Adir, a software engineer at Microsoft, has a passion for improving productivity for himself and others. So he decided to develop a search application called Fluent Search as an open-source side project about three years ago. Over the years, the project grew bigger and gained popularity from users around the world. Let’s explore how Adir, as an individual developer, responded to user demand and made the strategic decision to translate his app into foreign languages. By doing so, he was able to tap into new markets, increase his user base, and take Fluent Search to the next level.
Boosting Productivity: The Story of Fluent Search
Fluent Search is a free search application for Windows 10/11, which currently has more than 10,000 monthly active users all around the world. It allows users to search for files, apps, browser tabs and comes with numerous customization options. Many users find that using a mouse can slow down their productivity, especially in keyboard-oriented works like programming. Fluent Search provides a solution to this problem with its Screen Search feature, which lets users control their computer using the keyboard.
Fluent Search can even find in-app elements such as tabs, buttons, and hyperlinks inside processes for immediate access. With Fluent Search, users can search the web without the hassle of opening a new tab in their browser.
Unlike the Windows Start Menu, Fluent Search focuses on continuing existing work by allowing users to jump easily between running applications and browser tabs and find files based on their current workflow. Overall, Fluent Search is a powerful and efficient tool for users looking to enhance their productivity on their Windows devices.
Breaking the Language Barrier: How is Fluent Search Becoming Fluent in Foreign Languages
From the very beginning, Adir wanted Fluent Search to be translated into many languages, but it was still his long-term plan. But once users started to be interested more in Fluent Search and he started to receive emails in Chinese and in other languages he didn't understand at all, he understood that there are actually users from various countries interested in having Fluent Search translated into their native language.
"Once Fluent Search got more popular, I have seen an increase in usage in many markets, while in some, like China, they weren't many users. Some customers in specific countries are used to software that works perfectly in their own language, that's why I decided to bring Fluent Search fully translated to these users."
Currently, Fluent Search is being translated into ten languages, with Chinese and Spanish being the most popular. Adir observed that after translating Fluent Search into Chinese, the number of Chinese users increased significantly. Now, it's the second most-used language of Fluent Search after English, with more than 2000 users.
Effortless Automation: How Tolgee API Simplified Fluent Search's Translation Workflow
Adir faced several challenges before using Tolgee for software localization. One of the main challenges was that Fluent Search was software designed for power users, making localization tricky because users wanted customization. Fluent Search has around 500 settings, and every time users requested new features or developed plugins, Adir had to ensure that they were translated correctly. He did not want to hire professional translators but relied on volunteers who were strong users of Fluent Search and knew the product very well.
Fluent Search's localization process using Tolgee has been greatly streamlined, thanks to the versatile and easy-to-use Tolgee API. Fluent Search is a desktop app built on Avalonia UI, a framework that allows the app to match controls in the UI to keys and fetch data in runtime.
The use of Tolgee has enabled Fluent Search to automate its translation workflow, which is especially beneficial given the daily and monthly releases of the app. Whenever a new version is published, the software automatically fetches the translations from the Tolgee server and applies them to the app, with some automation to ensure there are no mistakes.
"My experience with Tolgee was almost flawless, APIs were easy to use, and the user interface is quite simple and easy to understand."
From Excel Files to Automated Translation Workflows
Another issue was the lack of integration with Adir's development cycle. He had tried several localization tools and even attempted to develop his automated solution using Excel files, but none of them worked well.
"I aim to automate 99% of my work as a developer, and I needed something that would help me easily integrate the translation of Fluent Search into my CI/CD pipelines."
However, Tolgee helped Adir overcome these challenges by providing him with easy APIs to get, update, and work with translations. He used these APIs to automatically update his app in every daily release based on new translations or even give translators a special version to work with the translations in the app.
Tolgee also met Adir's requirements for a localization tool by providing an easy-to-use interface with a versatile set of APIs that he could use to automate translation workflows. In summary, Tolgee made the localization of Fluent Search much more manageable, efficient, and streamlined for Adir, allowing him to focus on other essential aspects of his work as a developer.
Cutting Time and Costs with Tolgee
In addition to saving time and resources, using Tolgee has led to concrete improvements in Fluent Search's usage:
"Localizing Fluent Search wouldn't have been as easy without Tolgee. As a software targeted toward power users, it has more than 500 settings, each including name, descriptions, and many tooltips with over 2000 keys to be translated, with new keys added every week. Using Tolgee has been a breeze for the translators using machine and memory translations while also providing the modern APIs I needed to fully integrate it into a CI/CD pipeline for deployment and version managing."
Overall, Fluent Search has seen a significant reduction in the time required for the development cycle of new versions, thanks to the streamlined localization process enabled by Tolgee. The effort required to set up the workflow was only one day, but the resulting productivity boost has been substantial, saving weeks of time compared to previous methods.
Unlock Global Success: Why Software Localization Matters
As we wrapped up, I asked Adir one last question: Why do you think software localization is important? Adir: This one is simple. I don't know any product that is widely used that's not fully localized!
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