Tailoring your app’s interface to meet varying cultural and language expectations is a must. Users want to feel that the apps they download are created natively for them, and having obviously incorrect terminology or culturally insensitive content is a huge turn-off.
You might be thinking, “I’ll just use Google Translate!”
When you input the word “download” into Google Translate to create your call-to-action button, you will get some interesting — and questionable — results. In German, “downloaden,” in Spanish, “Descargar,” and our all-time favorite: “LIKE LIKE LIKE” in native Hawaiian.
This is just one example of the complications that can arise when localizing apps for different areas of the globe. In this piece, we’ll examine why app localization is essential for expanding into new markets.
Don't make translation mistakes when using mobile translators for app localization
What is App Localization?
App localization is the process of changing and refining an app in order to appeal to a geographically specific target market. You want to make sure that your app is as appealing and easy to use outside your headquarters’ country as it is within.
Though translating the language of your app is a huge part of this, there are also cultural rules and preferences that are more difficult to pin down. Certain symbols or gestures may be innocuous in the U.S., but could actually be very offensive in another country. Regardless, these Colombia Phone Numbers List can be huge factors in the success of your app abroad.
Why is App Localization Important?
App localization enables your app to fit the needs of users who speak other languages so that everything from units of measurement to currencies and idiomatic expressions are optimized for them.
By ensuring that your app is appealing to users in a wide variety of locations around the world, you create a tremendous opportunity for growth that you never could have achieved within just one country.
benefits of app localization to gain market share and global expansion
Localization Tips for Mobile Apps
As mentioned above, the correct translation of the app’s narrative is the most important step in the localization process. You don’t want users in another country laughing at a “LIKE LIKE LIKE” button instead of a “download” button.
Successful app localization entails changing a number of aspects of the app, including:
Translating the language correctly
Changing the default currency if applicable
Making sure the time and date are correct for that location
Taking into account any difference in legal matters
Assigning the correct language keyboard
In addition, other cultural preferences should be taken into consideration. Icons and images that are perfectly acceptable in the U.S. could be offensive or distasteful to users in other areas of the world.
App localization also opens up additional language options for app store optimization. You will need to conduct keyword research in the new language and come up with optimized titles and descriptions in order to entice users in that location.
Again, this is not always as simple as popping your English description into Google Translate. For example, the program often comes up with the formal word or phrase, such as “automobile” in English, whereas the more common phrase and keyword would actually be “car.”
app localization examples of local phrases and translations
Lost in Localization
Differences in language and cultural norms can be tricky to navigate. There are countless examples of U.S.-based brands failing to localize properly, often with hilarious results.
One example from a couple of years ago came from the Pepsi slogan, “Come alive with Pepsi Generation.” When marketing the product in China, the new slogan was directly translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave.” Many Chinese soda drinkers got a kick out of that one!01
Localization mishaps are not always due to language. Certain symbols and even hand gestures can be considered rude or downright offensive, depending on where you are. For example, the “rock on” hand gesture in the U.S. is actually used to mock husbands of unfaithful wives in Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. Not an image you want to pop up on your app screen in those countries!02
Make sure you do your research beforehand to avoid mishaps like this. While sometimes they end up making consumers laugh, it’s not a risk worth taking.
emojis to avoid in other countries with different, more offensive meanings
App Localization Testing
The best way to make sure that your app is ready to launch in a new location is to get people from that country involved in your project. Ideally, these people are bilingual and can aid in translation along with identifying any culturally inappropriate images.