Mobile phone applications are rapidly transforming global markets. Companies worldwide are expanding their reach by focusing on their online presence through applications. However, creating an application is not enough to guarantee success. Even if you work hard, your app may not receive the expected number of downloads on an international level. In this case, the first step towards success is to learn from your experience and equip yourself with better tools. 

One of the significant factors that contribute to the success of any app on an international level is localization. People prefer to use apps that are available in their native language. Not all users are tech-savvy, and using an app that is not in their language can be challenging for them. Hence, it is essential to localize your app to ensure its success in the global market. 

Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems. To ensure the successful global reach of your application in 2024, it is essential to stick to a platform that keeps you informed about everything related to localization. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about mobile app localization. So, let’s get started.

Table of Content

  1. What Is App Localization?
  2. Deeper Insights: Why It Matters For Your Global Growth?
  3. Translation Vs. Localization Vs. Internationalization
  4. Types Of Mobile App Localization
  5. Key Benefits Of Mobile App Localization
  6. Common Localization Challenges App Developers Face
  7. Strategies To Effectively Localize Your App?
  8. Choosing The Right Localization Partner!

What is App Localization?

An application is comprised of multiple things such as design, content, layout, and other elements, including buttons, icons, menus, etc. But, do you think that users worldwide would prefer to use the app you have designed according to your local preferences and language? If you think so, you are doing it wrong. Launching your local app in the global market will only cost you time and money. There will be no response from the global users, as a result, your app will be removed from the app store listing. 

Localization of your app is like a cultural passport. It’s the process of adapting your app’s interface, content, and functionality to resonate with different languages, cultures, and markets. It goes beyond mere translation. It is about making your app feel like a native experience by ensuring every bit of your application including descriptions, in-app copy, graphics, UI elements, and other features are customized to suit cultural preferences, expectations, or specific habits of target users.

Deeper Insights: Why It Matters for Your Global Growth?

According to Statista, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach almost 6.9 billion in 2024 and is forecasted to reach 7.7 billion by 2028. The growing number of smartphone users means more people are spending time using mobile apps. According to a 2020 report submitted by EmizenTech, there were 218 billion mobile phone app downloads across iOS and Android apps in a year. 

Mobile phone apps range from personal finance and business to entertainment and gaming to chat and hosting apps that keep consumers busy, allowing them to scroll through, search for, and click keys on their phones. This indicates the rising need for mobile apps and a large opportunity for companies and developers who want to expand beyond their country to reach areas that speak a different language and have different opinions about applications. 

But, if your target audience does not speak your language, reaching them, establishing a strong connection, and selling to them will be tiresome. That’s where mobile app localization jumps in. It bridges the communication gap between businesses and customers allowing them to resonate with the diverse target audience. 

Translation vs. Localization vs. Internationalization 

Although all three of these are from the same family but have different applications, demands, and requirements. Let’s see more. 

  • Translation 

Translation refers to the word-to-word conversion of textual content from one language to another. Do you remember the translation projects from the school? Yeah. it’s exactly that. The process doesn’t put a strong emphasis on anything like you are not bound to follow any specialized vocabulary and terminology. 

  • Localization 

This is the next step to translation. Well, it contains a lot more than a mere word-to-word translation because in localization, you need to take every step keeping your target audience in mind. It means your content should resonate with your audience’s language and culture. For example, while leading to the Chinese market, you cannot use words like blood and skull. Because such words are prohibited in their culture. In a nutshell, localization takes translation a step further by ensuring the cultural relevance of your app to your audience. 

  • Internationalization

Here you need to give extra attention to prevent mixing up internationalization with globalization because they go hand in hand. Internationalization is the act of designing products in a way that makes your expansion into the international market easy and simple. Globalization, on the other hand, is the process of bringing your business to new locales. 

Types of Mobile App Localization

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to localization. Different types of applications have various requirements. The ideal method is to be clear with your resources and goals to find out what type of localization and mobile app translation services you need. 

  • MVL (Minimum Viable Localization)

As the name suggests, you choose particular things to focus on including keywords, app store descriptions, and keywords. MVL is a fast and cost-effective localization method to enter into a new market. 

  • Full Localization 

It is like the premium version of app localization. In full localization, you take care of everything from UI elements to marketing materials to rule on your target market. 

Key Benefits of Mobile App Localization

The benefits of localizing apps are various, let’s discuss a few:

  • Wider Global Reach 

Are your downloads limited? That’s probably because your product is only suitable for a specific audience. Why would people from around the world get their hands on your products and services until they are unable to connect with them? This is where localization comes in. It allows you to connect with millions of potential users and open doors to new markets. 

  • Improved App Store Ranking 

Local app stores are based on a very simple algorithm. Apps that are available in the local language rank higher as compared to the other apps. So, localization increases your app’s visibility and improves its rank in local app stores by adapting the app’s description, content, and UI according to the target user’s preferences. 

  • Better User Experience 

Have you ever got your hands on an app developed by an Arabic company? I’m just asking because the app’s language could be the reason you quit using it. Just like that, people find it difficult to use an app that does not speak their language. Localization helps improve user experience by making the users feel that the app is specifically made for them. It allows users to easily connect with the app, understand its functionalities, and learn swiftly how to use it. 

