A Guide to Mobile App Localization

Mobile App Localization

Businesses need to meet their customers where they are. A few years ago, PC and mobile usage levels became even, which means offering mobile-friendly options for websites, e-commerce, and others, is now more important than ever. When it comes to apps, good localization is the key to success.

Why mobile apps?

Mobile apps are a popular way for customers to engage with businesses. In fact, one in five US shoppers reports using shopping apps multiple times per day. But it’s not just retail brands that can benefit from developing an app for their customers. Gaming apps are the most popular app category on the Google Play Store, followed by education, and then business.

Developing a useful and user-friendly app can help boost brand awareness, build your audience, and improve customer service. After all, it’s much easier for a customer to connect with an agent directly through an app they already have than to search for an email address online.

Of course, when a business decides to launch an app, competition is never far away. In 2021, over 2 million apps launched. Standing out from the crowd means giving users the best experience possible, and part of this is through localization.

The importance of mobile app localization

Mobile app localization is the process of transforming an app so that it is well-received in a specific country or region. This is because language and culture influence user preferences, customs, and habits. Accommodating these differences makes for a more engaging app, as though it was made just for those users.

This means making changes at both the technical and content levels of an app. For example, you may need to include right-to-left character display, change images, alter units of measurement, change layouts, adapt cultural references, or more.

Steps involved in mobile app localization

Decide where you want to launch

The App Store is available in 175 regions and 40 languages. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to developing and marketing across different regions means businesses risk missing the mark when it comes to language, culture, content, and functionality. Deciding which markets will work best for your app is crucial and will help you focus your efforts as you expand.

Internationalize the app

Localization can’t take place on a platform that isn’t ready to be adapted. This means your app’s code and interface need to be configured for any necessary changes. As the Android Developer hub explains:

“To reach the most users, your app should handle text, audio files, numbers, currency, and graphics in ways appropriate to the locales where your app is used.”

So, it’s important to separate content from code, make sure foreign-language characters are supported, and more.

Consider content (as well as language)

Localization goes beyond simply changing the language a mobile app is displayed in. If businesses want their app and brand to resonate with audiences in the same way around the world, they need to take cultural differences into account.

It may be that what is deemed appropriate in one country, is offensive in another. Perhaps a joke needs to be altered so that it lands just right. The tone of voice might need to change. Certain products or services may need to be promoted over others.

These adaptations can extend right down to the smaller details such as units of measurement, time and date formats, currency options…all to make the app more engaging and appropriate.

Don’t forget the product page

A well-localized app can only attract users if they can find it. This means making sure that the product page is up to date in the target language, that keywords have been well researched, and that instructions and previews are readily available.

Work with a knowledgeable team

It’s important to work with a localization team that understands the target region’s language and culture, as well as the industry you’re in and the process of localization.

At Future Trans, we work with skilled localizers and translators to transform apps for MENA markets. Our team has over 25 years’ experience in the translation industry and provides the highest-quality services in MENA and beyond.

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