Chromatik provides a catalog of free sheet music for music lovers to practice, perform, and share tunes. Their web and mobile apps let you to upload music, record performance tracks, and share every step with your students, teachers, bandmates, and friends.

  • Chromatik launched their service into eight languages, and keeps translations up to date even as content changes.
  • Transifex gave the Chromatik team a central place for engineers and designers to access and pull translations as needed.
  • Chromatik is able to rely on Transifex along with their team internally to ensure translations meet quality standards.
Kelley McKinney, Head of Marketing at Chromatik, explains the reasons why Chromatik chose to localize their digital content and the benefits it has had on their business.

How and why did Transifex come on to your radar?

Chromatik is like Spotify for sheet music. We arrange sheet music for a whole range of content, from popular tunes to classics, and each tune is available for 28+ instruments.

We’re currently a free service, but as we grow our feature set to include more diverse creator tools, we’ll also offer a subscription service.

Right now, we have 25,000 SKUs in the system and that number is growing. We started out being available in the US only, but sheet music is incredibly global. While lyrics might change, every reads music in pretty much the same way. So very quickly, we started looking towards expanding internationally. At the same time, we got connected with Transifex through Facebook’s FbStart program. The timing was really perfect for us as we were starting to localize into different countries.

What types of content are you localizing?

We localize a range of content, from strings within the app itself and app store descriptions, to screenshots for the app store and other content we might want to translate for other countries.

Transifex been great because as our designs and app go through different iterations, small lines of text will change. Rather than changing everything over and over, we just upload or change those few lines. And engineering, design, marketing all have access to it.

Chromatik is a relatively young company, why did you choose to localize now?

Well, for us, it would have been silly not to! Since Chromatik is primarily sheet music, we don’t have much language heavy content. In the app, we’re primarily talking about navigation – “Here’s how you sign up. Here’s how you get to the content.” It was a no-brainer to make that onboarding easier for people all over the globe. Why wouldn’t we want to tell you how to do that in your own language?

We’ve just launched Android internationally, and we anticipate iOS will be launched internationally in the summer of 2015. Prior to our international launch, half of the emails our customer service team received were users telling them, “Hi, we can access your website internationally. We love it. Why isn’t there an app in our language?”

Plus, international usage on the website was so high already. We thought it’d be 80% or 90% US, but it turned out organically 40% of our usage on web was international without us doing any push in that direction whatsoever. We realized fairly quickly that we had to localize sooner rather than later. On Android it’s been a similar pattern where international adoption has been quite high.

Which languages are you localizing to?

We are localizing to eight languages right now: European Spanish, North American Spanish, German, French, Russian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese.

How do you manage quality control to ensure the translations are accurate?

There are two ways – one on the Transifex side and the other on the external side. When I write the instructions that are sent to translators within Transifex, I make sure they are very detailed. I mention they can email me with any questions. For many of the translations, I do a lot of back and forth with translators about the specific context. That’s been a really nice built-in feature.

Once we get the translations, we crowdsource the review amongst the team. Each of us has someone we know who speaks that language, so we’d ask them to give it a quick runthrough. And we really haven’t had many changes that had to be made from what’s been delivered to us. The translations have been pretty spot on.

What’s been the biggest benefit of using Transifex?

We’re a fairly small team. We can do a lot of running back and forth between desks. But it’s been incredibly useful to have everything in one place for everyone on the team to be able to access as necessary. It’s easy for our engineers, designers, or even myself to pull down translations from Transifex. And since we’re constantly updating our product and adding in additional features, this has been a lifesaver, both in terms of time and organization.

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