What good is a mobile application if it can’t cater to the needs of millions of users worldwide? The leverage the world has witnessed in the field of smartphones has really pushed the need for apps to be localized in accordance with the need, taste, language and culture of a particular country. Localization might just be the answer to the problem of reaching out to the remotest corner of the globe. A user finds it much more lucrative when the app is available in the native language and also if the appearance of it makes the user feel at home.
Why is so important to localize an app?
95.5% of the world population is using mobile phones today of which more than half is accounted by people of the Asia-Pacific region. English might be a standard global language but making the app available in the native languages for the different countries is a much better marketing policy for expanding the count of users. No wonder Apple and Google are putting in the extra effort to bag in all the users they can. 61% of the world’s mobile owners are from just 14 countries of which China has the largest consumer base. Unfortunately, mobile users in China prefer the native apps to Google Play for downloading. This just underlines the need of having localized apps. Studies suggest a surge in app downloading from 76% prior localization to 767% after app localization. And all the more a 26 % increase in the revenues earned by the companies after localization of app is reason enough to suggest that it is perhaps best for any app to undergo localization.
Localization of an app demands the app to adapt to a country and the language is been used by the local public. Therefore, for localization the narratives should be translated to different languages, the format of date and time should be maintained according to the country policies and the users should be provided with correct format of the keyboard.
Translation of the language
An app developer doesn’t always have to worry about the ways to translate the language of the app, since there are many tools and third party vendors who can take the responsibility of it. These companies who promise the developers to help them with their best localization tools are always high on demand and almost cost efficient. Following are some of them:
- iCanLocalize: This is one of the fastest app, website and software translating team in the market. The money charged by it is also minimal only $0.09 per word. They have certified translators who are apt at translating in popular native languages. They have a huge experience of translating iPhone and Android apps.
- Jargon: iOS and android apps can be easily translated almost instantly in five different languages without the developer putting on any extra effort to the app. The SDK is extremely lightweight and high quality that can make the app easy and multilingual. The developers don’t have to deal with files or table only a singular controlled dashboard will contain all the information related to the adopted localization strategies. Jargon doesn’t bring on the miseries of updating the localization schema every time the developer upgrades the app which means Jargon lets the localization operation to evolve automatically.
- Babble-on: The Company is popular among the developers who make apps for the Apple app store and the Google play store. It charges $0.21 per word. It is also into stuffs like creative copywriting for the apps and websites content and press release.
- Onesky: A resourceful and effectual translator that can work for websites, apps and games. It has a cloud platform that can minimize the workload of translating a text into 50 different languages using the words that are native and are used purposefully. It charges $0.10 for each word that is been translated.
- LocTeam: It was founded on 1990 and since then it has been engaged in localizing MAC and iOS apps. The team has technicians in various fields from translating to proofreading, testers and editors, etc. It brings on the complete package for the app developers.
Time format and measurement units
International standards are not always known by the common people. Most of them therefore want their apps to be showing local timing. If the app is localized then it must also use the local measurement units that are used natively by the users in their day to day life. Apple in its iOS 8 has provided an upgraded API that can show any unit of time, length, energy and mass in several different local languages.
For a localized app the developers need to put significant emphasis on choosing the keywords while writing the content of their app. To reach new users the app developers should use those keywords which are popular among the audiences while searching the apps and which are not much used by the other apps. The task isn’t as easy as it looks like. Therefore considerable attention should be paid to the following two aspects of localization:
- Title and the Narrative: Title is the most important part that attracts the audiences, so it is always recommended to the developers that they should use the best keywords for it. Careful selection of the title must be done so that it seems catchy and meaningful to the users. The description part can be easily translated into different language by some intelligent and adaptive translators so that users can get a friendly ambience at the very first place.
- Adaptive translators for the keywords: Developers should never use automatic translators since it always results to some awkward and inappropriate native words. It is not necessary for a word which is a potential keyword in a particular language; its translation to a different language must also be a potential keyword. Therefore unplanned and programmed translation can result to a serious mismatch of the context and thus can lead to improper and meaningless word eruption. AppTweak is a marketing tool that can generate keywords in six different languages- English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch.
Practices needed to be carried out during Localization
- Context is one the most important aspects which needs to be dealt tenderly. The translator team can be provided with all the content prior to the translating phase so that it can be easily be put once the translation is done. Rich content is advisable to lure the interested users. A user should get a vivid idea about the app from content itself. Local keywords should be updated regularly. Currencies, dates, time and similar physical quantities should be dealt with extra care.
- The interface has to very graphic and should take care of the multitude of differences in languages and their implementation. Languages tend to act differently; two-byte characters are good enough for an East-Asian language whereas bidirectional display is important for all Mid-Eastern countries. Heed should also be paid to the images, videos, icons and so on. It is advised not to have any colors or content associated with any religious, political or social sentiments. Mobile Patterns (http://www.mobile-patterns.com/), lovely ui (http://www.lovelyui.com/), Pttrns (http://pttrns.com/) and Mobile Mozaic (http://www.mobilemozaic.com/) are some of the tools that can help to set up the interface design.
- Testing should be done on multiple devices to identify any fault within the app. The app must be tested for errors in perspective of spelling, alphabet, grammar, punctuation and so on. Attention should also be paid to the translated user interfaces of the app. Unbounce (http://unbounce.com/welcome/), Split Metrics (https://splitmetrics.com/), OneTwoSplit (http://onetwosplit.com/)- these are some popular tools that let the developers to do A/B testing.
- App store listing and promoting the app in the local market is the last bit of work that needs to be done. Advertisement in the local media is a great way to make the people aware of the app. Mobtizer (http://mobtizer.com/), Dassap (http://dasapp.net/), Launchrock (https://www.launchrock.com/) are the websites can create quick customer engagement.
If one does do it right an app can notch up pretty high ratings and can be really popular with users. Localization is not a very simple process. It’s more than just translating contents. A lot of research has to be done before one can successfully localize an app. Besides, the geographical distribution is not so even. The eastern side of the world offers huge potential market. So for app to reach more users, localization is the best option available for western app developers.