Mobile App Localization and Internationalization

App Localization and Internationalization are key factors in building successful mobile apps today. Learn more about the process of optimizing your app globally and locally at the same time with various techniques, writes, Rilind Elezaj, a Digital Marketing Specialist

Let’s say you have a built a great app and you know it has the potential to be the next Pokemon Go. If your app is limited to only English or another language, you are cutting off the opportunity to tap the potentially larger foreign markets. According to a survey by Common Sense Advisory, over 50% of the countries that appear in the top 10 list for downloading apps are non-English speaking.

Another study shows the United States, South Korea, and Japan are the biggest app markets in the world. By making your app available in the Japanese and Korean market, you will conquer half of the global market, and this strategy is called mobile app localization.

The manufacturing giants like Pepsi, Walmart and Ford have followed the localization strategy to run a successful global business for years. They customize their recipes and products as per the culture and specific customer requirements in the local markets. The same concept works for mobile apps as well!

The Internet has revolutionized every aspect of our lives – the way we communicate, order food, go shopping, hang out with friends, and play games. Social media sites have brought people closer and made us see what is going on in other countries real time. People have come to realize that we are all the same, and if there’s something that’s successful in your country, chances are people around the world will love it too! Next time your app development company suggests you use localization services for your app, don’t just see it as an extra charge on your invoice but approach it with curiosity and interest.

Benefits Of Mobile App Localization

If you are still looking for reasons to go for mobile app localization, here are some benefits that will motivate you to take that step which could make you the next John Hanke.

  • There’s a huge app market beyond the United States. With app localization, you will be able to conquer the Asia/Pacific region that comprises more than half of the global app users.
  • Making your app available in different countries will help you increase your sales
  • More than 90% of mobile phone activities today are done using apps so localization is more important now than ever before
  • Localizing your app can give you a higher return on investment
  • A localized mobile app can give you more visibility in the App Store which is available in 150 countries

Before fully applying the localization it is always a good idea to run an MVP test which should perform before the final release of the app to the global market, and for that, you should hire professional localization experts. A simple localization test will boost your app downloads.

What Is App Internationalization

Once you are convinced that mobile app localization is the way to go, this takes us to the next stage which is the internationalization of app. While many people loosely refer to it as localization, they are actually two different things. When you want to make your app available in different languages for iOS and Android users, the process starts with mobile app internationalization.

Internationalization of apps is the preparatory stage that separates the texts and other content from the code. It takes care of the font style, content displays, language orientation, and a plethora of other minute details to deliver an uninterrupted user experience in their native language. If you have ever tried entering a US zip code in UK postcode field then you know what this involves.

How Is It Done?

The internationalization process also takes into account the different punctuation conventions, formatting of numbers, dates, and ways of interpreting the text in different languages. It gives you a clearer idea of how much translation work is required for localization of app.

Internationalization also helps you identify which localizations are likely to give you a better ROI. A cost-effective way to handle these tasks is by using a translation software solution that enables you to achieve app internationalization without performing extensive coding.

App localization follows the internationalization phase and it involves clear and precise translation of the separated content into foreign languages. Also referred to as transcreation by some people, it involves changing the text, screen layouts, images and even app behavior as per the local needs. App developers usually do internationalization of mobile apps only once, and localization is done multiple times for different languages.

What Are The Challenges?

“Internationalization and localization of apps are not without challenges. Adapting your app to different languages involve extensive coding work. From differences in numeral systems and date formats to color coding and alignment, there may be many things to take care of” says Vasile, of .

Sometimes one country may have people speaking many languages and one language such as English may have several different versions such as UK English, US English and so on.

Hence, it is upon the app developer to create an effective strategy for app internationalization and localization. Make sure you test the localized apps thoroughly with native users before launching them as an error which may seem insignificant to a non-native will be noticed by a native and impact the overall user experience.

Mobile App Localization and Internationalization

Guest Author Aug 29 2018 | 8 Mins Read | Level – Intermediate

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Rilind Elezaj is an experienced a Digital Marketing Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Rilind possesses a strong entrepreneurial mindset and has devoted his career to enhancing the sphere of digital marketing. In his methodological approach, Rilind integrates web development and other digital marketing solutions to create hybrid strategies that bring the best results.

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