InDriver case study: how to create the perfect ride-sharing app for 31 countries with different languages and cultures?
How a group of students decided to create a VK group with fair taxi rates, and ended up making an app that gained popularity in over 31 countries and became one of the largest ride-hailing services in the world.
— Over 47 million users
— Operates in 31 countries and over 300 cities
— Over 400 million rides provided
— Available in 11 languages
Besides its business activities, the InDriver team also invests in education. In 2012 inDriver launched the social education project BeginIT. Children from rural schools, residential schools, and orphanages were given the opportunity to take free courses in programming basics and to find their calling in IT.
How did it all start?
By accident, just like all the best things in the world. On a freezing evening in 2012 in Yakutsk, a number of the inhabitants who chose to hail a taxi found themselves subjected to inflated rates by their drivers.
It was then that some Yakutsk students had the idea of creating an independent VK group called “Independent Drivers,” or inDriver.
Passengers would post their transportation requests to the group with their addresses and the rate they were willing to pay for a ride, and drivers would accept their orders.
Egor Fedorov, director of operations at inDriver, tells how it all happened:
“Within half a year the group had over 60,000 members. Soon the group was replaced with the inDriver mobile app, where passengers could independently determine the most favorable conditions for their trips.
“In 2014, inDriver began expanding outside Yakutia. In 2017 it began operating in Moscow, and since the spring of 2018 it has been spreading beyond the borders of the former USSR.”
Making the idea a reality
“We set out to prove that a regional startup could create a successful international business through hard, honest work,” Egor Fedorov recalls. “We created high-class technology built on an ideology of freedom and fairness.
“Before we launched internationally, people told us that no other latecomer service had ever managed to dislodge Big Brother from the number one position. And yet we managed to do exactly that within our first year of operations in several Latin American cities.
“We chose Latin America after researching a number of other countries. We were drawn by the fact that the people here place a premium on freedom, they like to bargain, and they like to interact with each other, telling each other about interesting new developments.”
In 2018 inDriver spread out to other markets — Central and South Africa. The company continued its trend of steady growth, and in 2019 it was named the best app on Google Play in Brazil.
To be understood in every country
At every stage of a startup, company localization was handled by one manager and five translators. The company flourished: inDriver began operating not only in metropolises but also in smaller cities with unique dialects.
It became clear that the app needed to be translated in a way that accounted for each region’s local culture and language.
“When the app began covering more than four linguistic locales, we encountered challenges with maintaining and quickly updating the translations,” Egor Fedorov recalls. “As our company grew and developed, we were faced with the task of obtaining fast, high-quality translations of the app into various languages. Establishing an in-house localization department meant expending more resources and time to streamline operations. And so we deemed it too complex to handle independently.
“Networking came to the rescue. At the ProductSense’18 conference we met some of the folks from Alconost, who were able to help us handle these concerns. We got in contact with them, discussed the details, and began working together.”
Localization: problems and objectives
In order to expand and capture new markets, we needed quality localization. This meant finding solutions to several challenges:
- Adapting complex languages for translation. “Perhaps the simplest were Indonesian and Hindi,” says Egor Fedorov. “Indonesian localization required quite a bit of editing due to limits on the acceptable word length. The words in the language are quite long, and they simply did not fit on the screen of a cell phone.”
- Localization process management. The company had a team of five people, each of whom worked separately, disconnected from the rest.
- Market testing. A part of the app would be translated and tested regionally. If the launch went well, the entire app was translated. This approach made it hard to find native speakers who were willing to undertake a low-volume job while delivering a high-quality translation.
inDriver + Alconost = how it works
Alconost became the middleman for inDriver in its pursuit of localization.
The professional translators at Alconost helped inDriver localize the app into specific dialects. Yes, at Alconost specialists were found for every rare language required.
A personalized approach
Rare languages were needed in order to maintain a high level of user trust, so the inDriver app was translated even into dialects typical of smaller cities.
The biggest challenge was that in order to provide quality translations, the best translators had to be hand selected and tested, and not everyone was willing to translate the small volumes of text required.
Alconost helped overcome this hurdle as well, conducting the required interviews and selecting those who could make the app truly useful for every city.
A unified translation base
Before the integration of the CrowdIn platform, the translation process was managed by a decentralized team at inDriver.
After switching to a unified management system, all the localization processes became unified and transparent for all team members.
What was the result?
The result was this:
- 85,000 words translated in the course of 2020
- Translation into 10 languages, a third of them complex languages and dialects
- A systematized localization process
- Reduced localization expenses
“Together with Alconost we automated translation of the app into other languages to the highest degree possible,” Egor Fedorov remarks. “Alconost’s approach enabled the company to increase the speed and ease of boosting translation output several times over.
“Task monitoring has become transparent: each person in the company can track the localization process using the unified platform CrowdIn. We have also freed up a tremendous number of resources for the future development of the app and the company.”
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