What is App Localization?

March 2, 2022

Designing your app’s interface to match varying cultural and language standards is extremely critical. Users always expect that the apps they download are tailored natively for them, and having wrong terminology or culturally insensitive content is a huge turn-off.

Many complications arise when localizing apps for different areas across countries. In this article, we’ll examine why app localization is crucial when stepping into new markets.

What is App Localization?

App localization is the process of modifying and refining an app to appeal to a geographically specific target market. 

Although translating the language of your app is a big part of this, some cultural rules and preferences are more difficult to pin down. Certain symbols or gestures may be harmless in the U.S., but could actually cause miscommunication in another country. Nevertheless, these can be numerous elements in the success of your app globally.

Why is App Localization Important?

App localization allows your app to meet the needs of users who don’t speak your languages so you need to customize units of measurement to currencies and idiomatic expressions.

By ensuring that your app engages the audience around the globe, you create a tremendous opportunity for growth that you never could have achieved within just one country.

Localization Tips for Mobile Apps

The accurate translation of the app’s narrative is the most essential step in the localization process. 

A successful app localization requires changing several 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

Besides, you also should take into consideration cultural preferences. Icons and images that are perfectly appropriate in the U.S. could be offensive or unacceptable to users in other countries.

App localization also opens up additional language options for app store optimization. You will need to research keywords in the new language and come up with optimized titles and descriptions to attract users in that location.

Lost in Localization

Differences in language and cultural norms can be difficult to identify. 

Localization issues are not always due to language. Depending on where you are, certain symbols and gestures can be considered rude or offensive. For example, the “rock on” hand gesture in the U.S. is actually implied to mock husbands of unfaithful wives in Italy, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia. 

Make sure that you do conduct thorough research to avoid mishaps like this. While sometimes they end up making consumers laugh, it’s not worth taking this risk.

App Localization Testing

Launching your app in a new location is the best way to grab the attention of people from a specific country in your project. Ideally, these people are bilingual and can help translate and identify any culturally unsuitable images.

There are many companies that specialize in both app translation and localization testing, so collaborating with these types of organizations could be a better option than recruiting individuals depending on the scope of your project.

This enabled them to get in-depth insights into what local users valued in their English-based product and to successfully localize the app before launching.

Internationalization vs. Localization

Although the two terms are often used similarly, there are some differences between app internationalization and localization.

Internationalization refers to the technical structure of the app and whether it could translate to different languages and be used in other countries. You should take into account when the app is first created, as it can be difficult to change post-launch.

Localizing an app is about refining the details (such as language, date and time, currency, and other factors discussed above) while internationalizing an app gives it the necessary framework to later localize, should the opportunity present itself.

Localization Growth Strategy

If you see high download numbers of your English language app in non-English-speaking countries, that’s a really good indicator that a localized version of the app would be even more successful.

Have an Ear Close to the Ground

Keeping an ear to the ground is a smart strategy for determining potential new markets. Regularly patrol online forums and tech recommendation sites to see if users from other countries are talking about your product.

Don’t Forget About Local Interests

You should also think about where you can potentially expand your product based on local interests. For example, if you’ve created an app inclined to news about soccer, chances are it would be of interest to users in countries where soccer is a cultural foundation, such as Brazil or Argentina.

Test, Test, Test

Once you’ve decided on the market, it’s crucial to test strategies to make sure that you localize your app successfully. Get people who understand the language and the culture involved to see what would be most important to them.


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