How to Localize Your App to Get More Users
Guest post by Olivier Verdin (AppTweak).
The Apple App Store is now present in more than 150 countries and in 40 languages. Developers should benefit from this global audience and prepare their app to reach new users.
Apple presents a few customer cases of companies who developed a successful internationalization of their app. Among them, Eurosport has localized their app in many languages.
“In only two years, Eurosport.com’s apps for iPhone and iPad have been downloaded over 4.7 million times. This success is partly thanks to their content and interface being available in 10 languages versions, for this allows our apps to transcend national boundaries and to engage a truly global sports fanbase.” said Arnaud Maillard, Eurosport’s New Media Director.
To localize your app, you need to adapt it to a country and its language.
To do this includes the translation of your narrative, using the correct date and time formats, and providing the correct keyboard (Apple provides 50 international keyboards).
To make these adaptations, you can request the help of specialized companies. Apple provides a list of third-party localization vendors. Among them, we identified our five favorites:
Babble-on – https://www.ibabbleon.com/localize-my-app.html
Babble-on is based in San Francisco. They are specialized in localizing mobile apps for Apple App Store and Google Play. The pricing is 0.21 USD per word. They also propose copywriting for the app description and press release.
ICanLocalize – http://www.icanlocalize.com
ICanLocalize specializes in translation for websites, iPhone and Android apps. The pricing is 0.09 USD per word.
LocalEyes – http://www.localeyes.com
“LocalEyes make your product local, so you can go global”. This company does not provide prior pricing but you can request a free quote.
LocTeam – http://www.locteam.net
LocTeam is a specialist in Mac & iOS localization since 1990. They propose localization for both Mac software and iOS apps.
OneSky – https://www.oneskyapp.com
OneSky provides an interesting tool to audit the localization of your app: https://www.oneskyapp.com/appgrader in exchange of your email. The pricing is 0.10 USD per word.
Time and measurement units
In iOS 8, Apple provides an improved API to manage localization. For instance, they added the possibility to display an amount of time in different languages.
This API also provides the ability to manage energy, length, and mass for multiple languages:
You can watch a detailed explanation of new localization features available in iOS 8 presented at the WWDC 14 here.
App Store Optimization
Adapting your app to a new language and culture is only the first part of internationalization.
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a must if you want to reach new users in foreign countries.
You should first adapt your title and description. Then, pick out the best keywords in the new language to increase your visibility. Video trailer and screenshots may also require updating their texting.
Title and Description
The description is the easiest part since a simple translation of your current description may be satisfactory. Nevertheless, we suggest that you give some freedom to your translator to adapt your description in a new language.
You should take special care when choosing a title. It is a good practice to add a few important keywords in your title. You should do the same for your title in a new language.
Therefore, it is very important to select the best keywords and to add the most important ones in your title.
A good keyword is a word with a high volume and low competition.
The volume refers to the number of searches on a particular keyword.
The competition refers to the number of apps that match this keyword. Getting the right volume is a difficult task.
Apple does not provide any official data on the volume of searches. Therefore, ASO tools can only provide an estimation of the volume. AppTweak for instance, has developed its own algorithm to get the most accurate volume estimation.
It is also very important to understand that the volume of a keyword depends on the country and language. For instance, let’s take the word “election” as used during US election. It will have a high volume in the US but a very low volume in France.
Auto-translation may lead you to awkward keywords. Also, your don’t have any clue about the volume and competition of your translated keyword.
A perfect keyword in a language can be automatically translated into a very poor keyword in another language. For example, the word “car” will be automatically translated in “voiture” in French.
But the keyword “voiture” has a very low volume. French-speaking users will search for “auto” which is the familiar and shorter way to say “voiture” or “automobile”.
This is a very simple example where the automatic translation will provide a poor keyword.
Automatic translation may lead to totally useless and meaningless keywords. Do you really want these keywords for your app?
In conclusion, using robots or Google Translation is the easy, lazy way to localize your keywords. It is definitely better than doing nothing, but we would advise everyone to use native keywords when they are available. At AppTweak we provide native keywords in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and German.
AppTweak allows you to get the volume and competition for each foreign keyword. You can also know which keywords your app and your competitors rank in the top 50 apps. More languages including Italian and Portuguese will be added during the coming months.
It is also important that native dictionaries are dynamic. The App Store is evolving quickly and is constantly subject to new ranking trends.
It is therefore critical to move along with theses changes and to follow the flow.
Video & Screenshots
App Previews are now available on Apple App Sore since iOS8.
Be careful that only one localization is accepted for an App Preview.
For more information about producing App Previews, check out this post.
Also, the two first screenshots are shown in the list of results on a keyword search. You should, therefore, try to be explicit with those screenshots. You may add a few outlines to describe your app. If you do so, don’t forget to also translate your texting in the screenshots in each language.
Internationalization is not an easy task. However, ‘No pain no gain.’
You may experience an important increase in your downloads if you do your internationalization properly.
Adapting your app to a new language is the easy part and specialized companies can help you.
This is only the first step though. You should also adapt your App Store Optimization (ASO) for each targeted language. We advise developers to avoid auto-translation of their keywords, even if this is easy to do. We are convinced that using native dictionaries will provide much better keywords for your targeted language.
What is your experience with internationalization? What was your experience with localization companies? How did you find the best keywords in foreign languages? We invite you to share your experience.
About the author:
Olivier Verdin is the co-Founder of AppTweak.com. AppTweak provides an instant ASO report for Apple App Store and Google Play apps.
You can get your free ASO report at http://www.apptweak.com.
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