New, Flexible Ways to Organize Your Teams and Languages

If you work with a lot of teams and projects in Transifex, we’ve got some great improvements for you that’ll give you more flexibility in structuring your organization.

Project languages are decoupled from teams

With today’s update, languages now work on a project level. Each project has its own set of languages that it’s being translated to. You will still have to assign a project to a team, but teams are simply groups of people who translate to certain languages.

This setup lets you reuse one team across multiple projects, even if each project is being translated to a different set of languages. Here’s a look at the new structure of things:

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You’ll find this change reflected in a new “Edit languages” button in the Dashboard and Project Overview page. Hitting that button reveals a popup with a list of the languages that particular project is being translated to. There, you can also add new languages to the project, as well as see the requested languages.

Adding new languages to an existing project

Say you added Greek to your iOS project. If the team assigned to the iOS project doesn’t already have someone translating to Greek, all you have to do is go to the People tab (formerly Teams & Languages) and invite someone to translate to Greek. It’s important to note that this won’t add Greek to the other projects that are assigned to the team, since languages work on a project level.

Creating new projects

When you create a new project, you’ll see that assigning a team and selecting the project’s target language are now two separate steps. If you assign the project to an existing team, all the languages of the team will be added to the project by default. You can still remove languages from the list, or add other ones to the project.

project

Transferring projects between teams

One great thing about decoupling project languages from teams is that you don’t have to worry about matching languages when transferring a project from one team to another. Simply assign the project to the new team, then invite your collaborators!

Dedicated page for reviewing team join requests

Each team in your organization now has its own page for reviewing and approving join requests. Enter this page by going to the People tab, then clicking the “Pending join requests” link to the right of the team name.

Join requests are split between new and existing languages, then grouped by language. You can even accept or deny requests in bulk!

New “Join team” button on Project Overview Page

In the Project Overview page of public projects, there’s a new Join team button. This makes it easy for translators to request access to a team. In the popup, they’ll be able to specify which language they want to help translate or review.

We hope you like the changes! We’d love to hear your feedback.

Another Year of FbStart

A year ago, we partnered with Facebook’s FbStart program to help mobile startups expand globally. In its first year, FbStart gave out over $100 million in benefits to more than 3,800 companies. Hundreds of startups joined Transifex to localize their apps. As year two of the program begins, we’re stoked to share that we’ve been invited to be a partner again.

FbStart Transifex

This time around, there’s a third track in the program – Pre-Launch – for companies that haven’t launched their apps yet. Startups have limited budgets and resources, so we want to make going global not only as easy as possible, but accessible too. It’s because of FbStart that Chromatik was able to localize their sheet-music apps to 8 languages. Check out their story.

If you’re an early-stage mobile startup and want access to Transifex along with other awesome tools such as Workable and Parse, take a look at FbStart and apply!

Day in the Life of: Dimitris Glezos, CEO of Transifex

This post initially appeared on SaaScribe.

Dimitris Glezos in the Transifex, Athens Office

For the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have two homes and two “lives”. One is in California, where we’re working primarily on Customers and Growth. The second is with Transifex’s Product & Engineering team in beautiful, sunny Greece.

Which one do I like the most? To be honest, I’m not sure, really. When I’m in the US, I don’t miss Greece, and when I’m in Greece, I’m not in a hurry to return to the US. Living in two countries gives you access to a variety of different activities, personalities and ways to have fun.

As I’m writing this, I’m in Greece. It’s a gorgeous 29°C (84°F) day; I’m working from home, with our cat sitting on my lap. So let’s go through what a typical day looks while in Greece.

It’s a brand new day

Wake-up time is adjusted to the Engineering team’s schedule. You see, in Greece, people go out at 9pm (that’s considered early), so you start the day later too. A typical wake-up time for me is 8am-ish, almost 2 hours later than when I’m in the US.

