How Foursquare increased international engagement without disrupting app development


Foursquare and Swarm help people make the most of where they are and where they're going. The Foursquare community is made up of over 55 million people who use the app to get personalized recommendations, as well as the Swarm app to check in millions of times per day. Additionally, 1.9 million businesses use Foursquare to connect with new customers and build long term relationships.

The Challenge: Global Expansion

As Foursquare's user base grew and current users tested its capabilities beyond U.S. borders, the company's global footprint had to move quickly. • Nearly a dozen languages: Foursquare identified 11 target languages for its users based on interest and market opportunity. Not only did it need to translate its website, but the mobile app needed to be available in the target languages and localized for the customer experience.

  • Internal resources lacking. The company lacked the internal resources to translate its complex software and web components in a timely and agile manner.
  • Complex technology. Foursquare powers its platform using multiple scripts and apps. The company considered building a translation management system to maintain maximum control. Would outsourced tools be able to support their proxy architecture?
  • Latency control. Staff also had concerns about latency control. Could they trust another application to serve up their date, manage their workflows, and access their code?

The Solution: Smartling

Using the Smartling cloud-based translation management system, Foursquare realized the following benefits:

  • Seamless delivery. The Smartling platform works seamlessly with Foursquare's complex infrastructure, replacing Foursquare's English language content with the human translations without significant engineering work.
  • Huge increase in new users. Foursquare saw a major increase in new sign-ups and usage within weeks of launching the first five languages - French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, and German.
  • Then an even bigger increase. Six more languages - Bahasa Indonesia, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Thai, and Turkish - were launched over the next 12 months with even better results.
  • Motivated volunteers. Foursquare chose to leverage its community to create high-quality and culturally relevant content for key territories. This fostered competition and collaboration, which further motivated volunteers to translate, edit, and review content.
  • Still growing today. Because of the tremendously successful global expansion, Foursquare continues to leverage Smartling's expertise to help strengthen and grow its platform worldwide.

About Smartling

Smartling is a language translation company that enables customers to localize content across devices and platforms. The company is recognized by CSA Research as the #1 Leader of the 2019 MarketFlex for Language-Oriented TMS, and by users on G2 as the #1 rated Translation Management System. Smartling established Enterprise Translation Cloud, a data-driven approach to localization, which enables its customers to achieve higher quality translation at a lower total cost. Smartling is the platform of choice for hundreds of B2B and B2C brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Pinterest, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey. Smartling is headquartered in New York, with offices in Dublin and London. For more information, please visit

Smartling Media Contact
Adrian K. Cohn
Head of Marketing