App localization is the process of adapting the content, user interface, and flow of an app, to serve an audience of a target market. It takes into account cultural, linguistic, and technical differences between the original and foreign end-consumer. At the same time, the process ensures that the localized version differs the least possible from the original app in terms of functionality and usability.
Why is app localization important?
Non-localized apps can hurt the growth potential of the user base. Global markets display a great variety of competitive products. Missing language versions can make an app less competitive. This means without localization, the potential for international reach, product adoption, and revenue growth is limited.
A simple translation – in a worst-case scenario done using a machine translation service like Google Translate – does not take particularities into account that can greatly impact a visitor’s purchase decision. The localization of an app, on the other hand, ensures that trustworthiness, buying incentive, and quality assessment will not suffer in a foreign language version of the app.
With the right localization process and the help of professional translators and the implementation of the internationalization process as a previous step, localized versions for the targeted region or location will ensure that:
- Content quality is at the same level as the native language version,,
- The standard currency for the market is displayed,
- Time and date are correctly displayed,
- Call-to-action button text is appropriate for string length,
- The correct keyboard is assigned.
What are best practices for app localization?
With the increase in mobile adoption comes an increase in app requirements. Global markets are easy to access for app developers if a few things are considered before launching the app in the various app stores. Localization is one of these things. But best practices for app localization actually start while developing the product.
Here are some of the best practices to consider when getting an app ready for international audiences in specific target markets:
Developing with international user experience in mind
Sophisticated developers will take the differences in the target audiences of the foreign markets into account right from the start, and:
- Ensure enough space for language-specific text expansions,
- Design layout structures that will not collapse with text contractions,
- Choose icons that are acceptable and comprehensible among people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds,
- Use a simplified visual language while focusing on the user experience.
What are the resources that require localization?
Depending on the extent and purpose of your app, the resources that might need localization can differ. This means an app for retail business might require the localization of catalogs, user instructions, explainer videos, and other product information. On the other hand, a weather app provider might opt for localizing the user interface only, as the variables are predominantly numeric data fed into the platform on a regular basis.
Resources, other than source code, can include:
- Photos and captions,
- App content,
- User guides,
- Explainer videos,
- Product descriptions,
- Marketing content, etc.
What is a successful App Store optimization?
What sets high-quality localization apart from a mediocre one is how elements, like those listed above, are optimized for usability. Finetuning and usability testing can have a tremendous impact on app downloads and user acceptance.
With the help of app store optimization for the localized app, developers can see app analytics take a turn for the positive. These elements need to be appropriate and improved for the relevant target language, in order to drive searchability, and ultimately sales.
What are the benefits of app localization?
Consumers and business users prefer working with products in their native language. In order to improve the experience for the international user base, translating an app into multiple languages might not be enough.
Key aspects for a successful localization process are an app development process that takes usability elements into account, and the use of subject matter expert translators. The result will be localized app versions in a variety of target languages that increase searchability and conversion rates in the long run.