With phones taking over our lives, every part of the globe has become connected, and the world is now such a tiny ball where human connection is much simpler than in old age. Still, even with this evolution, each region and country kept its identity in terms of culture and language. The operation platform has also evolved significantly. For example, nowadays, Google Play is multilingual as it serves every corner of our planet with tons of apps that satisfy users’ needs, which is an excellent development opportunity. You can target all the regions and go for all the markets. But it is better to do it wisely and leisurely because having an app in English does not mean it can be used everywhere, as many internet users prefer to surf the internet and use apps in their mother tongue.
Many startups make a common mistake. They consider translating their apps instead of localizing them. Unfortunately, in most cases, those projects fail in new markets due to the audience’s misunderstanding of the product. More than translation is required when it comes to targeting a market. Indeed, it is an obligation to localize it to fit the cultural identity and the customer behavior of the targeted market’s clients. Eventually, it saves much more than you spend! That is why a big company or more experienced companies choose one of the app localization services.
In this article, you will learn about the main android localization peculiarities, so if you are interested, stay tuned!
1. Study the Android Developer localization guide
When you develop the app, Android loads the best match resource automatically. These may include texts, images, sounds, and other statistical data. The same system works for the locale of the device. And if there are no locale-specific resources, the default one will be used in such cases. The Android developers advise moving all strings into strings.xml and not hard-coding them. It will make the process of localization easier.
Moreover, if you have parts, phrases, or words that should not be translated, you may also do that with the help of a <xliff:g> tag. But try not to create more strings than you need. It will just have the reverse effect and degrade the user’s experience. And, of course, it is never a bad idea to double-check if everything works correctly and all the processes look exactly like you imagined.
2. Choose the markets
First, you must analyze the target audience and the new markets you will enter. This will increase your knowledge of your clients, so shaping your app to fit their requirements will be a win, giving direction to the whole project. All other decisions will be made based on this. It would be best if you choose what markets you need and what languages you will have to use there. There are cases when it is not obligatory to translate the app as people prefer the English version and translate just game sections and some text parts, or in some countries, people stay with the essential localization, for example, when they need to translate information for the Play Market, the description of an app, keywords, and screenshots. To save some money, start with different levels of localization and select the one that will be more appropriate for the product.
3. Start testing
When you pick the languages and target markets, Start by identifying what needs to be localized (images, audio files, time, numbers, dates, currency, etc.). Remember to think over the design itself. As you know, the length and height of words in different languages differ. For example, compare English with mostly short words, German or Russian, where words are almost twice longer, or Chinese with high hieroglyphs. In that case, you will see that the design needs to be corrected because of the length of the different words. Taking this into consideration will reduce your failures and mistakes. Try to develop a flexible layout from the beginning. Develop the glossary. You may include specific words, names, and phrases that you want to preserve or to be translated in a particular way. It is essential if you take more markets in the future, so the translation will be consistent even if you change the localization team. In short, details are crucial, study your audience, pick exactly what to translate and be specific on what must be translated, and keep testing till you accurately shape the app to fit your clients.
4. Make conclusions and decide what’s next
Now it’s time to estimate the results. Choose the most valuable criteria for your business, check if the localization meets your expectations, and decide what to do next. Here you may see if all the markets were booming, and if you want to emphasize some of them or pause any, based on the information you have collected and your studies, you might make the correct decisions. Moreover, you will have to consider if you need a complete localization if you haven’t had it since the beginning because it may help raise the app’s retention rate. It means that the audience will keep using your product over and over again.
After reading the essential steps in the localization of an Android app, you noticed that it is crucial to think about it even before you start developing. You need to consider small details from the first code letter because it will take a lot of time to change something later. Hence, the best thing to do is to consider localization while developing your app, but if you already have an app studying and testing the markets is an important step, and shaping the app to tolerate the use of many languages is the first thing to start with. You have to choose the market you want to target to understand the best way to approach the users and make the app appear more local by shaping it to fit their cultural background. After that, you must test everything to know what needs to be translated and what can be left without. In the end, you will make the big decisions on what to do next as you have a good knowledge of what must be done.