A place for our thoughts and opinions

App Localization

The Complete Guide: Translation and Localisation of Apps

We live in a world where people from all around the world have online access to their business, brand, or innovation. You have come up with a great application, one that can solve real problems, one that people from different cultures and countries might see value in. How do you ensure you can reach out to them and truly be accessible to a much wider market? By translating and localizing your application in a way that is universal to use and understand by a large segment of people.


While developing an app, it is important to consider ways of being able to scale it on a global level. And while doing this, one must also make sure that every person using your app, regardless of their location or culture, have the same amazing experience and ease of use. Any application when tied down to a single language or means of communication essentially eliminates potential customers from using the app thus, limiting your potential as a company.


When a company puts in the effort to provide their users with multiple language options, currency inputs, location-specific content, the experience is personalized and in today’s time, their nothing people love more than tailor-made services.


So what really is the localization of apps and why is it important?

Localizing means optimizing every element of your app, right from the language used to cultural and technical requirements to suit the needs of a certain target market. You are essentially making your app user-friendly and familiar to a specific segment of your target market.

So why is localizing an important step for your app? Because research has shown that the steady rise in the number of mobile phone users over the world and the revenue generated by each country differs vastly. Its really simple- countries like China and India generate much more revenue from apps followed by the United States as they are more conscious of non-English speaking markets and have learnt to optimize themselves to tap into these segments whereas in the case of the US, creating your app in English may help you gain recognition globally but they’re missing out on a wide demographic of non-English speakers. Mobile app localization can make your app customizable to many different languages and cultures thus ensuring that your service is reaching markets of its fullest potential.


Reasons to localize your app

We have explained the importance of localizing your app but let us further explore the different ways your app can benefit from adapting itself to multiple markets.

  1. Personalized User Experience

Multiple global surveys and research have shown that consumers trust and prefer to purchase from brands in their native language. Especially with apps, most users prioritize ease of use and comfort in functioning with the app. Naturally, if an app provides that additional support in making itself available in multiple languages, they would prefer it over others in the blink of an eye. When an app is tailored to suit a user’s cultural norms and dialects, it calls for a great user experience and thereby generating positive recommendations, engagement, and a high conversion rate.

  1. App Downloads

When an app is multilingual it can be made available in many countries and regions, thus naturally increasing its exposure to a wider audience and encouraging an increase in app downloads. If your product is accepted in bigger and more markets, it is bound to see an increase in sales as well. Localization can help differentiate your brand from others and give you the edge that makes a user download your app. With more users, your app can grow to a global scale and become a well-recognized brand very easily.

  1. Generate Higher Revenue

If your goal is to become the leading choice in your market, it is important to ensure your visibility in international markets and exposure to app stores. App localization can optimize your app to be compatible with different operating systems, devices, and platforms thus helping in obtaining a higher app preference ranking. A higher rank and positive reviews can promote more downloads and thereby generate higher revenues. Making your app accessible to as many people as possible is a proven strategy to ensure success.


Challenges to localization

Mobile app localization can often pose many problems that can be avoided by simply planning your strategy well in advance. We’re here to help you save yourself from making these common mistakes when localizing your app.


  1. Formatting

Basic information like the time, measurement metrics, currencies, numbers, etc. are all presented differently around the world. It is important to take into account how different information is presented in the markets that you are trying to enter and accommodate these features into your app. Along with this, there are often differences in regional markets as well, your app must be developed in a way that there is attention paid to such details as they can majorly affect user experience and overall user retention.


  1. UI and different languages

If your app uses English as its primary language and you are hoping to incorporate multiple others, mere translation can’t help. Textual content tends to expand or shorten depending on the language being translated to which can make your user interface suddenly appear misaligned. Thus, planning and designing for such accommodations in advance is key. It is important to study how much your translated content can expand and create a UI design that can compensate for any translation or localization efforts in the future.


  1. Cultural context

Different cultures perceive certain text or actions positively whereas others may consider it offensive thus while translating and localizing your app, it is important to make yourself aware of such cultural implications and be conscious o the content being uploaded. Language differences and cultural norms can prove to be rather tricky which is why it is important to hire a professional localization service that has adequate experience in the field.


Steps to mobile app localization

We are now going to explore the different stages involved in mobile app localization so you can be well prepared for when you decide to optimize your app for a global audience.


#1 Development

Before you embark on the localization journey, there are many factors you need to consider to ensure that your app is ready to be localized. Thus, if your app has already been coded, it will hardly be possible to begin the localization process later on. An important step to localization is internationalization which comes during the development stage of your app.

  1. Internationalization- This is a process done along with the developmental process of the app. It does not create much of a hassle during development and ensures to save time and effort when you finally decide to localize your app for specific targeted markets.
  2. Target markets- finalizing which target markets you are aspiring to enter. Simply globalizing doesn’t mean you enter markets where your app doesn’t serve a purpose. For example, if your app is about a niche segment, it can be successful only in some countries whereas in others people might not see a need for your service.
  3. Competitors- In any kind of business, it is important to research your competitors and keep track of the features and benefits they are providing such that you can develop a USP that gives you an edge over others. It also helps you analyze the performance of different markets towards your niche.
  4. Regional Expansion- Planning to expand in regions that have similar primary UI characteristics can help speed up your localization process significantly. If your default language is English, it would be wise to expand into European languages instead of Asian languages that have entirely different characteristics.

#2 Mobile App Localisation

  1. Using a professional service- We don’t need to state the obvious that using Google Translate to localize your app is definitely a bad idea. Hiring a professional service that specializes in Translation and localization can be an important investment to ensure your localization efforts provide fruitful returns instead of backfiring.

#3 Testing

  1. Smoke Test- It is an internal test done to ensure that the app functions correctly in the different languages and with additional customizing capabilities. It is essentially a test done to ensure that the app has been translated and localized without affecting the functionality of the app.
  2. Beta Testing- Every app usually released a beta version to a small segment of people to ensure that it works well. Thus, in case of translation updates, a beta version of the app can be released to native speakers to ensure there are no incorrect translations.


How ActiveLoc can help

Customer engagement is rarely a success unless the language your customer understands is flawlessly catered, and this includes mobile applications too. Mobile app localization goes beyond text translation. Each step for user engagement demands a flawless app experience. From its constituent text to media elements, an experience is incomplete without application translation or app localization. ActiveLoc holds its expertise in localizing apps from Android, iOS, or hybrid types. Get in touch with us today!