There’s an App for That (Language)

“There’s an app for that.” 

The slogan that took the world by storm (thanks to the iPhone) is taking on new meaning now that apps are emerging as a new frontier for localization. And with good reason: All kinds of lifestyle apps are finding global audiences via smartphones.
Calm, the popular relaxation app, offers five languages in its settings mode (English, French, Spanish, German, and Korean). Asana Rebel, a yoga app, offers six language options (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese). The fact is, an app that’s only available in English will have limited international appeal. This is especially true in Asia, where users are more likely to gravitate toward apps in their native language.

Developers are finding that increasing the number of languages they support pays off by opening up global markets, increasing downloads, and maximizing return on investment. According to research by the analytics firm Distomo, apps experience an average of 128% increase in downloads shortly after the company adds localization—and a 26% increase in revenue for each country added.

The length of time it takes to see results? Just one week after expanding to another language!

Localization isn’t just translation. Making an app reflect multiple languages means considering other elements like sound, images (and how the translated text appears and fits around images and graphics), and display formats of numbers, date, and time. With multi-language localization, even text-to-speech functionality is localized to the user’s native language. The idea is that end users who run an app in an additional language—without changing the language setting for the device’s operating system—will find the whole experience oriented toward the new language.

App internationalization at a glance:

  • If you’re going to localize, developers say it’s critical that users see multiple language options the moment they open your application. That means an easy-to-find navigation option to change languages on the home page, personal profile, or settings.
  • Remember that a single language can be used in different parts of the world—and if location is relevant to your app, it should adapt to the regional and cultural conventions where your user lives.
  • Localization that reflects an understanding of regional customs and trends will increase the likelihood that an app is well received. Incorporate culture-specific content and regional seasons or holidays. Consider providing local social sharing options so that users can create a community within their app experience.
  • Even just translating the app store description into multiple languages can improve positioning in store rankings. Unlike web search results, app store postings are reviewed by real sentient humans, and high-quality writing and translation are very influential. Adding cultural nuances along with translation will further increase the chances that your listing will reach your target audience.

CMI is in the business of making your content perform in any market. We have over 50 years of expertise and can help expand your global reach through subtitles, dubbing, captioning and voice-overs.  


Contact us today!