Signal & Transifex

Signal's localization strategy: Building a Secure Experience with Transifex

Founded in 2014, Signal aims to develop open source privacy technology that protects privacy rights, promotes free expression and enables secure global communication. Millions of people use Signal every day to communicate freely. There are also a number of organizations, supporting billions of users, that have integrated the open-source Signal Protocol into their offerings. With a focus on speaking the language of its users, Signal’s localization strategy spans the product cycle from its website to in-app displays to supporting content.

Business Needs

Prior to Transifex, Signal used GitHub to localize text in its apps. Although GitHub supports public contributions from a global base of volunteers, it was difficult to manage shared text (and shared localizations) across the iOS and Android app code bases. Additionally, more advanced features like displaying context screenshots and integrating with were not available.

Signal initially turned to Transifex for its commitment to the open source community and for its interface to interact with Signal’s global base of volunteer translators. Transifex supports a wide variety of languages and has channels to communicate with all translators or with a specific language team. Since then, Signal has continued to use Transifex for the growing list of features that make it easier to localize content — inclusive of the website, App Store and Play store listings, in-app text, and FAQ pages.

"To protect free expression and enable secure communication globally for millions of people every day, we utilize Transifex to build a native experience with localized content. Signal puts users first, and Transifex helps us provide an interface that users can understand and use without friction."
Riya Abraham
Localization, Support, QA, Signal

Signal leverages the various methods that Transifex offers to integrate with different platforms to manage the input and output of localized content. Engineering teams use the CLI to push, pull, and sync translations. Support uses the Zendesk integration for pushing and pulling changes. Here are a few of the Signal team’s favorite functionalities of the Transifex platform:

Visual Context: “…when Transifex added a visual context feature where screenshots were linked to string, this reduced the number of questions from translators.”

Zendesk Integration: “Some of the recent updates made it easier to troubleshoot when content wasn’t syncing across platforms – i.e. an orange color and text indicating which pages or resources contained errors.”

UI/UX: “The user experience for managing languages for projects is very clear even with the abundance of information. Overall, the UI/ UX is straightforward where the call-to-action is highlighted or text appears in context explaining why a feature is disabled and how to enable (i.e. Save translation, Translation Memory options).”

Translation Memory Fill-Up Suggestions: From the perspective of a translator, suggestions that appear for a specific string along with the %-age match help Signal translate evolving projects 20% faster.

API & documentation: Riya and her team find the API and its documentation really helpful for customizing the tools and outputs.

“…when Transifex added a visual context feature where screenshots were linked to string, this reduced the number of questions from translators.”
Riya Abraham
Localization, Support, QA, Signal

“Signal puts the community first, and Transifex helps us provide an app that people all over the world can understand and use in their native languages”, shared Riya. With Transifex, the team has localized Signal Private Messenger into 5+ languages in the past 3 months. Evolving still, Signal’s needs will grow further. “It looks like Transifex is listening to and looking at ways to fulfill those needs. Interaction with support has been prompt, informative, and friendly”, shared Riya.

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