How to reach a global audience by localizing your app
As smartphones have become a ubiquitous presence across the world, the use of app technology is expanding at an exponential rate.
No longer are apps limited to social media and gaming; today’s apps are highly sophisticated marketing tools, generating new business through personal interaction rather than traditional marketing campaigns.
Businesses are capitalizing on this opportunity with innovative apps that address customers’ needs with ease. Even the most advanced app, however, will be limited in its effectiveness unless it is adapted to suit each individual market.
One key to this is professional app translation. Localizing an app for several languages will put your business at the fingertips of a global audience.
Translate your app to maximize global visibility
Any user, even those who speak English as a second language, prefers to use apps in their native language. If your app is available in your customer’s native language, and your competitor’s app isn’t, that’s a major advantage in your favor.
To maximize the app’s revenue stream in each language, however, simply translating the text isn’t enough. A ‘Google Translate’ type of translation, for example, will not translate:
- the language’s subtleties of meaning, colloquialisms, and culturally specific references
- the interaction of text with the graphics on the screen
- technical differences, such as dates, times, and currency formats
- payment instructions that make it simple for customers to pay in a familiar way
- data fields, such as different formats for names and addresses
On top of that, there is also hidden secondary text that needs to be meticulously examined and recreated to suit the local market, such as:
- privacy policies
- push notifications
- license agreements
A skilled translator will take all these issues into consideration, ensuring every nuance of the app’s original content is transposed and adapted as necessary to optimize its interaction with users in every market.
Even software that appears to be universal, such as mathematics-based products like accounting apps, require some content to be translated.
Implementing a comprehensive translation offers a simple and cost-effective way to increase any app’s contact with customers to a truly global scale.
Target the most advantageous languages
Translating your app to every language would be great—but it comes at an increased cost.
So you should be selective and strategic when selecting languages you target for your app’s translation.
Beyond the English-speaking population, the world’s app-using colossus is China. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely used language in China, so an app translated into Mandarin would immediately increase its exposure.
Following this are Portuguese—due to the large population in Brazil—and the far-eastern languages of Japan, Indonesia, and Korea.
Again, full localization is vital. An app with basic translation, lacking all local understanding and linguistic nuance, might be downloaded – but it will be deleted quickly.
You will also need to decide how local to go with your translation. For example, translating your app into Spanish is one thing—but will it meet the needs of all of the world’s 400 million Spanish speakers?
Spoken in 21 countries, Spanish is one of the most widespread languages in the world. But it’s also a language with many regional variations. For example, Castilian Spanish is a very different dialect to Argentinian Spanish. And Caribbean Spanish is a whole different animal than Central American Spanish.
Even within the English-speaking world, there are linguistic differences. There’s American English, British English, and Australian English—each containing words, idiomatic phrases, and cultural references that would leave the others bewildered.
Planning a strategy for language localization that will maximize your app’s ROI is a crucial business decision. The strategy will depend on the nature of the app and the capabilities of your business.
Again, a basic ‘Google Translate’ kind of solution will not help you navigate this technical, marketing, and linguistic minefield. You need expert advice from a professional app translator.
Case Study: Translating WallVision for the International Market
Swedish premium wallpaper company WallVision developed a highly sophisticated augmented reality (AR) app: Wonderwall AR. The app uses AR to let customers see how their homes would look with different types of wallpaper in real time.
The app was created for Boråstapeter, a leading wallpaper provider in Sweden.
So where does language come into play?
The app has instructions that need to be followed by the user—especially when they’re first using the app. The quality of these instructions therefore play an enormous role in the initial user experience.
Once the technology was established and tested with the Swedish market, the company took the decision to roll out the room visualizer app in English as well—to bring their innovative marketing tool to the maximum number of people. This required translating the app’s instructions and user interface, while maintaining the same high level of clarity as the original Swedish app.
With WallVision’s extensive product range including such prestigious brands as Cole & Son, Wall & Decò, Boråstapeter, Engblad & Co and Mr Perswall, quality and distinction are inherent in everything they do. So, there was no doubt that their global app would be developed with the same attention to detail.
Capturing every nuance of this complex, technical message in multiple languages demands a lot from a translator. As well as an in-depth linguistic knowledge, the translator must also demonstrate copywriting skills and cultural understanding in order to assemble the most effective localized content.
WallVision turned to Summa Linguæ Technologies for help. Summa Linguæ delivered a nuanced translation that communicated every message with clarity and simplicity: tailoring each translation to its own specific market, providing technical instructions that are as detailed and informative as the original version, and using crystal-clear and compelling language to make using the app effortless and enjoyable.
Released early February 2020, WallVision’s Wonderwall AR app has been an international success for Boråstapeter. You can try out the Wonderwall AR app yourself on the App Store.
Seize a world of opportunity
Adapting an app for the international market can help a small business boost its brand and compete on the world stage, or help a large organization establish themselves as a global player. But it requires expert translation to ensure the app is tailored to make the most of the opportunity.
Once a professional app translator has translated your app, prepared it for the local market, and optimized it for the app store—your business will truly be speaking the same language as its customers.
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