Transifex is an upstream-friendly cross-project localization platform. This project is a service offering users with an easy-to-use interface to submit translations to various projects hosted on a number of hosting platform types. The name literally means "translation-builder" (from the latin verb facere).
Transifex aims to add value to organizations by offering multiple communities of users with a highly distributed service for content management across different locations, with an emphasis on scalability, ease of use, and low maintenance overhead. It's strongest point is content translation because of the large number of users contributing to multiple projects hosted on different platforms.
In a typical scenario, Transifex is utilized by an organization to offer its translation community with a gateway to translation submission to the organization's projects hosted on various versioning systems.
Currently Transifex is used by the Fedora Project to manage translations by a few hundred translators to 75 projects and 70 languages, peaking at 3000 translation submissions per month.
Who benefits from using Transifex?
Here are a few groups of people who can benefit from using Transifex.
* For a translator, Transifex is a one-stop point to find projects to contribute translations to. Files submitted through Transifex land directly in the project's source, so submitted contributions show up immediately eg. in CVS and are shared among all downstream projects pulling code from this project.
* For a content provider, like a software developer or documenter, Transifex is a dead-simple way to get his project translated quickly to many languages. Since Transifex acts as a hive for translators, the provider is given access to a translation community potentially with thousands of users.
* For a company, a big software project (like a Linux distribution) or a content management system looking for a solution to manage translation submissions from users, Transifex offers a way to increase productivity and scalability (both for translators and developers) by supporting various hosting environments (CVS, SVN, hg, git, ...) and eliminating the need to manage thousand of accounts on each system.
People argued that Transifex can become a "highly distributed content management platform". We surely aim to be able to offer such a complete platform at some point in the future.
Advantages over similar systems
Transifex's strongest point is that it handles file submissions in a way that blends well with the existing workflow of all three of the previous parties. It is both upstream-friendly (developers are happy by using their system of choice and not having to care about translators) and downstream functional (translators are happy by working in teams and not having to care about development). As far as we know, there is no other solution that adds value in the way (and quantity) that Transifex does.
Here is how Transifex fits in the whole puzzle.
* Traditional workflow: The traditional way of translation submission management is very simplistic. The translator receives translations using anonymous VCS commands, or plain http. He is either granted access to the development server, or the developer receives translations with emails or bug reports. Both of these ways impose a high maintenance overhead to maintainers and project administrators, and a high learning curve for translators, most of which are not technically advanced users.
Transifex hides all the technical details for translators, and utilizes their existing credentials on their project's authentication system. This way developers don't have to manage thousand of accounts, and translators don't have to learn many different types of systems (eg. VCS commands). Both of them have better things to do with their time.
* Centralized tools (Rosetta, etc): Most of the translation solutions offered so far require developers to migrate their code from their preferred system to the system of choice of these tools. For example, Rosetta supports only projects hosted on Launchpad's Bazaar system, and Pootle has limited support for remote VCS-hosted projects. Developers either give up productivity to do this, or have their files copied downstream and have to merge often with the development version.
Transifex supplies translations directly in the project's versioning system, thus each submission benefits all downstream projects.
Transifex is also open source, contrary to Rosetta and Launchpad which are proprietary software.
* Online-translation tools (Pootle, etc): Transifex is designed ground-up with a focus to blend well with the existing workflow of developers and translators. As a content distribution platform, Tx's goal is to offer a full-featured backend service to tools such as Pootle, handling file fetching and delivery to remote hosting systems.