Andovar offers turnkey localization services of mobile applications in all commercial languages. If your app has proven successful in English, it makes good business sense to quickly grow its user base by localization into other languages. Localization involves a variety of tasks that happen throughout your development cycle and it pays to be prepared in advance.
Choose Target Languages and Markets
The very first step is to identify which languages and countries you choose to target. You can manage your apps on three main dimensions: country, locale, and language. Several factors come into play in this decision, such as:
- Size of market, its GDP and how many countries will one language version cover.
- Speakers of some languages are more likely to need a local-language version, while others speak English well.
- Is your app or game culturally suitable for that market?
- Cost of localization varies depending on language.
- Will you need to provide in-language support, such as tutorials, help files or call centers after releasing the app in a new language?
It makes sense to start with major languages before going into smaller ones, but each situation is unique.
To localize an app, you will need to first prepare it by a process known jointly as internationalization. Internationalization means that an app can potentially be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes, while localization is the process of translation and adaptation for a specific language and locale. Internationalization commonly includes:
- Externalizing strings, which means keeping content intended for translation such as text and images separate from the program code. This helps to safely and easily manipulate these assets without risk of altering software code.
- Provide context for strings intended for translation, including information about what they refer to and where they are used in the layout. This will help translators understand how to translate them and will help you manage your strings more effectively over time.
- Pseudolocalization, a process of replacing all translatable strings with strings in another language to test whether your app is ready for actual localization. It is done by loading up machine-translated or dummy text and then checking for issues.
- Flexible layout, since text tends to expand in length and sometimes also height after translation into most languages. You should be able to easily resize all text fields, buttons and menus, otherwise translated text will go out of bounds. If you are considering localizing into languages that run from right to left (such as Arabic) or top to bottom (such as Chinese), you might need to allow for complete rearrangement of design elements to adapt to new flow of text.
- Checking units of time, date, length, etc. If the app is to have a real local feel in any country, there must be an easy way to switch measuring units, currencies and even calendars between Gregorian (Western) and Buddhist (in some Asian countries).
Test Your Localized App
Once your app is translated, it needs to be thoroughly tested before release. The two main types of testing are:
- Functional testing used to determine whether the app’s functionality remains unaffected and users can perform all actions you intended.
- Linguistic testing used to check whether the translation is correct, since it is common that what seems correct when translating an individual string might not be the best choice of words when seen in context.
Both tests should ideally be done on more than one platform to make sure that no issues occur regardless of screen dimensions and device’s technical specifications. Andovar can help you with both types of testing. Small apps can be tested quickly simply by letting trained native-speaking testers check them ad-hoc, while larger ones need test plans which list all steps needed.
Localize App Store listing
Localization of the app strings is the most important task. However, to allow speakers of the new languages to find your app, you need to also update the information in the app stores as well. This means the following items:
- App description, is the most important section. Even if your app has been localized well, few speakers of the new languages will download it if they don’t know what it is and what they can expect. Visitors will draw conclusions on the quality of your localization based on the language used here.
- What’s New, to let visitors know what the latest updates are. By its nature, this text changes often, so each time you need to remember to provide the text in all languages your app has been localized into.
- Keywords, which helps users find your app by searching the store. They should not be simply translated, since speakers of different language may use different words to search for the same thing. Localization of keywords requires careful research and knowledge of each target market.
- Images and videos, visitors to your app listing will see not only text, but also screenshots and promotional images and videos. These should also be localized to convince them to download the app. Andovar also offers audio and video localization services.
Read more about our mobile app localization services at www.mobile-app-localization.com.