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Saving 100 developer-hours per year on maintenance alone

“We estimated that it required more than 25 hours a quarter just to keep the old system working as is, without making improvements.”

Chris Kuehl

Yelp Webcore team


“Frankly, we are not experts in maintaining translation software ourselves. So we wanted to outsource that.”

At the root of it, Yelp's team was most concerned with creating an environment where everyone can do their work – productively. Chris Kuehl, who was responsible for moving Yelp to Lokalise, was looking for a solution to let Yelp's developers continue with their work uninterrupted and without changing their workflow, while giving the translators a system that's modern, well-supported, and easy for them to work with. 

Their legacy translation system was created by patching together a few solutions that needed to be constantly synced to work together. But it hadn't been updated for 5 years, and it was taking 25 hours per quarter for developers just to maintain it at the status quo. They were spending resources on a solution that was becoming increasingly outdated without the benefits of it getting any better. 

At the same time, it was important for them to provide their users with the best possible product. And that includes well-localized content that they have across 18 different languages, 43 locales, on the web, Android, and iOS. To do that, Chris' team wanted to provide the translators with state-of-the-art tools to deliver that promise to customers. 


Outsourcing the hassle, reaping the benefit

The combination of the API, UI, and keys-based approach was exactly the system that Yelp was looking for in a hands-off TMS (translation management system). The Yelp team was excited to move to a keys-based approach to translations, compared to the file-based approach they were using before. This allowed for the Lokalise API to seamlessly integrate with Yelp, which in turn leads to faster implementation of new translations. 

Now, Yelp's translation system has become more streamlined. When new code is written, the strings are submitted to Lokalise using Yelp developer tooling. Translators submit their translations, then the developers export completed translations using the Lokalise API. Chris highlights that this could only be done thanks to “Lokalise's extensive API”. 

“We wanted to provide our translators with a world-class interface.”

Happy translators and efficient localization

In addition to successfully outsourcing the maintenance of their translation management system, Yelp was happy to provide their translation team, over 30 individuals, with improved software and UI. 

After using software that was 5 years out of date, Yelp translators were excited to access new features available in Lokalise. Those include:

  • Multilingual mode
  • Translation memory
  • Searching, sorting, filtering
  • Spelling and grammar check

As Yelp is present globally and localizes its content to 32 countries and 43 locales, it has a large number of keys, translations, and translators involved. Despite Yelp being a large product in general, Chris says they haven't run into any problems with Lokalise. “Even for a relatively large product, I would say it has worked pretty well.”

All in all, Chris emphasizes that Lokalise has let Yelp employees focus on what they do best rather than spend time and effort on maintaining a TMS – something that isn't their core business.

“We have reduced the maintenance burden on engineers and provided a much better interface for our translators.”

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