There are around 2.65 million apps available on the Google Play Store today. Users around the world have their pick when it comes to both free and paid apps, meaning developers need to find ways to stand out from the crowd. This is where localization comes in.
Why is mobile app localization important?
Apple says its App Store is available in 40 languages and 175 regions. There is an important distinction between the two. Just because an app is available in a certain language, it doesn’t mean it will appeal to all regions that use that language. There are several reasons why.
First, let’s consider user experience. Imagine you translated your app from English into Arabic. Arabic reads right to left, while English reads left to right. So, the layout needs to change to reflect this. The menu might need to move, elements might need to be rearranged to display properly.
The text will probably be a different length in the new language, too. So there might be large spaces or cut-off sections that are difficult to read.
Translating without making these changes would likely result in poor reviews.
Next, let’s think about language. Arabic is a language with many dialects, not all of which are mutually intelligible. Have you chosen the right dialect for your audience?
Then, there’s content. Do all the ideas in your app translate well from the original content? Cultural references, imagery, and even colors can have different meanings and different cultures which changes the way people relate to your app.
These are just some of the reasons that simply translating an app isn’t enough to make it a success.
Localization takes all of these factors and more into account to make an app culturally and linguistically appropriate for an audience in a certain region.
Tips for mobile app localization
Don’t forget internationalization
As theAndroid Developer page explains “to reach the most users, your app should handle text, audio files, numbers, currency, and graphics in ways appropriate to the locales where your app is used.” To make sure your app can do this, it needs to be prepped first. This process is called internationalization.
internationalization is about looking into your app’s code to check that you can make the necessary changes later on. The way you internationalize will depend on your set up, but the content will need to be separated from the code.
- Think about the user from beginning to end
Localizing the app itself is important, but the work doesn’t end there. Consider your user’s journey from when they first encounter the app right through to usage. Are marketing materials localized for them? Does the app have reviews in their language? Is there a clear user guide?
Even elements such as logos and images may need to be localized so that the brand has the same impact abroad.
- Don’t forget testing
Testing is important in localization. Our team can help with every stage, including language, functionality, and the way your app looks. That way, you know your app works just as well in the new language as in the original.
At Future Group, we work with native-speaking experts to deliver the highest quality language services. To find out more, please get in touch.