I started an open source app, AnkiDroid, which had been pretty successful so far, and I have managed to get it translated to 40 languages, but somehow almost nobody in India uses it (usage is very low compared to the number of Android users in India).

It is a big problem because I launched the app specifically to help students in countries like India. I think it is a chicken-and-egg problem: No Indian users mean no Hindi/Bengali/etc localizations get contributed to the Crowdin crowd translation platform that we use. For instance, the app only got popular in Japan after I convinced a Japanese friend to translate it.

QUESTION: How can I kickstart a Hindi translation?

Paying a professional translator is out of reach as the project does not generate any money. Is there maybe a kind of "localization exchange" platform where Hindi speakers would translate my app in exchange for me translating their app into Greek? Or any other solution to this chicken-and-egg problem?

There are tens of translation platforms with the same features as the one we are using, so if your answer is to suggest another one, please make sure to explain how it is different, thanks! Maybe a solution could be a translation platform with "points", where people would earn points for good translations, and give their points as "bounty" to the project+language of their choice?

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    Can the down voters explain their reasoning please? This seems like an answerable question that will typically only arise in the context of open source or free software.
    – overactor
    Jul 3 '15 at 4:49
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    Some people just downvote any question not about licenses: such people please read meta.opensource.stackexchange.com/q/222 Jul 3 '15 at 4:57
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    I'm throwing translatewiki.net out there as a comment, because I know it exists, but not how many people use it.
    – Martijn
    Jul 3 '15 at 6:21
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    Yes, this is much better Jul 6 '15 at 8:10
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    One of my projects gets a couple people every week asking how they can help with translations, and are fully translated in 8 languages and 11 more languages are partially translated. However we have had zero contributions for the Hindi language even though that area of the world is the second highest source of traffic to our website (behind English). You're also seeking Hindi translations... I wonder if Hindi translations are more difficult to get compared to others? Why would that be? Aug 25 '15 at 5:05

When you can't find a volunteer to do it, you might have to put in some money and hire a translator. When you do not have the money yourself but you have a sizable community, you might be able to get the money through crowdfunding.


Ubuntu's Launchpad site is set up to allow you to crowd source translations for your project, even from people who aren't users of it. I even got some contributions years after I stopped using it. So even if you don't use much of the rest of the site (unfortunately you will have to set up imports into their VCS), the translation service is valuable enough by itself.

  • It provides exactly the same service as the platform I am currently using, right? Jul 3 '15 at 15:05
  • @NicolasRaoul How would I know? You don't tell us anything about it. But I think that Launchpad can work as a 'localization exchange' Jul 3 '15 at 22:34
  • There was a paragraph detailing our current translation platform, but someone deleted it (for some reason I am not sure to understand yet), sorry about that. It is still visible in the question's history. Jul 6 '15 at 2:12
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    Even it's a good idea (upvote incoming), launchpad will not automaticly solve the issue. It only might help ;)
    – frlan
    Jul 6 '15 at 7:47
  • @frlan Yeah and it's not gamified like the question has been edited to ask for suggestions on. Jul 6 '15 at 7:51

I finally managed to find your instructions for translating the app: https://code.google.com/p/ankidroid/wiki/Contribution#Translate_AnkiDroid_into_your_language

I do not see this page mentioned at any place any of your users will easily get to (the bottom of any web page is no such place - I know that you link there from https://ankidroid.org/docs/help.html). It could be that they are simply not aware of the fact that AnkiDroid can be translated.

In an open source project, it is crucial for contributors to know that they can contribute, what they can contribute, where they should contribute it and how. The Wiki pages is quite comprehensive for the what and where and how to contribute, so a possible conclusion is that the user do just not know about it.

  • In the app's main menu, there is a "Help" button which opens ankidroid.org/manual.html whose before-last paragraph talks about translating... probably a bit far? I don't want the app's menu to get too crowded though. Jul 6 '15 at 8:54
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    You should take into account that people check whether translations are possible before they even consider to install the application. Jul 6 '15 at 8:57
  • So that means adding the information to Play Store / F-Droid / etc, if I understand correctly? Jul 6 '15 at 8:58

In this answer, Philipp mentions that you may have to give-in and just hire an actual translator if you are unable to get a volunteer to do the job. There are some ways in which you may be able to improve your chances of getting a volunteer, though.

People volunteering their abilities know that they won't be getting paid, but they may still want something to recognize their contributions. There are several ways that you can do this. If your app has credits, put something in it that recognizes the people who helped translating app. You may want to give even more special recognition for those who translated into certain languages.

Another way that you may be able to get a volunteer is to specifically ask someone (and possibly make a trade). I bet that here on SE there are people that speak Hindi. I'm sure there are SO chat rooms where you can find Indian developers, some of whom may be able to translate your app. They may even be willing if you offer special recognition or your services in translating an application that they may have made into Greek.


transifex is an open source translation platform; they do have a free account, so it is open to some extent.
ckan utilizes it:
mozilla does too

i recommend also poking around in internationalization and accessibility forums (w3c, mozilla, wikimedia foundation, etc.), as well as open access, and closed captioning communities.

google translator ceased being open source, but bing's is still open, although again, open limits your capabilities:

  • Have you read the last paragraph of the question? Jul 13 '15 at 2:40
  • i did! no one mentioned transifex, and i pointed out the organizations using it; both heavy-hitters in the land of openness, mozilla and okfn utilizing it should tell you volumes. no one mentioned the two translators either, so i wanted to point out which one was open. as for the advice, if you poke around in the right forums, you'll find the community you are looking for. i know of one that is exactly what you seek, but its for django developers....there are more out there
    – albert
    Jul 13 '15 at 4:03

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