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Top languages to localize your iPhone app and get revenue

localize-your-iphone-appIn a world where the use of iPhones is rising exponentially, there is a huge opportunity to make a name for yourself and earn tons of revenue by making your iPhone app multilingual.

Nowadays, we hardly see any English-only iPhone apps; this is mainly because everyone wants to have a top-selling app and the most! ABI (Allied Business Intelligence) Research has predicted that mobile app revenue will reach $46 billion by 2016, up from approximately $8.5 billion in 2011. Hence, mobile developers must take advantage of this boom and dive into app localization.

It is a fact that app markets are becoming incredibly competitive, and we know that nothing can stop you from developing and selling an app that is similar or better than what is already out there, however, you can always increment your app’s success by making it available in the most app-profitable countries and growing markets.

In order to determine the best languages to translate your app into, you must know where in the world are the users who use iPhones the most and what language they speak. Although English-speaking countries (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada) are still the front-runners in terms of downloads and revenue, there are three new countries that have emerged: China, Japan, and Korea.

Asian countries play a significant role when it comes to app localization. In 2014, China was ranked second in the gaming market in terms of revenue generated in the App Store worldwide. The revenue growth of the Apple App Store was driven largely by China and the United States.

After the Asian countries, the next major countries on the list are Western European countries. Germany is leading the European market in terms of revenue generated from mobile apps and games, followed by France and Italy. According to AppLift and Newzoo,  the estimated revenue from mobile games in Western Europe reached $3.2 billion at the end of the year 2014; which makes Western Europe the third largest market in the world in terms of revenue from mobile games, after North America and Asia Pacific.

In summary, the top languages to translate your iPhone app are listed as follows:

  1. English
  2. Chinese
  3. Japanese
  4. Korean
  5. German
  6. French
  7. Italian
  8. Spanish
  9. Brazilian Portuguese
  10. Malay

Don’t be surprised by Malay at the #10 position! 🙂 In 2014, Newzoo stated in its Global Games Market Report that the following six countries generated 97% of game revenue in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam. Therefore, Malay becomes our #10 language for iPhone app localization since as it’s the most widely spoken language in this region.

ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best native professional translators, and offers translations in more than 45 languages. We are experts at mobile-app localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our amazing rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). You are welcome to contact us at hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

Quality assurance for software, games, and apps

We know that deciding to localize an app is a huge step into the global market, not only because of the many new users you are going to reach, but also because with every new update, new translations will come. This means that your app will be forever bound to be localized, and its success will probably depend on the quality of its localization.

Users are becoming increasingly attached to apps, and along with this, they are becoming more demanding from them. They can easily notice when an app is flawed or defective; they can even tell when translations are not quite precise. Of course! They are reading their own native language, and it suddenly reads rather… odd.

This does not mean that the translations are wrong (although sometimes, they actually are); it only means that they are not exact; they might be out of context, or they simply do not fit the user interface. You must never forget that you are working with professional human translators (we will assume that you’re not using machine translation!), and all these small imperfections can be polished and improved. Let’s illustrate this with some examples.

Example 1:

Fig. 1 Length issue
Fig. 1 Length issue

In Figure 1, the Spanish translation “Flujo del ciclo menstrual” is too long for the user interface and it overlaps the text next to it. It certainly looks disturbing and confusing.

Example 2:

Fig. 2 Context issue
Fig. 2 Context issue

In Figure 2, we see two issues. On one hand, the original English word was “Drawing,” which can be translated in Spanish as “dibujar” or“dibujando,” but in this case, the translator chose a more technical word “trazando,”because of the topic of this app. The root of the chosen word is completely correct; however, the correct form to use is “Trazado.” The translator could not have noticed and fixed this error without an appropriate quality assurance (QA) check.

On the other hand, the title of the above screenshot is translated as “Muestra de plan de piso,” which is not entirely correct according to the context. The correct translation would be “Muestra del plano.”

Example 3:

Fig.3 Typo issue
Fig.3 Typo issue


Fig. 3.1 Typo issue fixed
Fig. 3.1 Typo issue fixed

In Figure 3, we see a typo issue, very common in apps/games with more than 1000 words. Below, we can see the same typo, but this time, it has been corrected in the QA process.

What is a Quality Assurance (QA) process?

In simple words, it is a thorough proofreading of your app.
In this process, the translations are uploaded to the app and checked in context. This is the perfect opportunity to check for typos, length issues, or context-specific adjustments.