  • Increased Monetization Opportunities

When an app performs well and gets more downloads in a minimum time, the app store monetizes it and it starts generating revenue for the company. Localization boosts the process and helps developers to get their apps monetized leading to higher in-app purchases and overall revenue. 

  • Competitive Edge

App development is nothing new to the world. Your unique ideas and strategies help you develop and maintain your reputation in a saturated global market. Localizing apps provide assistance to stand out in a crowded market by offering a truly global and user-centric experience. 

Common Localization Challenges App Developers Face

Localization is not completely a win-win situation. There are a few potential challenges that you might face on your journey to global markets. Let’s discuss:

  • Cultural Diversification 

Language and culture go hand in hand. A joke that earns laughter in one culture might flop in another. The wrong delivery of words can spoil your whole globalization game. And you wouldn’t want it, right? So, be mindful of metaphors, humor, and even colors that can have different meanings across regions. 

  • Different Language Structures 

There are more than 7000 languages in the world. Each of them differs from the others in terms of structure and length. For example, German often requires more text space than English which can impact the app’s design and layout. 

  • Post Development Changes and Upgradation

Well, app development is a continuous process. It requires you to make amendments according to the changing trends and user requirements. This brings in the need for post-development changes that also require localizing the app again. And keeping localized versions up-to-date with new features is indeed a juggling act. 

  • Text Direction of Different Languages

Whether you are familiar or not, there are different language directions as well, such as right-to-left languages and left-to-right languages. English, Russian, Spanish, and many other languages fall in the LTR category. Whereas, Arabic and Urdu are the best examples of RTL categories that require a complete UI layout flip to ensure a seamless user experience. 

Strategies to Effectively Localize Your App?

Don’t worry! There is a solution to every problem. Let’s take a look at how you can overcome these challenges by simply knowing these strategies: 

  • Understand Your Target Audience

Even though you are providing the best quality, you still can’t just jump into any global market until you know the cultural nuances and app usage preferences of your target market. The best way to know that is by investing in cultural research reports and hiring consultants specializing in the cultural landscape of the target audience. Moreover, social media can help you to know how people discuss apps in your target language and region. Additionally, a competitor analysis can be insightful. You can see how successful apps are localized for the target market. Understanding these details helps you to tailor your localization process to connect with your users on a deeper level. 

  • Identify Key Elements that Need Localization

It is crucial to identify whether you need MVL or full localization. It highly depends on your preferences. Not all elements of your apps need immediate localization. At first, you can focus on the content that directly impacts the users’ journey such as buttons, menus, error messages, and onboarding screens. These are the things that should be kept on high priority. Then navigate to the marketing materials such as the app store description and website copy. 

  • Provide Your Translators with Context and Needed Materials

Think of your translators as a crucial part of your team. They are not just service providers. It is your responsibility to provide them with every detail and tool they need to deliver exceptional results. Provide clear guidelines for glossaries, style, brand voice, and terminology. Give access to the app’s functionality and UI to let them develop a better understanding of its functions. In a nutshell, the more clear information you provide to them, the more accurate and culturally relevant the translation will be. 

  • Testing and Iteration

Although localization is the process of adapting your app to the target audience, you can’t still take a risk relying on the theory. After the completion of the localization process, recruit native speakers from the target market to test the app with a few questions in mind. Does the app feel natural? Does the translated text convey the intended meaning? Does the text fit properly within the UI elements? If you find any shortcomings, be prepared to iterate and make adjustments based on the feedback. This way, you can ensure a truly optimized user experience for your target audiences. 

  • Emphasize UX Translation 

Localization isn’t about translating words only. It’s about translating the whole user experience. Adapting time and date formats to match local conventions improves user experience. Localizing pricing and measurements in the local format of a specified region, and adjusting images and icons that resonate with the target culture create an app that feels familiar and user-friendly for your global audience. 

  • Don’t Forget Right-to-Left Languages 

In the previous sections, this seemed daunting but with the right strategy, it can be done easily. Right-to-left languages usually follow a different structure and layout than LTR languages. This requires you to redesign the UI layout to mirror how speakers of these languages read and navigate information. The procedure might include adjusting button placement, flipping the layout, and ensuring text flow correctly. 

By following these localization strategies, you can ensure the global success of your app. Remember, the goal is to create an app that resonates with the target audience’s language and culture, not just develop it.

Choosing the Right Localization Partner!

Well, creating a user-centric and culturally relevant app requires you to choose your localization partner wisely. Look for companies with a proven track record, and experience in your app category, and provide accurate and precise mobile app translation services. CCJK is a localization company that fits your needs and fulfills your requirements at its best. The company has been around for more than two decades handling complex translation projects with expertise and providing exceptional results. 

In conclusion, if you are looking for a bulletproof mobile app localization in 2024, this guide has everything you need to know. Make sure not to leave any strings loose because a minor mistake can lead to bigger issues. Corporate with the localization team by providing them with everything they need to resonate your app with your audience’s linguistic and cultural preferences. Good luck!