With the widespread usage of mobile devices in emerging markets exploding, it is essential to develop for a multi-language audience. For example, the Apple App Store now offers apps available to download in more than 40 languages.
What is localization?
“Localizing” your app means to adapt it for use in a specific country and/or language. This involves more than simply translating words. It includes using correct time and date formats, units of measurement and international keyboard layout. And translating language is no simple task. Rather than a word-for-word translation from one language to another, what is really needed is a translation of the narrative- the ideas and expressions to be conveyed, adapted to a specific country or culture.
How to do it
Most startups or small businesses are not capable of producing a proper translation and localization of their app. For good reason, many have found success by utilizing companies or services that specialize in localization services. Some well respected localization companies include LocTeam and Babble-on.
In reality, preparing your mobile app for proper localization begins from it’s inception. How much space will there be in your app to display a certain title or sentence? How difficult will it be for someone to come behind you and find what needs translated? What cultural points should you keep in mind when targeting an audience in a specific country? This, and much more is covered in the fantastic localization resources that have been made available from Apple and Android. You do well to familiarize yourself with some of this information, even before you begin developing your app.
There are many potential benefits to localizing your mobile app for a wider audience. You may experience an increase in the number of app downloads and installations. With this, your app will appeal to a much wider demographic. Your app becomes more well-known and widely used. This makes it more valuable. Your company then becomes more valuable. You become more valuable.
Remember- it’s a big world out there, and the majority of people in it don’t speak your language or live in your country. Emerging markets are exploding with mobile usage right now. Do not sell yourself short! Remember that international localization is an integral part of proper and successful mobile app development.