The mobile app development industry is on the rise both locally and globally. The number of global app downloads hit 37.8 billion in Q2, 2020 compared to 16.5 billion in Q2, 2015 [https://www.businessofapps.com/data/app-statistics/#1.1]. Significantly, app localization is a key factor in rolling out any app product on a global scale. So, what on earth is app localization?!
As a mobile app developer, simply, you can’t go global unless you make sure that the app’s content and functionality are made available to users in foreign languages and different markets all over the world. So, what are the benefits of app localization?
Mobile app localization has many benefits, including:
With this, a question might be raised justifiably on how to do mobile app localization the best way. Let’s have a look at the top best practices.
You might wish to launch your new app fast and even simultaneously in local and global markets so that you can gain a competitive edge over local and international competitors. The fact is, you’ll achieve this advantage if, and only if, you partner with an expert mobile app localization vendor that pays attention to a few practices that pave the way for you to thrive on a global scale. Let’s dive deeper into them.
First – Translatable Content Should be Externalized from the App Code.
You have to begin with creating a resource file and fill it with all content strings. This is an important step when it comes to internalization ─ because it makes it easy for translators to work on the content. With this, things become simple and uncomplicated, as your string resource file, unlike the original code, is ready to feed into the workflow for all the languages you choose to pursue in translation.
Second – Face the Text Expansion Issue Early at the Design Stage.
Everyone knows that the text of English and French, for example, occupies a smaller space than, say, the text of Arabic and Farsi. Languages take up different areas of space in text form. However, this is an issue that needs to be fixed early enough at the planning stage of your product design. This means that you have to plan out with the localization goal in mind so that you can ensure that the app will be adaptable for text expansion after it’s launched and used by people. You need to guarantee that for each and every language you pursue with localization, the text will be easy to read and accessible.
Third – Pseudo-localization Makes a difference!
Testing normally pays off! A good app developer should do a trial run for the product with machine translations. This will help you to ensure whether your product’s user interface has enough space for language variations ─ especially when it comes to the languages that have diacritic-rich writing systems that require a bigger line spacing.
Also, the test will enable you to make sure that the right-to-left alignment, in such languages as Arabic and Hebrew, is consistent.
Likewise, testing will make it possible for you to examine the product’s UI by spreading currency symbols, Chinese characters, and Cyrillic letters into the original text. This tactic will reveal whether there’re any issues with these writing systems and special characters so that you can fix them early at the design phase.
Fourth – Plan Your Nonstop Localization Approach.
Since you aim to roll out your mobile app product across multilingual markets, you need to plan for integrating translation into your application’s structural design. And, this is the stage where you should work with an app localization provider before the app’s launch ─ that is when it’s possible to create an ongoing system of automated cooperation even before the app’s release.
There are, however, two methods of effectively handling ongoing localization from the outset within an integrated platform.
The first option is a GitHub connector that will monitor your codebase for changes in translatable content and direct them straight into the platform’s translation pipeline.
Instead, you can use a command-line interface CLI, which will provide you with more flexibility and control. You can build in Application Programming Interface (API) calls to other management systems that you may have in place to send and retrieve translations in your localization platform.
Fifth – Primacy of Quality Assurance
One of the biggest mistakes that developers frequently make is that they carry out app localization and then they think of testing and quality assurance measures. The fact is, you have to plan the steps of your quality assurance from the very outset.
For example, you surely have to integrate internationalization and localization testing on your app before you release it to users.
Moreover, it’s up to you to decide whether you’ll focus on testing and quality assurance to provide users with a seamless thrilling user experience or you’ll just be satisfied with a hasty QA and then you tweak and fix things after release ─ based upon users’ feedback. It’s up to you, but this will considerably impact your time and resources.
Sixth – There’re Levels of Localization, and You Decide!
App Localization is vital, but the level of mobile app localization may vary based upon your needs and the purposes of your localization roadmap. So, you must think deeply about what level of mobile app localization you wish to use before you walk down the process.
For example, you might need to translate your content into Spanish, but will it be necessary and feasible for you to translate it into the numerous variants of Spanish-Spain, Spanish-Mexico, Spanish-Brazil, etc.?! So, what is the answer to this question?
The data is the answer. To make your decision, you need at first to specify your geographic targets based on where you can feasibly expect enough downloads to achieve a good ROI. And when it comes to this point, such tools as Google Analytics will guide you with forecasts of traffic and conversions. With this, we can describe your localization strategy as practical and data-driven ─ which pays off!
Seventh – Take Up Localization in a Step-by-step Manner!
Don’t’ deal with app localization in a take-it-or-leave-it way! And, you need to know that mobile app localization doesn’t have to take place right away and right now! Instead, the best approach is to carry out app localization in steps, so that you learn, tweak and improve bit by bit as you walk down the road.
Eighth – Search Optimization Matters!
So, you did successfully localize your mobile app. Ok, not enough! There’s still a lot of work to be done down the road to success.
What about localizing keywords ─ the very words that users use in various markets to search for applications like your app?! You need to do this task to make your mobile app accessible in the app store.
Besides, you have to create an attractive and clear localized description of your app. All in all, only through a successful localization of your marketing content will your mobile app reach your target users.
After all, is said and done, it’s important to highlight the good news. Yes, we have good news! Only an expert mobile app localization partner will guide you in the right direction to turn your awesome app into the talk of the town ─ all towns! But how?
At Contentech, we have a tried-and-true solution. Over the past 27 years, we’ve been helping hundreds of app developers to localize their mobile apps in a way that drives their app products across geographic, linguistic, and cultural borders.
We’ve always succeeded to make each client’s mobile app the favorite product across markets because we are known for fast delivery, dedicated project management, and round-the-clock customer support.