Chess.com in Crowdin: Success Story

3 mins read

Chess.com is the biggest online social networking for chess players. Over 8 millions of chess fans with all skills level hanging together to play, learn, teach, communicate and share.

Observing their success in managing translation projects for mobile application, we decided to talk to Chess.com localization leader Erik and summarize a good localization practice into short overview easy to follow.

The functionality of Chess.com home grown localization solution was not enough to cover translation environment and the translation software low input threshold, so they started to look for way round which stumbled them onto Crowdin.

The idea was simple: to find the place where Chess. com huge community can work together to translate.

Taking little steps they started with Android mobile app around 2000 words in total. The project was translated in over 40 languages for less than 3 weeks. Now 196 contributors are taking part, the number of translated languages reached 53 languages and counting.

We asked Erik to outline top three features that Chess.com loved about our solution the most and which can be a real aid in managing similar localization projects.

An answer was:

  1. Amazing User interface (the progress is visible, and the users like it a lot)
  2. All of the features I could want for accountability and reporting
  3. Easy import/export functionality

Which is really flattering.

Why did Chess.com decide to let end users take care about localization?

Erik:

For us, we need community members because they know the names of our products and also very specific chess vocabulary. We tried another service before with “professional” translators and the translations made no sense to chess players.

This emphasizes the crucial importance of translators competence in specific software terminology and the layouts.

The approaches Chess.com used to motivate volunteers are quite uncomplicated. They simply invited people to apply to be translators and then chose the best ones. As Erik indicated:

Community members are doing it for the love of the game, for the community and their friends, for free memberships, and for some cash :)

Conclusions

Summarizing Chess.com experience here are some numbers that shows the dynamics of localization process:

  • Project type: mobile app
  • Project size: 2000 words
  • Project contributors: 196
  • Completed target language: 53
  • Time spent: 4 weeks
  • Costs: $29 per month

Total cost: $29

Translators salary: acknowledgment, free memberships, recognition among community

In comparison to localization via translation agency the total cost is approximately 8 times bigger per single language.

So savings for Chess.com project is somewhere around $200 per language and $10600 per whole project so far, excluding languages that are still under translations.

Crowdsourced Localization Main Benefits

  • Speedy translations
  • Cost reduce
  • Reactivity: newly added texts are being translated within hours
  • Increase users loyalty and engagement
  • Translations made by experts of the specific software area
  • Lots of target languages

Is Chess.com planning to move forward with localization to other projects via crowdsourcing?

Yes, next step would be an IOS application and the web application itself.

So, Crowdin can be a fair assistance to automate translations migration across mobile apps and in-context localization for web application.

We wish Erik and the community a lucky break. Hope a good example will be followed and reproduced by others.

Iryna Bilyk

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