[:en]People know what they want, and they want it quick. Here is where mobile applications score over the other mediums. Apps are fast, enhance the user experience, are cost-effective and convenient, and these are some reasons why they are preferred.
You realize this and develop an app for your company that is easily available for download on the app store. Your mobile app is global, which means that anyone located anywhere on the globe can download it. That takes care of the initial step.
But you cannot stop just at that. If the main reason to develop a mobile app is to target the global audience, then just being globally available will not help. You need to be globally ready too. And this can be achieved only through app localization.
There is a fine line between app translation and mobile app localization. App translation is where you simply translate the content to a language that the audience knows.App localization, on the other hand, translates the content to a language that the audience relates to.
Here are some of the reasons why mobile app localization cannot be ignored.
You have decided to create an app. The idea is to prepare it for localization right from when the app was created. You can decide on the target country later on. Preparing your mobile app early on for localization saves cost and time in the future.
Three activities that form a part of the mobile app localization:
Internationalization is to make the mobile app language independent. This includes initial content preparation which is future-ready for localization.
Once you get the internationalization done, you can estimate the effort and time to localize the app to any language that you desire. This step has to be done only once. If you do it early, it turns out to be cost-effective and easy for all future localization.
The next stage is to localize the content and to adapt the user-facing graphics and text elements properly. App localization is much more than a blind translation tool. It caters to the shapes, colors, and numeral formats.
It is also important to get the proofreading and translation done by a native speaker so that the content is of high quality. The mobile localized app should feel natural as if it was originally developed in the native language.
The app stores allow convenient localization of the mobile app.
People generally confuse localization and internationalization and think them to be the same. These are dependent on each other but they are two different processes and need different approaches.
Internationalization is the process where the code is customized so that it is localization ready. One can modify it in varied languages and then release it. Localization is about customizing your content whereas internationalization is about customizing your code.
Internationalization is done a step before mobile app localization. It gets the code ready to handle any localized content when it is created. Internationalization needs to be done in advance because it is difficult to modify it once it is created.
Have you decided to go ahead with mobile app localization to get your app into the global market? Here are the steps to be followed to localize the app.
The resources and assets are your app elements like the images, content, data tiles, tutorials, etc. These, however, do not include the codes but are those that accompany the program code.
For mobile localization, you will need to externalize the resources to start with the translation and localization process and create a new language version of your mobile app.
When you decide on the mobile app for a global audience, you also have to decide on the app design so that it does not create any space issue. The same word can take up different spaces in different languages. The design should be able to cater to these discrepancies in the language.
The app should also allow for text expansion and contraction. Also, some languages are written from right to left or vertically too. The design should be decided considering all of these.
There could be a single layout for all languages that fit into it and then some alternative layouts too for those that do not fit. The operating systems are app localization friendly allowing localization of date, time, and currencies too as per the local.
Translators will need a context to work on and convey the meaning correctly from one language to another. So when the resources are sent out to be translated, you should provide the right context too.
When the translators are aware of where the translated words are supposed to go, they will work accurately and offer a productive result. The translation process also gets speed when the translators are given the app context.
Once the strings get translated, and the resources get returned, it is time to move it back to the app and test it. Rigorous linguistic and localization testing is needed to ensure that there are no issues in the layout of the content.
The best way to do it is to test the content on varied screen sizes and virtual devices. Break-in string and sentences, line wrapping, and an incorrect layout are the common issues usually spotted. There may be cases where the language would be going out of the layout design. In such cases, you would have to customize it further.
It is important to carry out rigorous testing in the app localization process because it is always better that you find out the mistakes yourself before your clients spot them.
App store optimization is to optimize the content for it to get better visibility in the app store. The right search items for the local audience and optimized content is something that needs to be studied.
Translating the name of the app, the description, and the keywords will help locals find your app out easily. This, in turn, lets you get a slice of the market faster.
App localization is a must and is the best way to effectively communicate with your target audience and project a strong image of your brand internationally.[:]