Five things you need to know about app localization

  1. What app localization is and why it matters

As much as 90% of mobile activity takes place in apps, not browsers.

In 2017, the number of app downloads worldwide reached 178.1 billion.

4/5 countries in the top five for downloads in Google Play and 5/10 in top ten in Apple Store are non-English speaking.

Asia Pacific region is going to be the region most worth investing in – it is expected that 198.9 million apps will be installed in that area by 2021.

Sometimes, words are not as much persuasive as numbers. So we’re bringing in those numbers to show you that making your app relevant in more than one language is an immense opportunity for your business. App localization is not mere translation. It’s a process of adapting your app (and its every element) to the cultural, linguistic and technical requirements of the target market. It involves a comprehensive analysis and implementing changes not only to the terminology but also the visual content, UX, sounds or coding.

Even though going global doesn’t sound that hard in the tech industry (technology is quite borderless), it is still a troublesome process. And localization is a tool that will help you break the glass door to international markets.


  1. Why you should think ahead

The devil is in the details. Those of you living in Europe use different number or date formats than Americans do. It’s not uncommon for e-commerce apps to have wrong measurements units, currency or number formats. If your customer is not certain about the product price or shipment date shown in the app, it’s highly possible for them to drop out at the last phase of the shopping path. Even if your app is not designed for sales, making sure all relevant elements of your app are localized may save you some headache in the future. Planning localization ahead will:

It may seem surprising, but you should not think about app  localization as some additional value to your project. Yes, it adds value, that’s unarguable, but you should think of it as an inherent part of the whole app creation process, not as something extra.


  1. What internationalization is and how it helps

“But how do I know at the beginning which countries will I want to target in the future?” If that is what you are thinking about right now, here is a solution – invest time and resources in internalization.

It’s a preliminary process that makes your app kind of language – and culture-less. It means that the code is written in such a way that in the future, the content can be adapted effortlessly to any language and any target market you want.

Separating text strings, images and other UI content from the code is the most vital part of the internationalization process. Your programmers should be advised not to hardcode units or embed text in non-editable images. A separate file for that kind of textual content should be created. It all makes it considerably easier for further app localization process.

During the internationalization process, you should also consider other factors that may have any effect on the localized version and respond to them accordingly. Such factors include vertical alphabets, different numeral systems, differences in punctuation, use of capitals, shortcuts, etc.


  1. Why skipping app store localization is not a good idea

As many as 3.8 million apps were available to download in the Google store in the first quarter of 2018 alone. Your marketing strategy should, of course, include many different channels and mediums, but the one that proves to be most effective is app store optimization. You need to make your product visible in the app store search through, for example, keywords localization.

Having worked with different customers over the years, we know that costs are an incredibly important factor during a product launch on a foreign market. So if you don’t have a sufficient budget or the need to localize your app completely, localizing just the keywords may be a good solution.

Harlem shake yourself is a great example that such a strategy actually works. After localizing just the keywords, description and name, the download rate increased by 767%. It makes your app visible in an app store and lets users get a general idea about its features and functions.


  1. Why it’s important to apply cross-cultural thinking while designing an app

User experience differs from country to country and so should your app. Designing it in a way that your target users would like it to be is a straight way to success. Prioritize the experiences of your multilingual and multicultural users and deliver the value to your audience by giving your app a local touch.

Cooperating with an experienced app localization partner will give you insights into what kind of app users want and will make your product relevant in all languages.

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