Mobile app localization is essential if you want to conquer foreign markets. This is true for both iOS and Android operating systems. Read more to see why and how to do it.
Why Mobile App Localization? I love this expression I found online the other day – “the world is getting smaller and smaller every day.” It made me stop and think for moment, before searching for scientific evidence to support the fact that our world may be physically contracting.
If that statement alarmed you as much as me, then don’t worry — it isn’t. What the author was trying to convey is the fact that major advances in communications are bringing people closer. The internet is changing the way we think, work and relate to each other; and it turns out that people are more similar than we thought.
Manufacturing giants like Ford, Pepsi, and Walmart have been running a global racket for years. Tailoring their recipe or product to meet the different needs and requirements of local markets. But even if our consumption habits are beginning to merge, nothing has brought people so close together as the internet.
The Global Marketplace
The world is a more transparent place to live in. We can see what’s going on in other countries in real-time. We no longer have to wait for the news to project a distorted version of reality. When there’s a live local on the ground with a cell phone camera and an internet connection. Social media sites have shone a light on previously dark corners of the world, highlighting consumer preferences, activity, and behavior.
What that means for you and your mobile app is that there’s a greater market than ever before. Consumers are literally eating up mobile apps of all kinds. From organizing their finances to their social lives, there’s now an app for just about everything you can think of. So, if you’ve got a successful app on your hands in your home country, the chances are with the right mobile app localization, it will be just as popular around the world.
Just look at the desperation for Nintendo’s Pokémon Go game app. Upon its launch in July of this year, the app was downloaded more than 7 million times in a week in the US alone, for Android and iOS. Of course, Nintendo has a few things going for them that your company may not have yet, such as a recognized international brand name and a previously popular product. But they still had to learn a thing or two when it came to mobile app localization. Namely, how you roll it out.
Pokémon Go was first launched in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, with a plan to roll out to other countries afterward. A clever way to build up hype and suspense in countries where the app wasn’t available. A pretty neat idea if it wasn’t for the fact that by not offering their app in certain geographic regions, they spurned a bunch of copycat products and illegal downloading.
Important markets, such as the UK, began to download “Go Catch ‘Em All,” on iOS. In the Philippines, opportunistic hackers were able to bypass regional locks and download the game straight to their phones. Nintendo also intensely irritated the Japanese people, who were enraged at waiting for an app initially in their own language to launch in other countries first.
What’s clear when it comes to mobile app localization then, is that there are many factors to consider. From language translation and image localization, to user experience, internationalization, and your roll-out strategy; you’ll need to pay a lot of attention at every stage.
Just in case you haven’t caught on to why you need to localize your mobile app, let me spell it out for you. Localizing your app for Android and iOS worldwide will give you:
Access To A Global Market
Think most of the world’s app users are based in the States? Think again. More than half of the world’s mobile subscribers are located in Asia/Pacific. If you launch your app in one language only, your visibility will be greatly reduced in foreign markets.
The number of mobile phone subscribers globally is set to reach 4.77 billion by 2017. That’s a pretty big potential market for your app.
A Worldwide Hit
90% of activity on mobile devices occurs in apps these days, (rather than browsers.) But the majority of apps are downloaded and deleted in minutes. Optimum localization of your app has never been so important.
According to a recent study by Distomo, companies who localized their apps for iOS saw significantly more downloads – 128% more in fact.
I could go on, but you pretty much get the point. Mobile app localization is essential if you want to conquer foreign markets. This is true for both iOS and Android operating systems.
What’s The Catch?
There’s always a catch, right? If you want to join the international party, you’ll need to do more than make your app available in multiple regions. This is where the fun part starts. You’ll need to get your texts translated and localized, the design optimized and research the expressions, nuances, and habits of different audiences.
Mobile app localization is not as simple as translating your app into Spanish or French for the Spanish or French speaking markets – which span multiple countries across different hemispheres with contrasting climates, cultures, and beliefs. Localizing your mobile app goes way deeper than that.
A great app is all about user experience and the value it brings to your customers. You want your game, shopping, or pregnancy app to provide valuable information. You want to deliver a user experience that will make customers recommend your app to their friends. You need to recreate the experience that you deliver your customers at home and what made your app so popular in the first place.
Keep your eye out for Part II so you can see how to localize your mobile app!