Making An App? Three Localisation Tips For Taking It International

The global market has seen a huge increase in the number of smartphone users, and with this comes an increase in the number of apps being downloaded and used on a daily basis.

The Apple App store holds almost 2 million apps, while Google Play has over 2.2 million, and these numbers are only expected to increase. Mobile gaming has also grown 19 percent year on year to $46.1 billion dollars, or 42 per cent of the market. And in 2020, mobile gaming is expected to represent just over half of the total games market. With statistics like this, it only makes sense for businesses to capitalise by localising their apps.

But to break through to an international audience, you need to consider the differences in what people around the world are expecting to see in a good quality app. Simply translating the language isn’t enough to localise.

Think about what the local audience wants to see

Users across the globe speak different dialects, which should be taken into account when translating the language for your app. For example, the French spoken in Canada is different to European French, with differences in accents and intonations.

Certain certified translation companies can help you identify and target different dialects with localisation services specifically for games and apps, giving you the most localised version of your app possible. Translation agency Global Voices make the case for app localisation, referencing the £41 billion generated through the interactive entertainment industry per year and how half of the revenue derives from localised games and apps.

You should be prepared to potentially change the layout of the app, depending on the language and translation. Different characters may take up different amounts of space once your text has been translated, so you may need to adjust the overall layout to accommodate for this.

Your users are likely to be downloading your app on various devices, which can affect the overall design, depending on the different screen sizes. It’s worth localising everything in your app, including the app store description, to make sure your users have the smoothest, and most satisfying experience.

Consider the local culture, news and laws of your new audience

Knowing the local culture will be a massive help when it comes to localising your app, as new users will appreciate having information targeted especially to them. Each section should be relevant to what your local audience wants to see to ensure they continue using the app after downloading.

For example, when Uber was trying to take on China, it targeted Chengdu and the huge Giant Panda conservation centre, and created Panda-themed meeting points which was a huge success. In the first nine months of Uber China in Chengdu, there were 479 times as many Uber journey’s than in the first nine months in New York.

It’s also important to note any laws that could restrict your business in new countries and areas, and take this into account when localising your app. Netflix, for example, offers its streaming service in over 190 countries, and changes the imagery for each show according to what the localised audience wants to see. However, due to various licensing laws around the globe, the content available in each country varies and changes over time. Our local experts will be able to advise on any legal requirements you may need to be made aware of when localising your app.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on local news around the world, to ensure you remain sensitive to any breaking news stories. For example, Facebook offered users the chance to mark themselves as ‘safe’ following the Westminster and London Bridge attacks in London, depending on their location at the time.

Optimise your app to increase search ranking

Much like a website needs to be optimised, your app should also feature keywords that your potential customers will use to find you in the app store. As previously mentioned, there are millions of apps already in the market that you will be competing against to get to the coveted top position on the app store. It makes sense that you will need to optimise meta tags and descriptions, as well as the information in the app store.

Keywords for your app can vary between locations, so taking the time to research while localising your app will only benefit your business in the long run.