Nobody can deny it. Mobile phone applications are becoming part and parcel of the everyday life of individuals and key to the success of businesses in our 21st-century world.
Therefore, mobile app developers always wish to have their apps downloaded and used in each and every market by multiple audiences who speak different languages and have different ways of life.
But how can mobile app developers achieve this? This is where mobile app localization services enter the scene.
So, what is this magic service ─ Mobile App Localization?
Mobile app localization is how an app development business customizes their app so that it may appeal to a geographically specific target market and become easy to use outside their local market. The app’s interface is thus tailored to meet new and different cultural and language expectations. The ultimate purpose is to give the app’s end users a feeling that the app they’re downloading has been created natively for them.
And now that user experience matters that much, is mobile app localization an essential for the mobile development business, or just a luxury?
Why is Mobile App Localization Vital for Business?
Many years ago, it was the exclusive privilege of global brands only. Big names ─ like Microsoft, Orange, Pepsi, Walmart, and Toyota ─ were versed in customizing their products to fit the needs, tastes, languages, and cultures of different markets. Today, Thank God, any smart business, small or large, can play the game!
And mobile app developers are no exception! They all have learned, through years of hands-on experience, a few important lessons. First, our world has turned into some sort of a global marketplace. Second, almost everyone is using mobile phones ─ a fact that smart businesses need to use to their advantage. So, Let’s directly ask the question. Can anyone ignore that mobile apps are being used all across our planet, with people (let’s call them prospects!) relying on them everywhere for both fun and work?
Therefore, if you want to take your mobile app outside your borders to foreign markets, you have to leverage mobile app localization so that your app gets downloaded in Beijing, Mogadishu, Berlin, Sydney as it is in New York. All in all, the customer is king everywhere, provided that you talk to her or him in their languages and take into consideration their distinctive tastes and cultures.
However, we might still need to ask another question. Is mobile app localization a tough job or it’s usually carried out like a hot knife through butter? Let’s see!
Challenges You Face in Localizing Your Mobile App
Yes, several bottlenecks might come up in the course of localizing a mobile app. Yet, going global with your app product is well worth the effort. Therefore, let’s have a look at the key challenges you might face in developing multilingual mobile apps.
1-When You Adapt the Design!
Based upon 12 years of experience in the field, we’d like to advise you against using concatenated strings. The fact is, many languages occupy more space than English. Therefore, it’s great if you leave some space for text expansion. Besides, we advise you to use strings in UTF-8 encoding, because it’s simply less error-prone and quicker.
Also, beware of icons. You need to use them with discretion, as they are sometimes interpreted in different ways in different markets, different countries, and different cultures.
2-When You Translate!
What’s the golden rule in translating the content of your mobile App? Avoid machine translation in this particular sphere! It wreaks havoc with your customer’s user experience! On the other hand, human translators have the creativity and cultural sense to deliver translated content that results in more app downloads, more sales, and more success for your app with various target audiences.
3-Date & Time
You have to pay attention to geography when it comes to selling your app in foreign markets. Switching to another time zone or integrating local places will certainly give your app content a local touch!
4- Digital Marketing Matters!
You can’t take your mobile app across your local border using sales techniques only. Honestly, you need marketing. Precisely, only an integrated digital marketing strategy will help you to promote the app to reach your foreign target audiences. It goes without saying that this is done by digital marketing professionals.
And now that we’ve highlighted the challenges, isn’t it time to talk about how to handle, or, more accurately, how to optimize? Let’s dive deeper!
Tips to Master Mobile App Localization
Yes, it’s tough and needs focus, budget, and teamwork. Yet, it’s worth the effort. That’s why we, at AfroLingo, have a few tips for you to go down the road as smoothly and professionally as you can.
1-Internationalize Before Localization!
Before mobile app localization, there’s another step ─ equally important. Internalization. It is the design and development of a mobile app to enable easy localization for target audiences that vary in language or culture.
Internalization has a general workflow. You need, first, to extract UI strings from the app code. You will have to separate the text into an external file so that you may adjust this textual content without changing any of the code itself. Then, you’ll make multiple resource files, and translate the text in each file. With this, you will have one resource file for each language. Then, you will need to name and store each file properly, so that the system may understand which language each external file refers to. With this, when an end-user opens your app, the phone operating system will load the language resource file which is closest to this user’s language setting.
2-Use a Translation Management System
Gone are the days of manual translations. To get things done professionally, you need to put in place a good translation management system TMS, which will automatically channel the flow of content through the various steps of the localization process, thus smoothing the entire localization process.
3-Optimization of App Store Keywords
Remember that SEO is not only about your website content and blog text, but is equally about optimizing app stores to help attract your local target market.
You need to describe your mobile application with locally-trendy keywords so that you may ensure that your app will be popping up among primary results instead of tragically slipping into oblivion at the bottom of results! Further, you will have to conduct a lot of research to have an idea about which words your prospects will be using to search for the likes of your product. And rest assured, it pays off!
4- Take Care of Cultural Nuances!
You need to pay attention to what is unique for every culture, such as the color palette used or screenshots selected for the app store. To get users to download your app in their smartphones, you need first to download their culture in your marketing strategy!
5-Test, Test and Test!
It might be the functional testing ─ to make sure that end-users will be able to do all actions, such as swiping, saving, and switching pages. It also might be linguistic testing ─ which checks for correct translations to get rid of linguistic errors and cultural issues. However, in both cases, you need to test until you get bored and all the people around you also get bored!
After all, said and done, we still have 2 or 3 questions that need to be answered, including how to choose a professional mobile app localization provider, and why mobile app developers in Kenya, South Africa, and many countries all over Africa and the world would choose a specific app localization services provider? What are the secrets, or the reasons behind this act of selection?
It often happens. Tough questions sometimes have simple answers!
With more than a decade of experience, AfroLingo has grown into a market leader in translation, localization, and all language services.
Businesses in Kenya and all across Africa recognize the company’s great project management capabilities, industry-specific resources, extensive experience, and our expertise to handle all our clients’ translation and localization needs.
At AfroLingo, we take pride in our team that comprises some of the best linguists in the world, who are all highly qualified native speakers and are versed in customizing your mobile app to specified locales or regions without losing brand identity or consistency.
With AfroLingo, you’ll rest assured that your mobile app content will be localized, with full attention paid to the context, local culture, currency and measurement differences, etc., while ensuring that the original layout and user experience of the application remain intact. With this, you’ll be able to get closer and closer to your audiences.
Furthermore, our translation workflow is fully automated, with a variety of content management systems CMSs, which puts an end to the need for time-consuming and error-prone copying and pasting. Besides, we have the most rigorous quality assurance system in the entire industry.
For more information on how to revolutionize the number of downloads for your mobile app in Kenya and across the world, contact us today.