The Story of Nitro, a professional translation service that helps developers with localization and multilingual support
- Alconost corporate blog,
- Development of mobile applications,
- Language localisation,
- Start-up development,
- Product Management
Localizing your product can involve many pitfalls, and there are two of them that developers face AFTER the content has been localized: translating the product updates, and offering support for international users of the localized versions.
In this article, we will demonstrate how these issues can be solved with just a few clicks.
Written by Alconost
The problem with frequent updates used to be a headache, both for us and our clients: To translate three strings into 10 languages, it was necessary to contact the manager and then wait for them to manage the translators. A small translation can be completed within several hours but it was the process that was a hassle. Moreover, it was an expensive task since the clients were paying for the manager’s time.
Finally, our CEO, Alexander Murauski, came up with the idea of a service with a completely different approach. A potential customer could submit their text to this online service, without contacting a manager, and receive the completed translation within a day.
When the beta version of the service was released, people willing to try it signed up immediately, even though we hadn’t added the payment button yet.
Our professional online translation service was called Nitro (note: the name comes from “nitrous oxide” — a kind of fuel used in drag racing to boost speed).
We set up several goals: translations must be high-quality and fast, and the process of creating an order should only take a few clicks.
Have we achieved our goal regarding speed? See for yourself: 50% of all orders are completed within 2 hours, while 96% are ready in less than 24 hours.
From the very beginning, we chose to only work with native-speaking translators. Why? A good translation should flow naturally, while non-native-speaker translators might make an odd choice of words or use of syntax. “Important amount” or “significant amount”? “Strong rain” or “heavy rain”? The correct word choice is obvious to a native speaker. These are easy examples, but there are plenty of cases where a non-native speaker might miss the subtle difference.
Besides, translating into a mother tongue is faster — and for us, the speed of the translation does matter.
It’s not enough to just be a native speaker of the target language. All our native speakers are professional translators with translation experience in the fields of IT and game development.
Originally, we offered 3 levels of quality: excellent, good and low-cost. All translations were supposed to be high-quality, but low-cost was a good fit for more informal translations (like an email to a friend). Excellent quality was the best choice for translating business-related text, marketing material, articles, etc.
Eventually, we abandoned the idea of grading the quality since 70% of our clients are companies. They would rather not choose between “good” and “excellent” — they just need high quality they can trust.
One can place an order with literally a few clicks. Here is how it works:
If you are already registered with Nitro, all you need to do is the following:
• Paste your text in the window bar
• Choose the language(s) required for translation
• Top-up your account (regular clients maintain a balance for several orders and they can skip this step)
• Click “Send for translation”. Voilá!
Just 3 steps. It's very convenient, so Nitro, the professional online translation service, is indispensable for shorter texts. Though “shorter texts” may vary: some clients translate their whole app in Nitro (if it’s not too text-heavy).
We created Nitro for our clients at Alconost (and yeah, for ourselves as well), but this service turned out to be sought-after by many. The most recent 10 000 orders were placed by 369 clients. Most of them are product developers who translate app strings into multiple languages simultaneously. This is the first problem that we mentioned above: translating frequent updates.
You know how it happens: you’ve adjusted the text in the original version and inevitably you have to change the localized versions in all the languages. In this regard, localization truly is a continuous process. Our first client, Vasily, came to us 10 years ago to get his video convertor software interface localized and… he’s still ordering translations for this software to this day :)
Mobile games make up the lion's share of IT translations. Game developers endeavor to introduce new content regularly (and motivate the players to purchase more), for instance, Valentine’s Day or Christmas quests, daily bonuses and special offers.
Even if you’ve only added cool St. Patrick’s Day quests and dialogue just 2 days prior to the holiday, you can still translate them timeously, as almost 99% of the orders in our professional translation service are completed in less than 24 hours.
Nitro offers the option of being able to leave a comment for the translators and attach images and links to screenshots. These give the translator extra context so that they can provide a better and more accurate translation of dialogue, quest descriptions, button text and push notifications.
