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ESL Gaming shortens time to market with a centralized approach to translation

''We chose Lokalise because we saw that it could grow and continue to be used for many new products as the company evolved.'' 

Antony Seedhouse

Director of Technology Products at ESL Gaming

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ESL Gaming — the world champions of esports

If you are familiar with esports, ESL Gaming needs no introductions - it is the world’s largest independent esports company that has shaped the history of this entertainment segment.

The company operates stadium-size events (both online and offline) across the globe, such as international leagues and tournaments, ESL national championships, grassroots amateur cups, and other high-profile events. 

With users from all over the world, ESL Gaming’s main markets are almost every country in Europe, as well as North America, South America, India, China, and Australia. For such a global scale platform, localization is not a nice-to-have, but a must. 

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In need of a centralized approach to translation

In the era before Lokalise, ESL Gaming had two self-made translation interfaces built into the first and second generations of their product. Antony Seedhouse, Director of Technology Products at ESL Gaming, says that the company was in need of a tool that could help get the translation interface out of their product. It needed to be a solution that could grow and continue to be used for many new products as the company evolved. 

Since all of the ESL Gaming products needed localization, it made sense to have a centralized solution. Antony explains:

“As an esports company, we didn't want to invest in building our own translation tool; it's not our industry. We looked around at what was on the market and Lokalise stood out as the best tool in its class. Not only in terms of UI but also in terms of price.”

At the moment, approximately thirty translators and ten developers work with Lokalise products and integrations at ESL Gaming. Antony shares an example of how Lokalise is used at his division that is responsible for apps and interactive websites: 

“We use Lokalise for managing the translations for our user interface - everything that’s standard across the platform. In addition, we use it for our mobile app for the same product and we are branching out into applying it to similar products that also have a standard user interface as well as our account identity platform.”

“Thanks to standardizing on Lokalise, the development cycle for adding translations to new products is shorter and simpler.” 

The team appreciates that Lokalise helps avoid repeated development work for every product - instead, they can just build on what already exists. Setting up a new project with Lokalise is very easy, and translations can be added just using the Lokalise interface without any extra work. 

Favorite features and undervalued features

Initially, the main feature that caught ESL Gaming’s attention was the Webhooks integration. Antony explains: “We knew that no matter what we did, we were going to interface Lokalise with our existing systems and products. For that, we needed to be sure that we could get the translations from Lokalise, preferably as they are translated rather than having to do some daily sync.”

”The Webhooks-translation stood out to us as being an awesome feature that made the Lokalise integration much simpler.” 

Apart from Webhooks, some of the main features used by ESL Gaming are:

  • Tasks - to keep track of the progress in translating new languages. Works also as a reminder to the translators triggering e-mails to them about what’s missing.
  • Support for the ICU-message format translations. A helpful integration for translators to make sure that they correctly include message format parameters in translations. It keeps track of mistakes or missing parameters.
  • Automatic translations are highly appreciated by translators for obvious phrases in a language; it's just one click to get the translation from Google Translate or Bing.
  • Translation memory. When there are similar translations across projects, translators can use them from the memory with just one click.
  • The built-in spelling and grammar checker helps to catch things like extra whitespace or missing spaces, missing line breaks, and so on.
  • The QA-checks that Lokalise provides which ensures that translators haven’t left unnecessary whitespaces or line breaks, or other typos.
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In addition, Antony thinks that document translation support is an undervalued feature in Lokalise. Their team didn’t notice this feature right away but later found it very helpful for translating terms & conditions pages and other legal documents. Antony says: “This feature is a nice add-on to Lokalise on top of the standard user interface translations that probably most companies come to Lokalise for.”

Speaking to users in their language

Before using Lokalise, ESL Gaming only had translations in their main product ESL Play because it had the custom built-in translation tool. Other products had only two or three language versions maximum because adding a new language was too complex and time-consuming to bother. Antony says:

“We used to send around Excel sheets to gather translations. Thanks to Lokalise, it's now easy for us to support translations in all of our products.”

Antony adds: “We are currently using Lokalise for at least six of our products, and five of them are now supported in at least twenty languages. Thanks to that, we can now offer our products easily in all of the languages that are important to our users.” 

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