Checking emails before properly waking up and experiencing a good start to the day is a no-no. The first thing I like to do is to put some fresh, vivid music on the stereo, welcome our cat in the living room and prepare a rich breakfast. Depending on the day that might range from a big jug of mixed fruit juice with delicious cheese and prosciutto on the side, to a good-ol’ eggs-with-5-sides plate. Before leaving for work, I put on my outfit. Typically, it’s a pair of jeans and a shirt with lightweight, cool materials by brands such as Prana or Arc’teryx. Then I check emails and spend 30 minutes answering stuff.

At the Office

During the drive to work, I’ll have a call with friends or family and do some finger exercises, preparing for rock climbing on the weekend.

I arrive at the office around 10:30am. Before even making coffee, I’ll walk around and chat with the people in the office, listening to stories about adorable kids, gym workouts or an amazing gourmet dinner experienced the night before. If I’m lucky, I’m at the office early enough to see Elena from our Customer Success team arrive and say “Good Morning!” with a wide smile and a royal salutation.

Walking around the office is one of my favorite things to do. I’ll openly ask colleagues to tell me what they’re working on and encourage them to get into the details – and I love it when they do the same. If someone is really concentrated, I might walk by and hit random keys on their keyboard.

For the first couple hours of the day, I’ll read articles from other cool, inspiring startups (some of my favorites are Help Scout, Groove and Unbounce). Afterwards, I’ll dive into one of the many things that have been keeping me busy the last couple of weeks:

  • I am jumping into planned (and sometimes impromptu) brainstorming sessions with Antoine from Product. Our discussions involve big scribbles on whiteboards that never have enough space and heated discussions about button placements. In these discussions, we’re pulling people in to better understand how a user would interact with a design choice, how it might be implemented and how it’ll scale.
  • I am learning how well we’re performing in fields like customer acquisition, customer satisfaction and growth. I do this by first collecting data myself from tools like Mixpanel, KISSmetrics and consolidating in a dashboard and a spreadsheet. When I find something interesting, I’ll go to someone’s desk with my laptop to show them and then we’ll try to refine the data and share them with more people.
  • More often than I want to, I deal with paperwork, like documents a bank needs signed and other frustrating items. Oh well… you gotta do what you gotta do.

Lunch

Our Greek team eats lunch together at 1:30pm. We order food from nearby family-owned restaurants and share salads and pies which people bring from home. Lunch is a sacred part of Greek culture and our team has some of its best moments during our lunch break. Every now and then, we’ll have lunch outside or bring pans of galaktobureko (semolina custard pie in phyllo) and share.

Then it’s foosball time for anyone interested. Things get very noisy.

Second half of the day

During this part of the day, I’m doing a number of things:

  • I’m isolating myself from the rest of the gang for 1 to 2 hours every day to focus on strategic stuff. Product positioning, what our users really need and what they’ll need three years from now, and what are the real problems behind the proposed solutions from customers or other companies.
  • Growing our team is one of the top recurring items I have in my week – I typically work on this in the afternoons. I’ll invest at least 1 hour every day identifying interesting people. The key questions I ask myself when meeting someone are “Is she a doer?”, “Do we have a lot to learn from her?” and “What would it be like working with her every day for the next 5 years?”
  • At around 3pm, I’ll take an afternoon break and make a decaf coffee and eat some apples or bananas.
  • At 5pm, our California team wakes up. Late afternoon is reserved for any kind of discussion with our Sales, Marketing and Business Development folks. I’m most often working to remove roadblocks from people’s paths, such as a team waiting for something from another team, a clarification on why we’re not implementing support for Microsoft Office files.

Wrapping up the day

I’m usually back at home at 7:30pm.

On the way back home, I reflect about the day. What went well, what went wrong and how to fix it tomorrow. I also take time to remember all the big things happening in my life other than Transifex: girlfriend, family, friends. Some serious context switching happening there.

After getting home, we’ll cook something, watch a movie with popcorn, hit the gym or play a few games of StarCraft as Zerg. On the weekends, it’s either rock climbing, inviting friends over for barbecue, or a day-long trip to a nearby town or village for some good, local food.

Follow Dimitris on Twitter (@glezos) to keep up with the latest updates and thoughts.

On Giving Back

Transifex Social Responsibility

Recently, we added a Social Responsibility section to our website. Before you click on that link, pause and think about what Social Responsibility means to you and why it exists. Then put that into context in terms of tech companies. Here’s our take on it.

