Mobile app translation is localizing the text in a mobile app’s user interface from one language to another and is an important practice for developers working on international expansion.
How to Translate a Web or Mobile Application
Want to translate your web or mobile app to reach a wider audience? Check out this article for some of the best practices for mobile app localization.
Translating your app will open up new markets, increase brand awareness and boost your income. When shopping online, shoppers from abroad prefer their local language. Your apps need to be available in that language to be successful.
Here are some of the best practices for translating a web or mobile app:
• Set Your Strategy
The first step in in-app localization is to determine your target market and language. Identify untapped potential among your existing customers. Ask yourself if your app is needed in the market you are targeting before you start growing globally.
First, make sure your program is localizable. Separate the source code from the information that needs to be translated. Internationalization saves time and money throughout the process.
• Hire a Professional Translation Agency
It’s important to ensure a smooth user experience when translating. To summarize, optimize and localize your app, you should contact a professional translation agency.
Localization includes formatting, editing, and cultural adaptation. With the help of experts, you will not have to worry about word lengths or changes in writing direction.
• Use an Agency that works with the file format you provide
Professional translators are familiar with a variety of file types and will make sure they can work with the materials you provide. They will be able to immediately incorporate their work into your app and revise the control system, so you will not have any further hassle. It will also speed up the process and minimize the number of unintentional human errors.
• Localize Visual Content
Other languages require more space and characters for text, and some even require text to be read in a different orientation. Therefore, localizing an app starts in the development and design phase. From a visual standpoint, your user interface should be localization-friendly and functional. If the captions cannot exceed a certain length, you should inform the translators in advance so they can work around the restriction.
• Create a Glossary
If your app uses company-specific jargon, you should provide translators with a glossary. A glossary helps ensure consistency of content throughout the app and provides a better user experience.
• Language logic
To accommodate changes in grammatical structures in the target languages, you need to incorporate different logic. Review your application to ensure this is done appropriately, and provide instructions and recommendations to your translators so they can apply these rules in the translated version.
The Mobile App Translation Process: A Step-by-Step Breakdown
How does mobile app translation and localization work? Mobile app translation and localization offers developers tremendous commercial potential, and mobile app localization is even more interesting. Let us take a look at the process step by step.
1. Market Research
Perhaps the most important phase in this process, right after the translation itself, is conducting market research. Before embarking on a mobile app translation project, keep in mind that thorough research is the cornerstone of successful business development and expansion planning. If you do not currently have a large number of multilingual international users, focus your study on your international competitors and identify a market that will enthusiastically embrace your mobile app.
Proximity to your own headquarters is also important for digital businesses. Your neighboring countries are likely to be very similar culturally and economically. Start your expansion there to establish the systems that will enable future development.
2. Finding an Experienced LSP
Finding a Language Services Provider (LSP) is critical to completing a mobile app translation project in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable cost, while achieving a good result.
It is possible for large developers with global reach to handle translation and localization in-house, but it is not advisable for small business owners to take the project into their own hands.
A professional company that provides quality translation and localization services will work tirelessly to help you fill in the linguistic, cultural and functional gaps in your product so that it is tailored to the needs of your target market and can be successful. The benefits of outsourcing a project to a third party include savings on the cost of recruiting, training and managing
3. Project Preparation
Once you have determined which markets you are targeting, created a 360-degree market plan, identified the most appropriate translation services, and established clear project terms, a project manager will request the necessary materials so you can begin work on your project.
Your translation team will first extract the translatable strings from your app and store them in a resource file before doing the translation itself. Among other things, the project managers responsible for your success will most likely need some more information from you to gain a thorough understanding of how your software works and how your users interact with it. The more context the team has, the higher the quality of the translated content will be.
Now it’s time to do the actual translation. Here are three practical suggestions to help you with this:
The translatable resources need to be segmented: All resources (text, graphics or multimedia) associated with the executable code must be segmented out. This way, the app content can be easily translated without changing the app executable code.
Do not forget about text expansion (or contraction): depending on whether the text is translated or localized inthe app, the space taken up by the reader can range from 40% to 100%. This is the stage where you should plan and build your app, taking into account the space flexibility that may be required for different languages. The code must allow you to increase and decrease the size of the text without damaging the user interface. Otherwise, what used to be a seamless user experience would become a difficult problem to solve.
