Disqus Jumps the Language Barrier

Disqus Jumps the Language Barrier
Table of contents
July 16, 2013
3 min read

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.


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.

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