#LocalizationMatters How localization best practices helped @Todoist succeed globally

Greater than 6 minutes, my friend!

Howdy friends!

For the past few months the wonderful Eleonora Angelici and I have been working on exciting new interview series designed for startups, developers, language lovers and everyone interested in localization.

This fun little project is aptly called Localization Matters. ☺️

We hope that you’ll enjoy reading those interviews and that the stories that we’ll share will bring a lot of value to the global localization community.

So, please, don’t forget to share and use our hashtag #LocalizationMatters

Your comments are also appreciated! 😉

Hugs from Canada and Italy!

Dmitry and Eleonora

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Localization Matters: Interview with Todoist

Today we’re talking with Daniel García.

Daniel Garcia is PR manager and localisation coordinator at Doist, the company behind the popular productivity app Todoist, and Twist, a new team communication app. He enjoys baseball, hiking, and has some journalism side projects in a Spanish radio station.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Discover how localization best practices helped @Todoist succeed globally. Read the interview with Daniel García on @OpenMicXL8 #xl8 #t9n #LocalizationMatters” quote=”Discover how localization best practices helped @Todoist succeed globally. Read the interview with Daniel García on @OpenMicXL8 #xl8 #t9n #LocalizationMatters”]

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Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview, Daniel. We’re thrilled to have you here! Can you please tell us a little bit about Todoist? Why did you build it and who is it for?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

Doist is a remote-first company with 50+ full-time employees in 23 different countries.

Doist has built Todoist, the personal productivity app market leader, which is 10 years-old, and Twist, a new (asynchronous, threaded-based) team communication app designed to challenge Slack and the concept of group chat apps.

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Congrats on your leading position in the productivity app market! That’s quite an accomplishment! When and why did you decide to localize Todoist into other languages and what languages did you choose?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

Diversity has always played a very important role at Doist.

We have people from 20+ different countries, different cultures, different languages on our team, and that’s something that helps us make better products because you find different mentalities and perspectives.

From day 1 our first app Todoist was localized into several languages, which helped a lot with distribution.

We did the same with Twist.

For some competitors it took four years to localize their app, and that’s just into a few languages.

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Wow! Congrats on building such a diverse team and on localizing your app from day 1. We think your customers really appreciate the effort. How did you choose your language services provider? Did you hire freelancers? Did you go with an agency or crowdsourcing? How did you find them and what was your selection criteria?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

The European languages (the major and the minor ones) was an obvious choice.

We chose Brazilian Portuguese over European Portuguese because Brazil is a larger market.

We also looked at the Asian languages, and it made sense to pick up both Traditional and Simplified Chinese, as well as Korean and Japanese, since those countries have stronger tech markets.

I was not the coordinator at the time when we decided how many languages we will localize Todoist into, but I’m sure we thought those languages could produce more revenue for the company.

We also started to localize into Turkish two years ago, and last year we made our first attempt with RTL languages, by localizing Todoist into Arabic on Android.

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Localization is definitely can bring more revenue to the company, so that sounds like a very good approach. What are the biggest challenges you face with localization? What are some of the things you’ve learnt along the way about the process of translation and localization that you didn’t know before?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

We started with in-house freelance translators and we intend to follow the same strategy in the future.

As I’ve mentioned in the previous question, when we started to localize our first product, Todoist, we didn’t know much about localization.

We just needed to launch a MVP of translations, and the department has evolved a lot over the years.

We believe that in-house freelance translators is the best way to localize a product, and we try to set the bar very high in our recruitment processes.

Our company values are very important.

But we are always considering new perspectives, and a LSP could be a solution too at some point.

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Great approach! An experienced team of freelance translators who knows your product inside out can deliver some really good results. How does localization affect your sales, growth and other metrics?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

It helps with the distribution of our products. A lot of people all over the world speak English, but not everyone.

It’s a little bit disrespectful for other markets when the product is only available in English.

I understand that every company has its own priorities, but giving access to people who speak different languages not only helps decentralize technology (USA, Silicon Valley…) but also helps greatly improve the revenue of the company.

And, as always, feedback from people from different countries, different cultures, different lifestyles, help us make a better product. 

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Absolutely! Launching multilingual products helps you dramatically improve your global reach which is always a good thing. What do you think should be localized first? Marketing materials, product pages or something else?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

First thing first: Product.

You can start with a specific platform (Android, iOS, web…), creating the right documentation (glossary, memory…) and then move to other platforms.

It doesn’t make any sense to translate the landing pages if the app is still in English.

Marketing materials such as newsletters, help articles… is the last thing you have to do.

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We agree! Product comes first, no amount of marketing materials can help if your users don’t understand the language of your app. How do you measure the quality of the localized content? Did you test it in any way?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

It’s really hard to measure it, but there are some indications that show the quality of localization.

In our case, all Todoist and Twist languages are spoken by at least 1 full-time employee, who help us evaluate the translator’s work.

Also, we have a very proactive community of users that provide feedback or suggestions about copywriting via support tickets.

For me, as a coordinator, it’s important that translators follow the documentation and workflows, are proactive and feel involved in the product and the company, and last requirement is they meet the deadlines, which are not very strict.

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Community is always willing to help with localization and might make some great suggestions. After all they use your product on a daily basis. Was it hard to reserve budget for localization? Did you have to adopt any strategies to make it possible?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

Not very hard. We are aware that the internationalization of our apps is a future source of revenue.

Whenever we had an internal discussion on whether we should invest more or less into localization (it happened when we had to pay a higher subscription for our translation memory) the it makes sense to invest” argument always won!

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We’re always happy to see companies that see localization as an investment and a future source of revenue. Last, but not least, why do you think localization matters?


Daniel Garcia Todoist PR localization business development

Localization matters because it decentralizes technology and the predominant language in the word.

US is the tech leader, most of the things happen there, but we have to think that there are 7 billion people and great products are created all over the world.

Other languages matter, so other people matter and we are obligated to offer them the best possible product, that means translating the product in their native language.

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What a beautiful way to put it, Daniel! 👍 Thank you so much for your time it was a real pleasure to learn how Todoist tackles localization. We hope your example will inspire more companies and app developers to consider app localization. We wish you the best of luck with Todoist and we hope that it will continue to grow and expand globally.


[clickToTweet tweet=”Learn how @Todoist got ahead of the competition with localization #xl8 #t9n #LocalizationMatters” quote=”Learn how @Todoist got ahead of the competition with localization #xl8 #t9n #LocalizationMatters”]

Thank you for reading, friend!

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Also, if you know any other startups, companies and developers who might be interested in doing an interview for #LocalizationMatters, please, let us know in the comment box below or click this link:

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Thanks again for reading and sharing!


~ Dmitry and Eleonora

Dmitry Kornyukhov

About Dmitry Kornyukhov

Founder of The Open Mic. Video game localization specialist. I help video game developers, game publishers and localization studios bring their projects to the Russian-speaking gaming community.

2 thoughts on “#LocalizationMatters How localization best practices helped @Todoist succeed globally

  1. Daniel, thanks for your candid answers. A quick question: what subscription are you paying for your translation memory? Do you mean that you use a translation management platform online where the translators work? If so, which one?

    1. Heya, Benjamin! Great question! Actually, Daniel is not on The Open Mic, we just invited him for this interview, so he won’t be able to answer your question directly. But from what I know they use Transifex. I hope it answers your question. 🙂

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