Why You Need to Localize Your Mobile App Right Now

As someone said, “the world is getting smaller and smaller every day”. We may stay connected with each other living on different continents. This communicative environment raises a question of global mutual understanding. It’s not enough for a company to enter a new market – what is more important is to stay there merging with local system of values. To cut it short, this is a process of localization.

Localization Definition

What does mobile app localization mean for application developers? Sooner or later, an app product will become a part of the international IT market. What exactly does it mean for businesses? It means that nowadays companies have the biggest perspectives ever. Global trends leave us no place for consideration – it is definitely cool if your app talks in more than one language. We have all basic information about the process of localization and the benefits you’ll get facing the global market.

5 Reasons to Localize an App

Before we go further with basic aspects of mobile app localization, these are the main reasons why a successful application should become truly global.

1. New users from the global market are waiting for you

If you have an application which is very welcome at home, there are probably more countries out there that have the same expectations as your native market. Not to lose your way trying to please all customers of the world, start with those whose needs you understand better than anyone else’s. A new careful research is the headspring of your work.

Let’s learn together some primary data if you’d like to enter, for example, the market of China. It is widely known that China is the biggest app community that you can possibly find.

According to the Global Mobile Market Report, the revenue of the Asia-Pacific app market will grow up to $42 billion by 2020. But whether you localize your application for Android or iOS platforms, you’ll face different barriers. China doesn’t have Google Play, so there are another 200 Android app stores to work with. On the other hand, Apple’s rules are the same here as in other parts of the world.

Maybe this is the reason why China now is Apple’s number one market and why it’s easier to get to Chinese iPhones than to other smartphone devices.

China's App Store Revenue

These are the first steps when you take a new market into consideration. Whether you’ve chosen China or not, the fact remains that app internationalization inevitably leads you to new consumers.

2. You’re focused on the sales potential

A wise decision on investments might cause fast global sales. The brightest example in this regard is Pokémon Go. This game made its first huge revenue on a handful of markets. According to VentureBeat, by the middle of 2016 Nintendo had earned $35 million with 30M downloads. These numbers allowed even wider localization, which made Pokémon Go a global phenomenon as it is.

Even if you’re not a giant gaming corporation (yet), you can make a decision about a successful localization. This might be the beginning of your global progress.

3. You’re looking for new competitive advantages

You certainly need to win more points on the competitive mobile app market. At present, a wide range of mobile products makes a user more and more exacting. It was four years ago when Compuware published a report which stated that only 16 percent of users would try to open an app more than twice if they had any fails with it.

New Competitive Advantages

Nowadays, applications work faster, developers create flawless software with a custom design, but this is hardly a limit for such a vigorous market competition. With opportunities that app localization gives, you can gain customers’ loyalty all over the world and score the maximum number of points.

4. You want to be in the sight of users

When your product has all necessary adopted features for a new market, you get better visibility in Google Play and App Store. The aspect of visibility depends on keywords you took care of beforehand.

In this case, a solid ASO (Apple Store Optimization) strategy goes hand in hand with localization tactics. ASO lets more foreign users see the results of your work and lets you get more downloads.

5. You want the investments to be spent effectively

Positive ROI (Result on Investment) is something that we hope for in any circumstances. In this instance, localization seems the safest solution as it almost always brings guaranteed results.

At first, the app adaptation process seems costly, especially in cases when you need app localization services (such as a professional translation). But as your knowledge increases, localizing becomes an easier and faster process.

A recent study by Distomo showed that companies with localized apps for iOS got more downloads – 128% more, to be exact. This argument might have been the last straw for those who can’t wait to get started.

How to Localize Mobile App

How to Localize an App

If now you have a firm decision to localize an app, it’s better to know basic tasks appearing throughout the development process.

Target audiences and languages

This is the process of research we’ve mentioned before. One can manage an application in three dimensions: a language, country, and locale. These are the factors that come into play:

  • The market’s size, its GDP, and how many countries can be covered with one language version.
  • Cultural compatibility, i.e. whether your application is suitable for this concrete mentality or not.
  • The cost of localizations differs depending on a language.
  • How much in-language support is needed, such as help files, tutorials, or call centers.

It is highly recommended to start with major languages, but each situation is unique, and maybe yours requires going into smaller languages.

Internationalization

To localize an app, you should firstly take care of a bigger concept. By it, we mean internationalization. Basically, this is a process which helps to adopt applications without engineering changes. More specific details like languages and locales are on behalf of the localization process. So, what does internationalization includes?

  • Externalizing strings. It means keeping the program code separate from translated content (text and pictures).
  • Providing context for translated strings. This is the information about what strings refer to and how to use them in the layout. This would help other translators a lot and would help you to manage strings more effectively.
  • Pseudolocalization is a process when strings for translation are replaced with strings in another language. This way specialists test whether the app is ready for an actual localization.
  • Flexible layout. The text in the application can expand in length or in height. You should be sure that you can rearrange design elements adapting to the new flow of the text.

Test of a localized app

There are two ways for testing an already translated application:

  • Functional testing is needed when you want to check whether the app’s functionality remained the same and users can perform all necessary actions.
  • Linguistic testing means checking whether the translation has no flaw in each individual string.

Both types of testing should be done on two or more platforms. This way, you’ll avoid any issues connected with the screen dimension or technical specifications of the device.

Internationalization

Localizing a new listing in the app store

Certainly, localization of app strings is the most important task and we’ve just finished with it. But to show your product to the new market, you should also update the data in the app stores. These are the items that require your attention:

  • App description. This is your basic point of attraction. Not many people would agree to download an app if they don’t know a thing about it. In fact, true localization begins with the first words of the description – this is where your product and a potential user meet.
  • Release notes let visitors know the latest news from you, so make sure they’re translated properly into all languages you work with.
  • Keywords that would help new users to find the application in the right place. To figure out which keywords are really needed, you should carry out a careful research. These words can’t be translated just like other material – people from different target markets search differently.
  • Media content, such as screenshots or promotional images and videos, should also be translated to convince visitors.

This initial information on both iOS and Android app localization can be transformed differently in practice. There are three main approaches you need to be aware of.

Pros and Cons of Mobile App Localization Approaches

For a startup, it is important to know which way to go on the stage of localization. The comparison of three different approaches will show their pros and cons depending on the final aim a company wants to achieve.

Automatic identification of a preferred language might be the most popular among others, and it’s easy to understand. This method has a simple implementation, and the translated content has a high manageability. Moreover, automatic identification is a core method of Android and iOS platforms.

Proc and Cons Preferred Language Localization

Region localization is widely used when the app’s logic is connected strongly with a specific region of the market. This approach is great for apps with lots of media content (games are among them) that should be localized.

Proc and Cons of Region Localization

Localization by selecting a language is the main solution for the software, which is connected to the server side and depends on the server’s respond. Corporate applications have these features.

Proc and Cons of Selecting Language Localization

Eventually, your choice depends on these three factors: application type, content you’re going to localize, and backend architecture.

Prioritize and Localize

Sharing any of your ideas is now possible thanks to numerous globalization processes that take place all over the world. You only need to be sure that you’re talking the same language to others. The situation is similar in mobile app development – you should be on the same page with users no matter what country you’ve chosen for your project. Global trends show that the time to hire specialists for localization is right now.

iOS and Android best practices include both internationalization and localization. While internationalization is the process of software adaptation, localization needs more of the human factor. Literally, every word counts here, so testing plus double testing seem to be a magic combo. But apart from the basic adapting points, localization is the process of the world’s unification. Translating an app means giving it to thousands of new users, which makes your horizons nearly unlimited.

Localize your app with Tecsynt Solutions

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