Robert Laing

Why We’re Closing String


String, our app for localization, is shutting down on August 30, 2013.

Why are we shutting down String?
In short: Startups have to focus, and String was always a second priority. It didn’t receive the resources and love that it needed to succeed. Additionally, there are now new, better solutions provided by our API partners.

The history of String
We launched String in 2009. At that time, there weren’t many good solutions for developers localizing websites and apps. So we built String to meet our own needs, to solve the problems we had localizing our own app.

Our vision was for a simple tool that would show the progress of localization of each area of a website. The first release of String was a real “MVP” that handled that problem, and not a lot more. Gradually through 2011 we added the ability to order human translation within String (powered by our own API) and a few convenience features and file formats.

Changing focus
Meanwhile, our Translation API was becoming more and more popular, which meant our product team had to be 100% focused on scalability, reliability and quality of translation within our core service. So we started to see other apps launch, offering all the things we had wanted to build into String, but never had the chance — like in-context editing, Git integration, a proxy server and more. While we would have loved to see String flourish with these kinds of new features, instead it stayed stagnant due to limited resources.

The happy ending
But it’s not all doom and gloom. We always hoped that startups would build cool tools on our API, and now dozens of great companies have. PhraseApp, Transifex and Dakwak (to name a few) have built localization platforms that do a better job than String, but also allow users to order seamlessly from Gengo.

This is the best of both worlds for Gengo, because we can focus on our API while allowing great companies to flourish. And it’s the best of both worlds for the user, because they can choose a localization tool they like, that will be supported and improve over time.

We’re now officially shutting down String and offering our users the opportunity to transition to one of these new platforms. We’re sorry to see String go, but we hope you agree, the future looks bright anyway. Thanks for using String, and have a great time with whichever new solution you choose. If you’re a String user, and you need any assistance in your transition to a new service, just email us at and we’ll be happy to help.


Robert Laing
Robert Laing
Robert is the CEO of Gengo. He was born in Australia, and has lived in Melbourne, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Before founding Gengo, Rob was a designer and programmer, working for companies like, The Brand Union and Dare Digital in London. Robert speaks enough Japanese to get into trouble, but not enough to get out.
  • Aaron San Filippo

    Disappointed to see this tool go, rough as the tool may be. I really liked the ability to bring in community translators for our apps/games, or order translations for time-critical situations or where accuracy was critical. At a glance it doesn’t look like any of the 3 alternatives offer this unless we want to first sign up for a monthly subscription fee (which makes little sense as a game studio that produces perhaps a couple projects per year.)

    Understandable though!

    • Manuel from PhraseApp

      Aaron, we love working together with startups and are always interested in finding solutions that fit for smaller companies as well.
      Please don’t hesitate to contact us if the options we offer are not exactly what you had in mind and let us know what we can do for you!

      You can email me at:

  • Natali Ardianto

    Really sad to see String go. I have been using this services for over 3 years, and used it for two of my companies, and I only hope for the best for the Gengo team.

  • jimm

    You should release string as an open source project, all other alternatives have a high cost for bootstrapping startpus. I’m *very* disappointed with you!

    • Robert Laing

      Hi Jimm,
      We haven’t completely ruled out open-sourcing String, however there is such a significant amount of legacy code within that is very Gengo-system-specific, it would be a big project for us to untangle. So it seems unlikely, sorry…

      • Benjamin “balupton” Lupton

        Why not open-source and let us untangle it?

  • James

    Very sad to see String go as well, though I can understand (and respect) why the decision was made.

    PhraseApp seems to have the best pricing model out the three listed options, though it’s hard to beat the price tag String had. ;)

    Excited to see what’s coming next. good luck guys!

  • Николай Чолаков

    Why you don’t wish to leave String service available “as is” without further support and prompting user about that? Users will chose If they want to switch to another solution or stay continue using String service, but without additional support. For me it preferable to make translation using String instead using 3rd party service.

  • Touchnote

    This is extremely disappointing. Is there a reason why you can not simply leave the String tool available for customers who are happy to use it as is?

    For an app like ours with 5 languages, this means shelling out a minimum of $9 x 5 x 12 = $540 a year on a simple website to ‘manage’ strings. If you assume we have two separate apps, that’s double.

    Extremely disappointing news. Once String is shut down, we will be unlikely to continue using Gengo.