App localization: Beginner’s Guide & Best Practices

App localization - Beginner's Guide & Best Practices

What is App Localization?

Launching your app globally presents a huge opportunity to access new users and markets. But without proper localization, you risk alienating international audiences with unfamiliar languages and cultural references.

This beginner’s guide to app localization covers everything you need to successfully adapt your app for global success while avoiding common mistakes.

Why App Localization Matters

The first step is recognizing why localization should be a priority:

Boost App Store Performance
Properly localizing your descriptions and screenshots can uplift your app store performance in key markets by 30-50%. The localized content resonates better with users.

Increase Conversions & Engagement
Users are much more likely to download and regularly use an app that speaks their own language and aligns with local preferences. This directly translates to better conversions.

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Improve Ratings & Reviews
Reviews directly impact app store algorithms. An app with a 4+ star rating in the local language is proven to get ranked higher and receive up to 5x more downloads than poorly localized apps.

Better User Experience & Retention
Users will simply delete apps that are confusing, oddly translated or contain unfamiliar cultural references. Localization ensures maximum enjoyment and retention.

Prioritizing Languages & Markets

With good localization able to provide such a big boost, what languages and markets should you focus on first?

While success varies on a per-app basis, research shows the following languages typically provide the highest returns from localization efforts:

  1. Spanish
  2. Chinese
  3. Japanese
  4. German
  5. French
  6. Italian
  7. Portuguese
  8. Russian
  9. Arabic

Try to localize for at least the top 3-4 languages for your niche to see meaningful results.

Streamlining Processes with Localization Tools

Localization is complex. Here are some tools to streamline your workflows:

Translation Management Systems (TMS)
A dedicated TMS allows you to automatically route app content for translation, review, editing and delivery in one centralized platform. This keeps every language organized.

Localization Plugin for Code
Tools like LocPlus plugin for Android Studio allow developers to tag application code text for easy retrieval and translation without needing to dig through code manually.

This technique simulates what your app would look like translated in another language, allowing you to catch expansion text issues early and optimize UI space.

Best Practices for Ongoing Localization

Don’t treat localization as a one-time effort. Here are some recommended ongoing practices:

Continuously Localize New Content
Make localization part of your release management so new features/content additions also get translated in sync with every release.

Monitor Reviews & Feedback Closely
Keep an eye on foreign app store reviews and mentions for feedback unique to particular countries. This allows you to quickly address market-specific concerns.

Test with Native Speakers
Have native speakers across your top languages test localized versions before launch to catch subtle errors and validate the cultural appropriateness of images/icons used.

Localization is complex but pays dividends when done right! Hopefully this beginner’s guide gives you a good foundation to successfully localize your app for global audiences. Let me know if you have any other questions!



About Author

Carla is a prolific tech and business blogger who has been actively writing online since 2015. Eager to leave the corporate world, Carla began her popular blog "Beast Hunger". With tech rapidly transforming every industry, Carla is dedicated through her writing and consulting to helping companies of all sizes prepare for the future.

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