It’s easy to argue that tech companies should be giving back to the community. There are plenty of stories that prove it’s been a boom time for the tech sector. Many companies are attracting the best talent, providing enviable work environments, and perhaps most importantly, they are adding value to the communities in which they work in and beyond through their day-to-day operations.

From the outside looking in, life is very good for these companies.

Talk with anyone in the non-profit sector, and the situation isn’t as rosy. They face daily challenges across almost every facet of their organization. Resources are often scarce, appealing to the public for support is never easy in a crowded market, and the nature of their work and the causes they support are more often than not, an endless cycle (alleviating poverty, protecting human rights, etc.). These challenge faced by the non-profits are prime opportunities for companies to help.

Helping looks different for every company. When we came up with our Social Responsibility program, we decided to focus on what we do best. We localize. Our platform helps companies and organizations grow by expanding their presence into new markets. So localizing the websites and expanding the reach of non-profits seemed like the most natural way for us to give back. This became the foundation of our Social Responsibility program: by providing our translation tools, we’re able to support the causes of many non-profits and help them reach a larger audience and connect with people who may not speak English.

Transifex’s own growth came about through the support of other people, organizations, and companies, especially in the Open Source community. We want to do the same for others. If you’re interested, the Social Responsibility section of our website highlights some of the organizations we work with, how we work with them, and why we work with them. Check it out! We’ll be adding more stories as time goes on.

5 Best Practices for Localizing Software Applications

Localization is complicated. There are linguistic issues, technical challenges, formatting problems that will make you crazy. Based on the experience of Transifex users, we have identified 5 best practices that will help you avoid some serious mistakes when localizing software applications. Here they are:

1. Give yourself some room

Did you know that the phrase “Repeat password” is 50% longer in German than in English? This is a real challenge for anyone localizing software. Design is a critical part of a software app. You probably invest as much time and energy in how the app looks as on how it works. Good designers allow room for strings to grow and shrink. Keep in mind that text size will vary across all languages. If you don’t leave yourself some room, localizing into some languages will “break” your design – it will look awkward and have an unnatural feel to it.

You want to allow for a 40% variance in text sizes. This will take care of most strings in most languages, but you will need to test your content and your application to see how it plays out.

2. Never Concatenate Strings

Qualifying one string with another (or combining string in some way) is a shortcut that nobody will notice until your software is localized. But when the translators start working, you’re going to have a big problem. Subtle syntactical differences (where the modifier is placed, for example) change significantly between languages. If not handled properly, you will end up with more bugs than a summer picnic.

The best practice is to code the entire string together and allow your translators to put the words in the correct order for each linguistic context. It’s a bit more work for you up front, but it will definitely pay off in the end.

3. Pay Attention to Punctuation

When you’re coding, you’re in the groove. You want to write strings that you can reuse later – so you leave out the punctuation and plan to add it later. Don’t. Maybe you plan to re-use a string in different context where it might need different punctuation. Don’t do that either.

Always include punctuation in context, and create unique strings for each line of text. Even the same sequence of words may translate differently with different punctuation in different languages. In French, for example, a colon is surrounded by spaces. If you omit the colon in your string, and try to add it later, your French interface will have a typo and your work will look sloppy. Probably not what you had in mind.

4. Give Proper Names Their Due

Depending on the language, the spelling and pronunciation of proper names may change based on how they are used. For example, Joe Smith vs. Smith Joe.

Give extra attention to how you treat names in your software app. It’s best to separate and capture all three main name fields “first”, “last” and “username” for example. This give you the most flexibility to use the names based on both language and context.

5. Use a Universal Format for Date, Time & Currency

Time, date and currency formats vary wildly from country to country. The most commonly know formatting challenge is the month/date/year vs. date/month/year issue. But that’s nothing compared to some of the variations we’ve come across. Think about what day is the first day of the week. Did you know that in Estonia, Saturday is the first day of the week, the US starts on Sunday, the UK on Monday, the Maldives on Friday.

