A COMPLETE GUIDE TO APP LOCALIZATION
One thing for sure about localization is that it’s hard. Not only do you have a ton of languages and dialects to work with, but you also have the headache of cultural, legal and technical issues to handle. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Now let’s jump in!
What is app localization?
It is the process of refining an app to suit a specific market. Translating the language, however, is not the biggest part of app localization. The more important things are also cultural and legal rules. Certain symbols or gestures may be considered illegal in some countries but are totally fine in other countries.
Why should you localize your app
Almost 90% of activity on mobile devices occurs in apps. Localization allows an app to fit the needs of users in a new market, making sure every little thing from units of measurement to currencies and language usage is optimized for them. By app localization, you are able to gain an enormous opportunity for growth in the new target market.
5 steps of an app localization process
Resources of an app, everything that isn’t related to coding, such as images, content, instruction, or any other data file that accompanies the program’s executable code.
For the best mobile app localization, you should externalize your resources so that the localization process is able to create new versions of each file.
Assure that your app is prepared for the expansion and contraction of texts. French, Spanish and German, can take up to 30% more space than English. Other languages, such as some Asian characters, have different script styles: Right-to-left.
It’s a must to use native speakers of the target language. Translators should be able to access the app and all related resources for context. It not only helps them properly convey meaning exactly and consistently but also greatly speeds up the whole translation process.
Translators have to be at a certain level of expertise in your app’s industry, for example, a fintech app requires translators to have knowledge about banking and finance.
Once everything has been done it’s time to import them back into your app. The language version should be checked both functionally and linguistically, whether it operates flawlessly as per the source version without any issue such as overlapping, sort order, currency, etc.
Be ready to modify your code slightly so that the updated visual elements fit perfectly with the translated copy. Then check and check again! You need to pay such great attention to detail so that all components marry up finally, just as in the original.
In addition to the game itself, you need to localize your packaging, translate app reviews and reply to users’ comments if needed in a way that feels natural to the native users.