After developing a mobile app, the hard part is to increase of its downloads. One of the most effective solutions is to localize it to increase its audience and reach more potential users. As a starting point, what you should remember is that app localization is not a translation of an app, translation being a small part of the entire process. It’s about language, culture and other geographic references. There are many aspects that need to be considered like: legal requirements, currency, numeric, date and time formats, icons, symbols, colors, graphics or ideas that in a culture can be misinterpreted.
Does every app need localization?
If you want your app to be useful for people around the world then it needs localization. An important aspect in this decision is to look for the number of active users of your app, because a survey made by Statista reveals that, in March 2014, 48% of app users in the United States had stopped using an app due to insufficient localization.
But, if you are not decided if your app needs localization, you can use Localization MVP (Minimum Viable Product) where you localize only the app store profile and not your entire app. This means that you localize your app title, app description, app keywords and screenshots. Although it is easier to create a test like this, if you don’t want to dissapoint your users, you have to be careful to remove this test on time.
What to localize?
Some of the elements of an app that needs localization are: text, pictures, colors, sounds, currency, date and number formats, all those assets that make the difference from a country to another.
In a tough market, in order to reach more users, all apps need localization. But, you have to know that this is an ongoing process. It doesn’t end with all the changes that you make to your app. A lot of work needs to be done when you release your app on the market.
First, you need to change your title to be sure it fits to the country you have chosen. The next step is to change your app description to make it more interesting. You have to pay attention to the keywords, because a good keyword in a language can become a poor keyword in another language. After that you have to be carreful with the screenshots and videos especially if they have text. And don’t forget about the cultural aspect when you do that, because you don’t want to offend your users.
How to decide where to localize the app?
There are a few things to look for, if you are wondering whether you should localize your app or not:
One option is to look into download stats. From what country are your users?
Of course, other way is to pay attention to some popular countries like: India, Brazil, Russia, China according AppAnnie.
Other than that, you should keep an eye on your competitors. Look for other apps in your category.
Tips for better localization
Although localization of an app is a tedious process, its results are absolutely amazing. One step after another and the ratings will start to reveal your talent as an app developer.
- Decide wich countries need more attention. Choose one or two countries at first to see the results. After taking this decision find out what are your target languages.
- Internationalize the app. Modify the layouts and create special resource folders. If the language you choose needs right-to-left support take that into consideration.
- Use locales. In order to have success with all the variables you need to use system-provided formats for currencies, numbers and dates. Don’t hardcode these variables.
- Use app localization tools. This step is optional but there are many platforms out there that can help you with this process. Is your call to use the best for you (if you decide to use any of them).
- Test the localized app. This is the biggest step due to the fact that an app that crashes is even worse then an app than an app that wasn’t localized.
- Stay close to your users. Read their feedback and answer to their comments. Try to help them understand and use the app as easy as you can. It is very important to listen to their needs because you don’t want to make them stop using your app.
- Update When Needed. It’s not enough to just communicate with your users. The reason you are doing this is to offer them a great experience when they are using your app. So, when your app is not working properly, you have to do whatever it takes to eliminate all the errors that can occur. Don’t forget that an app full of bugs is worse than an app that was not localized.
Keep in mind that not everyone speaks your language. If you want to grow your downloads, to boost your sales, or just to be famous in many countries you have to consider app localization.