Mobile App Localization: Launching and Beyond

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Mobile App Localization

Did you know that there’s a way to increase your mobile app downloads to 130% and your revenue by 26%? This isn’t some pitch; these are real numbers according to a study by Distimo. So, what’s the trick? Well, no tricks here-all you need is just a strong Mobile App Localization strategy. These numbers speak volumes of why you should already plan for your mobile app localization.

Your localization strategy opens doors for your business to expand and maximize the potential market growth as in exploring and targeting untapped markets and locales, boosting your app’s visibility and exposure, offering your customers a comfortable experience that leads to engagement, and consequently achieving higher revenues.

This is the main objective, at the end of the day, which only makes the localization part no longer just a matter of preference, rather an indispensable business strategy.

App developers start building their mobile apps in one language, majorly English, which is totally fine, for starters. This shouldn’t be the end of the road, for, contrary to the popular belief, English won’t achieve your business objective of your potential reach. Given that only between 5% and 6% of the globe’s population are native English speakers, your English-speaking mobile app is subject to growth limitations.

Now, how should you go about localizing your mobile app? Below, we will demonstrate the best practices for your Mobile App Localization strategy, along with some handy tips.

Top Tips for Entering New Markets

Planning for your mobile app localization can’t start without aiming, meaning that it’s important to carefully select first your target markets/locales and languages. One can’t just decide to expand everywhere or worse to select a locale/language randomly. Localizing your app to a new market comes at both time and cost, and for that your decision should be duly studied.

Here are few practical tips to guide you through the process of deciding:

Conducting a market research is required to understand the market needs and to see what countries would make sense and be fit to target for potential expansion. You can also translate your app description to help you locate your potential customers. In the meantime, checking the App Analytics & User feedback would be essential to look for potential growth direction by analyzing from where the most App downloads come from as well as where their most loyal customers are located.

One more thing we would basically recommend is to invest more on new languages rather than locales. While localizing to a new locale within the same language is quite important to increase your share of users within one of your target countries, localizing to a new language could be way more beneficial. For instance, Localizing to a new language such as Arabic could open up new opportunities across MENA and all Arabic-speaking countries.

Best Practices for a Successful Mobile App Localization

1- Create a neat source content: Your Mobile App localization starts with a polished high-quality source content, which can be easily adapted and localized later. This saves a lot of time and effort while carrying out your localization process.

2- Properly internationalize the Mobile App before starting off with localization: Unfortunately, there has been a big confusion between internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n). While they are both quite connected and depend on each other, they are still two separate and different steps.

Internationalization (i18n)

Localization (l10n)

  • Adapting your mobile app to accommodate multi-languages.
  • Designing and development of software which paves the way and facilitates localization.
  • Personalizing/customizing your content to be suitable and loyal to the linguistic and cultural requirements of a specific target locale.

It’s recommended to customize the code and design to be well-ready for localization and compatible to accept several languages the App Developer might potentially need to add at some point in the future, as in layout flips for different language directions and resizing icons to absorb text length post-translation, including Right to Left (RTL), Left to Right (LTR) languages, and double-byte languages.

3- Hold on any development while the localization process is taking place: Adding new features or making content changes during the localization process might not be the best call to make. This ensures that the content which has been extracted for translation will be properly reinserted back and then improvement activities can be resumed right after that.

4- Consider adjusting the Mobile App default settings: This includes alphabetical orders, currencies, numbers, and date formats that could exist in the Mobile App to be suitable for the newly added language(s) as well as aligned with the target users’ expectations.

5- Pay extra attention to cultural correctness: Mobile App developers have to keep in mind that localization also involves changes of some elements inside the Mobile App for the sake of a native experience to their target users. This is equally significant as the linguistic and technical adaptation in the localization process. Different locales mean different cultures, which demands a kind of awareness to these cultures’ interests and taboos. This could include changing graphics, videos, colors, and more.

6- Perform proper testing before the release: Performing both smoke and beta tests before the release is essential to ensure that everything has been inserted correctly and that the Mobile Application functions well with the newly added language(s) and maintains the same level of performance. This involves technical/localization testing as well as linguistic and cultural testing.

7- Consult with a translation and localization vendor: This comes in handy during the planning and early stages of execution of your mobile app localization project especially when this vendor has a team of professional native-speaking linguists and localization engineers with relevant experience. This experience along with utilizing translation tools and software technology can help provide a seamless localization process.

Ensuring Continuous Integration

Mobile App localization is a non-stop process, since an App Developer would need to add more features and make some changes moving forward.  It has even been proven that the best localization results are laid out when certain arrangements are attended during the App Development itself. For that, it’s of a great importance to use Translation Management System (TMS), Translation Integration Tool, or developing a custom Translation Connector – based on the technology used in the App development – to make sure that the updates in the content will be flawlessly extracted and the translation is properly reinserted thereafter without negatively affecting the already localized version. This is probably why the localization effort should be collaborative between the development and localization teams.

This is concerning the technical part but there are a lot of linguistic tactics and techniques that have to be considered along the way to maintain consistency across the translated content. For instance, it’s always recommended to leave comments and notes attached to the content updates during the development phase to further explain the context of these updates- what they will eventually describe to the users so that the linguists can choose the most accurate and appropriate translation. Providing screenshots also could be very useful on that aspect. This is of course besides the regular quality measures such as maintaining unified Translation Memory, updated Style guide, and more.

Conclusion

You are one step away from a huge potential market for your mobile app. It’s time to take the time to start planning your mobile app localization strategy, preferably collaborating with a professional vendor. With a well-localized app, you are ready to establish your empire in the global market.

Resources:

An article, “There’s a Language for That: Translating Mobile Apps And Content”, in Demanding Gen Report.

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bayantech is a leading language service provider. Since 2004, we have been providing ISO-certified, smart, and effective translation and localization solutions to major global businesses and organizations, helping our clients smoothly cross the frontiers of language and culture, communicate effectively worldwide, and expand their markets.
 

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