Agile software development has become an increasingly common practice, especially among the new wave of tech startups. As opposed to traditional waterfall development with large releases and significant time between these releases, Agile development stresses continual updates and constant improvement. Anyone with a smartphone notices that his/her applications are now routinely updated. This fundamental change in development practices has significant implication on downstream processes, especially the translation of the user interface and instructions – localization – in comparison to historical practices. This case study highlights how close cooperation between the developer and a localization provider experienced in Agile development can keep pace with a constantly changing world.
Insightly is a simple to use yet powerful CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system for small and medium sized businesses worldwide. Businesses use Insightly’s cloud-based application to manage customer interactions, opportunities, proposals and projects over the web and on mobile devices. Insightly is available on the web at Insightly.com, for iOS devices in iTunes, and for Android devices on Google Play.
With integrations to Google Apps, Office 365, MailChimp and major social media sites; mobile apps for tablets and smart phones; and easy access to a REST API for custom integration, it is easy to see why Insightly is the top-ranked small-business CRM in the Google Apps Marketplace. Insightly is based in San Francisco.
Insightly initially launched with an English-language platform. However, as the company grew, through simple web analytics it realized that the majority of their users were not native English speakers -- 55 percent of Inslightly users were overseas. “Multiple languages weren’t part of the original plan but there was a pretty clear mandate [for them],” said Brian McConnell, director of localization at Insightly.
To capitalize upon this opportunity, Insightly raised an additional $10 million in venture capital to further expand globally and fund technical enhancements. “Today we have over 750,000 users in 100 countries around the world,” said McConnell.
However, the company’s new mission brought a new set of challenges. Insightly’s updates and releases now need to be available in half a dozen languages, across multiple platforms including their web and smartphone apps, technical documents and marketing website. A new system was needed to keep the code base and production workflows in sync and to push out updates as quickly as possible (as many as two per week).
Insightly decided centralization would be key to their localization efforts and enlisted the help of Transifex to manage the process. Transifex is a cloud-based localization management tool that lets companies easily collect content from source control and automate workflows from a single platform. The service also allows for easy communication between Insightly’s project managers and developers and the translation service team at Elanex.
Elanex was the natural translation partner for the company. Not only is Elanex familiar with Agile content development and constant flow production models, but it also understands software development itself. “Elanex is interesting because it has lots of experience developing software internally,” said McConnell. “They understand how software is developed and localized.”
As a result, Elanex has become more than just a vendor. It is a partner in Insightly’s global mission. Throughout this last year, Elanex provided best practices, helped debug issues, provided internationalization consulting on problems with date-formatting and language sorting all while consistently delivering fast and accurate translations.
“We have a process in place that works almost on autopilot,” said McConnell. At the beginning of each week, Insightly uploads new and updated content to Transifex. Elanex automatically receives those materials and processes them through its central production platform. Small update or large, the Elanex team returns professional translations in hours (4 to 36) depending upon the production requirements. This includes the all-important In Context Review to make sure that localized content displays smoothly on all platforms. The translated content is automatically received by Insightly through Transifex, ready to be deployed to their customers around the world. The system works so smoothly that Insightly was able to scale up from 2 languages to 6 over the course of a few months without making any changes to production schedules.
Building on this success, for their support site Insightly selected Elanex’s VeriFast(sm) service to augment their translation needs.VeriFast(sm) uses professional native-language translators to review and correct large volumes of materials translated by state-of-the-art machine translation technology in virtually any language, providing quality and accuracy – in record time and cost-effectively.
“The work is as close to perfect as you can get,” said McConnell. “Elanex knows how to build tools and has a great network of translators.”