Contextualize your LSP: talk to your project manager and discuss the results of your market research and your company’s goals. The translation team will need context to overcome language and cultural barriers. Communication will be necessary to achieve an appropriate and natural outcome.
5. Quality Assurance & Delivery
Upon completion of the translation and proofreading process, a rigorous quality control process will be performed. In this phase, the translated version of the software will be tested in a test environment. The goal is to test the new version on different devices with different screen sizes before releasing it. In this way, you can evaluate the result and determine how the design has been adapted for the translation process. You can then determine if any changes or optimizations are needed before releasing the final version of the software. When everything is perfect, the final version is delivered to the client.
Why Mobile App Localization?
According to Statista, there are about 237.72 million cell phone users in the United States in 2017, while the total number of cell phone users worldwide is about 4.93 billion. Another study has revealed that the time spent in mobile applications and the income earned in China exceeds that of all other nations. According to the report, China is followed by India, while the United States is in third place.
Meanwhile, non-English speaking countries from Europe and East Asia account for half of the top ten iOS App Store downloads and revenue. Eighty percent of the top five countries in terms of Google Play downloads and revenue are non-English speaking countries from Europe and East Asia. Asia accounts for 41% of total app revenue worldwide, while North America accounts for only 31% and Europe accounts for only 23% of total app revenue.
Tips for Localizing Your App
While it may seem that localization should be postponed until later, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, this is our most important recommendation.
1. Get a Head Start
Remember that localization should be considered at the very beginning of app development.
Now that you know how different languages behave and display in different ways on a mobile device, you can create an app whose user interface is flexible enough to handle languages other than English (using standard resources) from the start. A later step of the translation and localization process is thus simplified.
2. Think beyond translation
The term “content” refers to everything in the app, including photos, colors, fonts, and other elements. Localizing an app is not just about translating the text into the native language of the target audience, but also about integrating the app into the cultural context of the target audience. It can be beneficial to be familiar with regional traditions and customs.
3. Remember name order can change
There are different methods that people around the world use to enter their names into form fields on the Internet.
English-speaking countries: first name + last name
Spanish-speaking countries: first name + paternal surname + maternal surname
Portuguese-speaking countries: first name + maternal surname + paternal surname
Hungary, Japan, Korea: Last name + First name
Sometimes it’s easier to add a single field, but it depends on your CRM and the information you need from your customers.
4. Don’t embed text in images
Using images that contain text undermines the efforts already made elsewhere to localize your app. Images should be customized for each location to give consumers a more personalized experience. If this is not possible, you can design your app to easily show and hide photos.
5. Localization testing is a must
Localization testing should be done on a variety of devices with different screen sizes that are representative of what is commonly used in a particular region. Localization experts recommend performing a “pseudo-localization test” before starting the localization process to ensure that the app is internationalized before proceeding.
A successful local app that meets employee and consumer needs can be transformed into a successful global app that drives your business across country and language boundaries.
6. Get help from a localization provider
Localization is a difficult task. There’s a good reason why hundreds of companies offer it as a service: It works. When it comes to localization, most app developers choose to work with a company that will translate, internationalize, and localize your app, combining business and technological expertise to make recommendations for improvements to your app based on their extensive expertise.
We Can Help with App Localization at DYS Translations
If you want to launch your app in the global market while maintaining a distinct local flavor, app localization is the best option for you. At our company, DYS Translations, we make it easier for our clients to communicate and expand their business in foreign markets by working together to create an environment that is adaptable, reliable and open to new ideas. With us, you will receive a high-quality service that meets your needs at a reasonable price and with reliable performance. We also offer a variety of professional localization services, including the following:
All file formats are supported: We can localize any iOS, Android or online localization file format you provide us.
Smooth communication: please contact us via email or Telegram if you have any questions. We can set up a dedicated Slack channel for you to communicate about your projects.
Localization management: PoEditor, Localize, Localize Pro, and Phraseapp are just a few of the many localization management platforms we support. If you already have a platform in mind that you would like to use, we can have our translators work on it for you.
Affordable: When it comes to quality, we do not cut corners.
We only offer one type of translation service: professional. Our price per word is $0.09 (USD), including proofreading.
Updating friendliness: Do you need to update and localize your information regularly, including adding short sentences? We can do it all for you!