. It’s a WYSIWYG editor that brings common word processor features directly to your web pages.

Go to project »

 

Ushahidi

Ushahidi is a non-profit tech company that specializes in developing free and open source software for information collection, visualization, and interactive mapping.

Go to project »

 

Psst… If you haven’t heard, we recently launched a comments feature in the translation editor to make translating a more collaborative experience. Check out the details in our blog post.