Guide to Mobile App Localization: 4 Tips for Making Your App Global

When you’re launching a new mobile app, taking it globally and enjoying worldwide success is probably the end goal of your business plan. However, achieving global success is no easy fit, particularly when it comes to mobile app localization.

And the process of app localization is more than just translating its content. It also includes complete adaptation for local times, currencies, dates, and various number formats. Besides numbering formats, there are also many other things to consider—from legal requirements and marketing strategies to cultural nuances and translation issues.

For those reasons, app localization is recognized as a vital area of marketing that’s pivotal in growing a brand. In the end, as technological advances permit mobile devices to reach the lives of more and more people worldwide, app localization has become an essential factor for companies that want to increase their customer base beyond their borders.

In this brief guide, we’ll provide tips on making your app localization process as successful and smooth as possible. But let’s go step by step.   

What is mobile app localization? 

In brief, mobile app localization is the process of adapting a given mobile app for the global market. This involves translating the text of the app and adapting the complete user interface to reflect cultural discrepancies. With mobile app localization, it’s important to remember that not everything is about translation; it’s also about taking local customs and preferences into account.

Main considerations when localizing a mobile app 

When working on localizing a mobile app, there are several crucial things to keep in mind:

  • The language. First, your new app’s text must be translated accurately into the target languages. 
  • The culture. In addition to the language, you also need to consider various cultural differences such as social customs, religious beliefs, and design preferences. 
  • The interface. Furthermore, the UI of your app needs to be adapted for different regions. For instance, you may need to use different time formats or currencies. 
  • The legal requirements. In certain countries, there also may be legal requirements on how your mobile app may be used. Ensure that your app is compliant with local laws and regulations.

Thoroughly completing these localization requirements before you launch your app may take time, so settin aside enough resources can have a serious impact on your project. To make the most of it, you may want to consider using a complete localization solution, such as the Phrase Localization Suite. It brings together a translation management system, software localization solution, and AI-powered machine translation capabilities to cover all of your localization needs.

4 tips to successfully localize your mobile app 

Think beyond simple translation 

As mentioned previously, stop believing that the full localization process involves only translating your app’s text into another language. In reality, it entails so much more than that. For instance, you need to account for cultural differences like dates or names being written differently from one place to another. In addition, you also need to keep in mind things like units of measure (miles vs kilometers) or currency symbols. 

Name order can change

Furthermore, different languages use different orders for first and last names, which can change how a full name or address reads or what information should be displayed on a business card. In that regard, if your app uses data-entry forms, you need to ensure that the users can enter their information in the appropriate format so that it will be displayed correctly in their native language. 

Never embed text in images

While images represent a fantastic way to add much-needed visual interest to your app, they can also prove to be problematic if you want to localize them. Embedded text in images can’t really be changed quickly or easily, so it may need to be removed if the translation demands changing. For that reason, if you use text in your images, make sure to keep the length of the text short and don’t use special characters that can’t be translated into other languages. 

Testing is a must

Finally, to ensure that your app is working properly in different regions, you always need to conduct comprehensive app localization testing before you launch your app for good. This process will help you identify any pending issues with the formatting or translation of your app before it reaches the market.

Final thoughts

In the end remember that the prospective users of your app are all over the world, so it’s essential to ensure that everyone can use your app according to their preferences. And while you think that making your app global only means translating your app into different languages, there’s a lot more to do than that. 

Once your app is fully localized, the process doesn’t just stop there. As your brand and app’s reach grow, you’ll have to make changes to your app and add features. However, it all starts with localization, so make sure you don’t get that part wrong and enjoy a successful launch.