We live in a digital world where almost everything we do requires phone apps. Therefore, it is not surprising that businesses today are always thinking of creating mobile applications for their products to meet the needs of customers. However, this trend does not stop at supplying the domestic market. Businesses that want to achieve great revenue need to put themselves in a broader picture – the global market. This means that, right now, businesses need to consider the Mobile App Localization solution.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the basics of app localization and explain how it can help you build and spread your brand in any market. Let’s dive in!
What is App Localization?
Mobile app localization is the process of adapting an app to both the culture and language of the end user, from measurement standards to video and graphic design. It involves not only translation but also design and user experience changes to make the app look and feel natural to the target user.
It is easy to imagine that app localization is simply changing the language of a few key sections so that the user knows which button to click. However, app localization often goes much further than that. It also involves other changes like the size and position of those buttons on the page, as well as other design elements. It might even involve changing the code on the backend so that employees in different regions can manage and update the application.
Why do you need App localization?
Many people mistakenly believe that, if they want to reach foreign customers, they only need to translate the application into the language of the country they want to reach (or even just use the most common language like English, Chinese, etc.). This is a misconception. Simply translating is not enough, because each country has its own language, culture, and living habits. In order to reach indigenous people, it is necessary to understand their habits and culture and reach out in the native language that is friendly to them.
Mobile app localization is the key factor if you want to go global successfully. It is the shortest way to enter the global market, has great potential for sales, and gives your business a competitive advantage.
For example, when Nintendo launched Pokemon Go, they made $35 million in just the first two weeks. How did they do? The team paid attention to App Localization. They research each market individually and tweak the game for those markets. This includes changes in icons, images, and even screenshots.
Types of mobile app localization
- Minimum viable localization (MVL): Minimum viable product (MVP) launched with minimal functionality and features. Similarly, MVL focuses on defining and localizing core features of the application for different markets. MVL requires little effort and resources so it is suitable for early-stage app startups, which prioritize fast time to market and high ROI.
A good example is a note-taking app Evernote launched in China with a name in the local language – Yinxiang Biji (2012). A year later, Evernote had 4 million Chinese users, and the company launched Yinxiang Biji Business as a purely Chinese product.
- Full app localization: Unlike MVL, full app localization involves fully localizing and maximizing your app’s reach, user base, revenue opportunity, and ROI. Global app companies tailor everything to each target market. This helps users feel at home when using your app.
A good example is the Airbnb app with over 220 locales and over 60 languages. This app localizes everything from interface and content to payment methods.
App localization challenges and How to tackle them
As a developer involved in app localization, you may face a number of different challenges. Some of the common localization-related issues that developers face include:
- Unforeseen delays and extra costs: Many companies develop applications and write code without considering future global scalability. As the app adapts to new markets, this will cause delays and additional costs. The solution to this is that you have to ensure internationalization and global availability from the outset.
- Quality issues detected at app release: Some applications have localization problems such as mistranslation or even incomprehension. When releasing your app, these app localization issues can damage your reputation, causing users to abandon your app after improper use. So it’s best to invest in testing and quality assurance for every language in the first place.
- App localization can’t keep up with development: The localization of your app may lag behind the fast-paced app development process. Application release delays caused by localization delays can increase cost, time, productivity, and quality. The best way to avoid this is to have app localization built into your agile app development framework.
- Inadequate app localization technology: The right app localization technology can solve many app localization challenges. Conversely, when you don’t have the right tools, your workflow will suffer. Exchanges, translations, and releases take a long time because of bottlenecks, undetected errors, and affected localization quality. The advice given here is to strive to provide the best toolkit to automatically collect application sequence data, facilitate translation management, push notifications automatically, etc.
When you’re ready to start localizing your product, you’ll need a localization expert to help guide you through the process. GTE Localize has partnered with some of the largest enterprise software vendors in the world, helping them delight their customers through fast app localization processes, extensive language testing, and end-to-end localization services.
If you need to find translation services and localize applications for your projects, please contact GTE Localize immediately at [email protected] for a free consultation and get the best app translation quote on the market today.