Single words (like button texts) can be a problem: for example, without context, it’s not clear if the English word “block” is the verb “to block” or a noun “a block”. There are many examples like this — that’s why it’s essential to use the abovementioned features to provide the translator with the context.
Often, the button text must fit within a certain number of characters. Once again, you can use the “comment for the translator” option: for example, type in “The max text length must be 30 characters”.
The interesting thing is that the top 10 languages for app localization have not changed for a long while. Our Nitro orders prove the list is remaining the same: the most popular languages are Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Russian, Italian and Indonesian.
Apart from translating UI for mobile apps, special offers and daily quest descriptions, our clients use Nitro to translate software updates, developers’ resumes, report copyright infringement to Google, and deal with Apple tech support.
Okay, mobile game translations are obvious, but sometimes we also get less than typical translations: apps for flirting and dating, losing weight, editing photos for showing off (like “get impressive abs or a cool beard style”), coloring books, cross-stitching and astrology.
How to communicate with users if you don't speak their language?
You want your product to be a success, so you need to keep your finger on the pulse of what users say in their reviews. What do they like about your app? What functions are inconvenient? Do they have any suggestions or expectations?
But the users leave reviews in their own language — one of those you localized your product into. In this case, the easiest and most convenient option is to translate the reviews, and especially your responses, using Nitro.
The users will appreciate how quickly you responded and that you looked after them and responded in their own language. These actions improve your app’s rating and make your customers more satisfied.
How can you motivate a user to leave a review? Ask them for feedback in the next What’s New text — or right after a positive moment in the game, like reaching a new level. A bad time to ask for feedback is when it pops up the moment the user opens your app.
Features and striving for excellent service
There are 35 languages in Nitro at the moment, but we are adding new languages per your requests: recently, the Albanian language was added to the list. We’ve been getting requests for Russian-Turkish and Russian-Hebrew. If you need a specific language pair, write to our live chat support.
The live chat in Nitro was launched just recently. Now, our clients have customer service within their reach: no need to open your email box — you can drop us a line right inside Nitro.
Besides translations, you can also order proofreading in Nitro. It is cheaper than translation and it is a sensible choice if you have decent writing skills in a language, but your text needs some polishing and grammar mistakes eliminated. Proofreading is available for all the languages we offer.
Another useful feature is the glossary. You can add specific terms and frequently used words (UI button texts, abbreviations) to your Nitro account — it will help to ensure terminological consistency across multiple translations.
“We are bursting with ideas about improving our translation service and taking it to a new level. There are more features to come!”
— Alexander Murauski — Nitro’s creator
In case something goes wrong
Though you don't contact the translators directly, you don't need to wonder if the outcome will be acceptable or not.
We have friendly customer support team whom you can contact via the chat window (it’s not a chatbot!).
In some rare cases, when you are not content with something in your translation, you can send the order for a revision.
What do you prefer: a precise literal translation — or a more refined, but not word-for-word translation? In some cases, our translators give you two choices. For example, they might add: “this is not a precise translation to Spanish, but it sounds more natural this way. If you want the exact word-for-word translation, it should be as follows:…”
As you can see, translating updates and communicating with international users doesn’t have to be scary, these issues can be solved fast and with no hassle.
We hope Nitro can also become your friend and help with translations.
Would you like to try it out? You can receive a $10 coupon as a new user. Just get registered in Nitro and write to us at Nitro live chat.
P.S: Nitro is especially handy for shorter texts. If you need to localize your product or translate a large project, welcome to Alconost.
The article was contributed by Alconost.
Nitro is the professional online translation service by Alconost. Alconost is a global provider of product localization services for applications, video games, videos, and websites into 70+ languages.
We offer native-speaking translators, linguistic testing, a cloud platform with API, continuous localization, 24/7 project managers, and any format for string resources. We also make advertising and educational videos and images, teasers, explainers, and trailers for Google Play and the App Store.