The good news is, you can use the jQuery UI date picker to overcome this challenge. Java can help as well. Code in a universal format like ISO time and then tap an open-source library like Datejs to format for your specific location.

Probably the most important thing to realize when localizing your software application is that doing it manually is out of the question. Not too long ago that’s how it was done. There were lots of spreadsheets tracking what had been translated and what hadn’t, what was updated and what wasn’t. These spreadsheet were sent around via email and were a big hassle to manage. Today with modern localization management platforms like Transifex, all of this (and much more) is managed for you. With any good localization management platform you maintain control of your code and content while greatly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your localization activities.

Cool Community Projects on Transifex: GlobalLeaks, StoryMaker, Martus, Gnu Privacy Guard

We’ve partnered with Localization Lab to bring you community translation projects that support internet freedom and privacy. We hope you’ll take a look and get involved!

GlobalLeaks

GlobalLeaksGlobaLeaks is an Open Source project that empowers anyone to easily set up and maintain an anonymous, censorship-resistant whistleblowing platform.

Go to project »

StoryMaker

StoryMaker

StoryMaker enables existing and aspiring journalists all over the world to produce and publish professional-grade news with their Android phone, as safely and securely as possible.

Go to project »

Martus

Martus logo

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

Go to project »

Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG)

Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG)

GPG brings the widespread standard in OpenPGP encryption to Android, providing encryption for keeping emails and files private, and for verifying that emails and files are from who you think they are from.

Go to project »

 

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

A Simplified Translation Ordering Process

Since the launch of our integrations with TextMaster and Gengo, many of you have come to rely on them for translations. Today, we rolled out updates to the way you order translations from within Transifex, along with some backend optimizations.

Ordering Translations

In the past, when you wanted to order translations, you had to navigate from whichever page you were on back to the Dashboard, then go to the “Order translations” tab. This often involved many clicks. With today’s update, you can order translations directly from the Dashboard, each project’s Details page, Transifex Live, as well as the “My orders” tab, which replaces the “Order translations” tab. Look for the “Order translations” button at the top of these pages.

The actual ordering process is now done through a popup form split into distinct steps for easy navigation. You’ll see the same order form no matter where you initiate the order.

Order Translation UI Update 3

Here are the steps in the order form:

  1. Choose a vendor. Translations are provided by our partners. You can choose between Gengo and TextMaster.
  2. Select the content for translation. You have the option of selecting all resources within a project, or just a specific resource.
  3. Pick the target languages you want your content translated to. Please be sure that your project uses the supported locales for Gengo and TextMaster, e.g. fr and not fr_FR. Otherwise, a new language will be added to your project.
  4. Choose the quality level for your order. On this page, you also have the option of adding additional details about your order, including the tone you want, how translations will be used, and any other comments for the translator.
  5. Review and order. The final step is to review your selections, then place the order. Any comments or instructions included with the strings will be sent to the translators as well.

Depending on where you initiate an order, certain options will be pre-selected. Say you are in Transifex Live, and you’ve selected your website resource, that resource will be pre-selected in step 2 of the form. If you wish order translations for something else, or additional resources, you can still do so in the form.

Tracking Your Orders

After you’ve placed an order, you’ll want to know how it’s progressing. The “My orders” tab shows you the translation order progress and history for the selected organization.

Order Translation UI Update 2

We’ve added additional details about each order. Each order panel now includes the following information:

  • Amount
  • Order date and time
  • Number of words translated
  • Which resource(s) were translated
  • Source and target languages
  • Order status

And at the top right corner of the page, you can filter orders by their completion status: pending, in progress, delivered, and with issues.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Translating Video Subtitles Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Video is huge – and only getting bigger as more and more people are consuming video content. The latest PEW Internet Report shows that 72% of adult internet users in the US have watched videos on video sharing sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo. It’s no wonder that we keep getting requests to integrate video subtitle translation into Transifex. Well, your wish is our command. Transifex has long supported subtitle file formats. Now with our new Video Subtitle Editor you can translate subtitles while watching the video play. The new Video Subtitle Editor is available as part of the Transifex Premium plan.

