Localization is a process that seems simple. Surely you just type in your original content in Google Translate and you get a perfect rendition of the text in another language in a matter of seconds, right? Well, not exactly. Without going into details about the horrors that machine translation can produce (you’ve probably seen some of them on social media anyway), we will say this: your app was thoughtfully developed by a person (you) and the same should apply to its localization. But how do you decide who to hire to take care of this important step for your app growth? Which factors should you take into account? We at Localize This have a few tips to share with you!
1. Always choose native speakers
We can’t emphasize this enough. Google Translate or someone bilingual will only get you so far. Being a translator is no improvisation: the professional you choose must have the right qualifications or demonstrate relevant experience in the specific fields your app covers. Say you have a star-gazing app – you’ll definitely want to hire someone who has extensive knowledge of astronomy, at least as much as your potential users!
Only a native speaker can fully be aware of linguistic nuances. Because they’re an expert on their language and their culture, native speakers will be able to help you pinpoint what works and what doesn’t in the target country and how the content of the app should be adapted in order to resonate with your target audience.
2. Expertise matters
Because apps are very specific, it is crucial that your localizer knows about software like Xamarin, the difference between iOS and Android, and any programming language you might use to develop your app. You wouldn’t want them to mess around with your precious code. Everything in your app has to be carefully localized to have the highest impact on your user’s behavior, from the buttons to the forms and the onboarding process.
It’s also essential that you choose professionals who will be able to localize the content of your app as well as optimize your app description in the target language of your choice in a way that’s compliant with the latest ASO and SEO recommendations.
3. Work with a team
If you decide to go global, you might want to have your app localized into several languages at once. Choosing a team of localizers over individual freelancers will ensure the streamlining and the centralization of terminology queries and a consistent delivery of your localized app, which equals to shorter turnaround time and fewer back-and-forth emails.
For example, at Localize This, we have a process in place:
1. Once the project is confirmed and the specifics have been settled (languages, services, format, etc.), we give a detailed brief to the concerned members of our team. This usually consists of introducing the app to them, giving them details about the developer and the reason of the localization in the chosen markets and sharing with them specific requests from the developer (if a given section should be completely rewritten for a certain market, for example).
2. Let’s say you need your app localized into Spanish and into Chinese. As Chinese team member 1 works on localizing the app, they probably will have queries about preferred terms, the context of the strings, etc. We will make those queries available to you in a central file so that both the Chinese team and the Spanish team can refer to it and avoid asking the same questions, or worse, provide different solutions to one and the same problem.
3. Once the content is fully localized, the files are sent to Team member 2, aka the proofreader. They will compare the original content with the translation provided by Team member 1 in order to ensure that there are no omissions, no mistranslations and that the style is adapted to the app and the target users. As soon as everything is A-ok, you will receive your localized files.
4. When you have uploaded the localized versions of your app, the team member who did the translation will give it one final crucial look. That’s what we call the in-context linguistic checking. In other words, they will fully test the app in their language and will highlight any anomaly and provide solutions to you. Your localized app is now ready to conquer the hearts of new users!
4. Make sure your partner is there for you
Localization is rarely a one-time process. Whether you decide to publish a new press release about your app, to post updates on the App Store or to add push notifications to your app, these changes need to be reflected in every language. That’s why collaborating with a partner who offers continuous localization services and who will make sure to keep some availability for you is key.