Reasons to Localize Your Mobile App

Did you know that cell phone ownership among adults in the United States has surpassed 90 percent? Let’s take it a step further. The Internet and American LifeSurvey by the Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of these adults have smartphones. By 2017, 60 percent of Internet users in North America will own tablets, according to a Forrester report. But these trends are global, too. According toeMarketer, 2 billion consumers worldwide will have smartphones by 2016!

What do all of these facts and figures mean for you? The mobile audience is growing, and so, too, is the demand for localized apps. Here are some quick tips to localize your apps for an international audience.

  • When creating content, begin with the end in mind. The demand for localized apps is there; anticipate that your apps will be localized eventually. Therefore, write interface text with this in mind.
  • Let’s stick to talking about content. Text expansion is important, especially when translating content for an app. For example, text expands by 25 percent when going from English into Spanish. With an app, the space on the screen is often small. As with any source layout, white space is your friend. It will help to account for text expansion later on.
  • Also, when creating your app, think about your choices in graphics and images. What is culturally acceptable in one culture may not work in others. Some factors to consider are sensitivities surrounding religion, politics, or government. Poor choices of colors, icons, gestures, or maps may offend international users.
  • How will you export your content for translation? Then, once text is translated, how will your import it? Make sure you include all content that is part of the app (error messages and other pop-ups).
  • Is your software internationalized? Meaning, can it support foreign language characters, vertical text, left-to-right text, right-to-left text, local dates, times, and currencies?
  • Support materials also need to be translated such as online help instructions, product documentation, terms of use, and support.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to advertise! This includes marketing materials as well as app descriptions. For marketing content, transcreation might be the best route to make sure nuances in creative content are not lost in translation! (Pun always intended.)

When localizing your app, look to TranslationsXXX as a partner. We can work with you to make sure your content is culturally appropriate for your target market, whatever country or region of the world. We will make recommendations on any changes that need to be made and will also perform linguistic and localization testing to make sure that the app is functional and the user experience is more than satisfactory!

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