The Helsinki, Finland based startup Transfluent has launched Transfluent for Apps. It is a cloud based service where app developers can tap into the network of 15000 translators that work in 60 languages. The traditional or more common way to translate applications into multiple languages is to finish the app and towards the end of the development cycle, send all the text strings for translators. Transfluent helps in speeding this up, but making the translation process a part of the development cycle and will thus improve time to market.

Transfluent for Apps works through the company’s API. The company’s backend has been prepared in such a way that it works well with lean development processes where multiple iterations take place each day. All the texts can be sent to translators multiple times per day, but only those where changes have taken place are translated as Transfluent’s system keeps track of different iterations.

Each translation task is assigned to two independent translators – one does the translation and another proofreads the text. The API helps the developer specify context for the translation task, including screenshots taken from the application.

Apple and Google allow app developers to include multiple language versions of their apps in the same build. Also, app stores allow localised descriptions of applications to enable better download conversions.

We also asked Jani Penttinen, the CEO and founder of Transfluent on what led the team to start developing services for app developers. “Transfluent is an extremely lean organization. We basically never do anything until there are paying customers for it. We had already localized a several apps, so we knew it was quite a pain for the developers. They had to extract the content into an excel file, which we would translate and send back. And the developer had to update the app resource files. And then do the same again at every update.”

“Then Haave Inc, the makers of DocScanner asked if we had any type of an automated interface for translating apps. Knowing how painful the process usually is for developers, and having a great customer who was willing to supply us with real world testing material, we saw an opportunity to make a new interface and provide a solution that will help nearly all application developers out there. With valuable feedback from multiple developers, I think we have been able to come up with something that really makes the life a little easier for app developers.”

One might think that online translation services are taking over the market in the same way travel agencies moved online. This isn’t exactly true. Where as offline translators were used in cases where the translated text can be used for years in some cases, online translators are used in new areas that require rapid and sometimes multiple iterations, like in the case of apps. Therefore, online translation services are tapping into a completely new market, but also stealing marketshare from the offline agencies.

So far Transfluent has translated apps for the likes of Haave Inc., Recoil, Non-Stop Games and Kapu Toys.