Do’s and Don’ts of App Localization

We’ve never heard so much about app localization. Platforms enabling companies and independent developers to translate their apps are flourishing on the Web. In the meantime, hundreds of apps in the App Store and on Google Play are still available only in English, or worse, feature awful translations that sound like robots. So there’s no denying that the localization of apps for different markets has a lot of potential. For all the developers out there who are dying to take their app global, the team at Localize This has prepared this little guide on do’s and don’ts to consider when thinking about localizing an app.


Hopefully, these pieces of advice will help you do it right the first time!



– It might sound silly but make sure the final text of the app has been validated/approved before sending it out for translation. Too often we see translations coming back with only minor edits, which can delay the publishing process.


– Provide the translation team with screenshots of the app (especially for paid features) or a test account. We won’t say it enough, seeing the text in context can make or break a translation! The more info you provide beforehand, the less the team will need to contact you for details!


– Be ready to reply to translator’s questions, even if that’s in one weekly session.


– If there is any text that is space-limited, provide the maximum number of characters allowed. When translators have all the constraints before the start, you save time and back-and-forth communication.


– Translate the app description in the App Store/Google Play: nothing like an appealing description to entice users to download your app!


– Let the translators test the final version of the translated app before releasing it. That way you can be sure everything is good to go and you still have time to fix any glitches or typos before sending your app to your international users.



– Don’t cut sentences or single-out words in an effort to reuse some translations or to use placeholder values. So many translations go wrong with a misuse of placeholders and divided sentences. Only dates, numbers, maybe brand names can be set as placeholders. The money you think you save now will have to be spent later on editing and fixing translations.


– Don’t forget to specify the variant of the language you wish to localize your app into. Canadian French is very different from European French (there are also some considerable differences between French from France and French from Belgium you might want to take into account based on the content of your app). Some very basic words also vary from one Spanish-speaking country to the other (did you know that strawberries are “fresas” in Spain and “frutillas” in Argentina?). So it’s crucial to make sure that your users will understand the copy of your app without getting lost in translation.


– Don’t overlook languages that read from right to left. Make sure your UI will be as intuitive with languages such as Arabic and Hebrew as with other languages.


-Don’t forget that all languages have their own grammar and structure, which could influence the text of your app! For example, nouns, articles, and adjectives have a gender in Brazilian, Portuguese, French, and Russian. So the text of the app will be different for male and female users.



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