We’ve put together a quick video to show you how the new Video Subtitle Editor works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZO3EW5_lyc

Subtitles are synchronized with the video, so as the video plays, the subtitles are highlighted accordingly. When you begin typing a translation, the video is automatically paused, giving you time to translate the subtitle. The embedded video player also lets you start/stop the video playback wherever you like. And if you click on a string, the video jumps to the point where that subtitle appears.

The video player is seamlessly integrated into the translation editor, so you can leverage your existing Translation Memory and Glossary. And if you want to see the default editor view without the video, it’s as simple as turning it off in the editor settings. Your video can be hosted on YouTube, Amazon S3, or any other 3rd party site, as long as it’s publicly accessible. Transifex supports all the common formats for full browser compatibility.

Translating video subtitles can be tricky, especially for education, training, or other video-heavy apps. Having the visual feedback of the video gives translators extra context as they translate and review subtitles.

Centralized Machine Translation Settings

If several of your projects share the same Machine Translation service and API key, you’ve probably wished for a central place to add that information once, and have it be applied to all your projects. Starting today, you can manage your Machine Translation settings on an organizational level under Dashboard → Settings → Machine Translation. All the projects within your organization will automatically inherit those settings.

Machine Translation Settings

It’s still possible to use a unique Machine Translation service and API key for each project and override what you saved in the organization settings. Simply go to your project > Manage > Machine Translation and fill in the appropriate info.

The Do’s and Don’t’s of Translating Your Online Store

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!

The beauty of online stores is that you can reach customers around the world without opening up shop in a new location. Many storeowners think that they can just run their site through Google Translate and new customers will be rushing to their (virtual) door. They then feel confused when the weeks go by without a single international sale.

To avoid this kind of frustration, we’re going to show you the right way to translate your online store, with examples of mistakes to steer clear of.

Mistake 1: Using automatic translation tools

This is the number one mistakes that business owners make when trying to translate their online store or even their corporate website. While Google has been improving its machine translation tools, they still have a long way to go, especially for more complex languages.

We always recommend human translation because not only can translators write in the style and tone that you want, but they can also see the context of the text. This is most important for expressions and ambiguous words that may completely change the meaning your of sentence. For example, if your product description for shoes says that they are “to die for”, this may not translate well into other languages; your customers will be wondering why you’re talking about shoes and death. A human translator can replace this with the equivalent phrase that will resonate with your local audience.

Mistake 2: Missing translations

You put effort into your online store – the content, the design, the user experience – so that when visitors come to your store, they’ll be persuaded to buy something. So why wouldn’t you make every language version of your site as effective as the original? When you translate only a few pages (like the product descriptions) and ignore others (like Customer Service), you’re giving your visitors one more reason to abandon their shopping carts.

It’s important to translate everything, from the most obvious – home page, product descriptions – to less obvious, like menus, footers, and text in images. When you make your online store available in your customer’s language, you’re not only making it easier for them to navigate and get the information you want, but you’re also building a strong sense of trust, which is still crucial for online businesses.

Mistake 3: Not keeping your store up to date

You’ve translated your store; great! Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you can just forget about it now. Translation is an ongoing process because your store is always changing. Did you add new products? Is there a promotion on your home page? Did you shipping policies change? When you make any additions or changes to your online store, it’s important to update it in the other languages so that your visitors receive the latest information.

Mistake 4: Forgetting to check the layout

The English language is fairly short compared to others like German or French. Your website layout may look perfect in English, but don’t assume that this will be the case when you import your translations. The most important elements to check are your navigation menus, titles, buttons and forms. The text may be cut off or spill over onto other section of your pages. This is another situation where your human translator will come in handy. They can offer shorter synonyms or reword your sentences to fit into your desired layout. As with point #3, it’s important to keep checking the layout of your website whenever you add new products, promotions, etc.

Going beyond translation

We want to leave you with a final thought – the goal of translating your online store is to make a connection with your target audience in a new region. While translating your website into the local language is essential, to be truly local, you need to take into account your customer’s culture and preferences. Regional holidays, currencies, expressions and buying behavior are all important elements to integrate into your multilingual online store.

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.