How can you make the most of this process?

First, you need to select an excellent translation service provider and make sure that it has a solid and smooth review/proofreading service.

Second, always communicate with your translators. This is an essential part of localization. Make them part of the process by sending screenshots, videos, links, and all kinds of media that you have available. This will ensure the quality of the translations and the QA process.

Even though the modifications made in a QA process may seem small and insignificant, they represent the effort, care, and professionalism that developers and translators put into their jobs.

ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best native professional translators and offers translations in more than 45 languages. We are experts in mobile-app localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our great rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). You are welcome to contact us at hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

The Amazon App Store is here

The Amazon AppStoreWe knew the Apple Store and Google Play weren’t going to be alone in the run for becoming the greatest app market. We knew a third player would eventually show up and step in. It was just a matter of time.

The Amazon Appstore was launched in March 2011. It’s not only for the Kindle Fire apps but for any devices running Android OS 2.1 and higher. As of February 2015, the Amazon Appstore held over 330,000 apps.

The Amazon Appstore is now available to customers in nearly 200 countries! Therefore, its apps are available in several languages.

If you are a developer and are considering selling your app in the Amazon Appstore to broaden your market and increase your audience, then you must take into account the languages (translations) you will be able to add: English (U.K.), French, German, Italian, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), and English (Australia).

Even though the Amazon Store is quite new, the process of adding translations when uploading your app couldn’t be simpler. You only need to fill in the following fields:

  • Language (required): Select a language from the pull-down menu.
  • Display Title (required): The display title should be brief.
  • Short description (required): Enter a short description of your app that is appropriate for mobile devices. The maximum length is 1,200 characters, but Amazon recommends a much shorter description.
  • Long description (optional): Enter a description of your app that is appropriate for use in the Amazon Appstore. The maximum length is 4,000 characters.
  • Product feature bullets (optional): Enter three to five key features of your app, one per line. Amazon will add bullets for you.
  • Keywords (optional): Enter comma-separated search terms that will help customers find your app on Amazon.com.

Remember that localizing your app into the major languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, etc.) can bring in a huge number of new users who will evaluate not only the usefulness of your app or the engagingness of your game but also the quality of the translations. A bad translation can bring bad publicity and disappointed users.

How to avoid this? Hire professional translators who can handle app localization and know what all the fields above are about. Apart from being translators, they are also app users just like those to whom you’re addressing your app, so they will certainly know how the app should be described in their native language.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Appstore
  2. https://developer.amazon.com/public/support/submitting-your-app/tech-docs/submitting-your-app
  3. http://www.sitepoint.com/google-market-vs-amazon-appstore/


ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best native professional translators, and offers translations in more than 45 languages. We are experts at mobile-app localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our great rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). You are welcome to contact us at hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

Differences between iPhone & Android Localization


Nowadays, app localization is a must, and this is no secret. Any well-informed developer knows that the key to an app’s success lies mostly in its capacity to reach every corner of the world, and considering that there are almost 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, this shouldn’t be an irrelevant matter.

What really is a secret, however, and indeed almost an unknown fact for most people including developers, is that there are significant differences found when translating iPhone and Android apps. Even though they have several general similarities, these apps differ in some aspects that are worth knowing about and considering.

Where can we find these differences?

These differences appear in most apps and system menus, and they are common in almost every non-Asian language.

One simple and common example is the word “Settings.” In Android devices, the Spanish translation is “Configuración,” whereas in iPhone devices, the term used is“Ajustes.” Thus, a single English word is translated differently for the same language.


Android                                        iPhone

More examples:

Original Text Language  Android Translation iPhone Translation
Settings Portuguese Configurações Ajustes
Done Italian Fatto Fine
Rating Spanish Puntuación Calificación
Camera roll Dutch       Camera-album Filmrol
Wallpaper Portuguese Imagem de fundo Papel de Parede
Contacts Italian Rubrica Contatti

Why is this important?

This is important because, as human beings, we are programmed by nature to be accustomed to things. Remember the time you switched from Windows 7 to Windows 8? Most of us have experienced this transition at least once in our lives. Wasn’t it a bit difficult to get used to the new Windows 8? It probably was, but we ultimately accepted the change, because we use it every day.

The same principle applies to apps and mobile operating systems. We become accustomed to the interface and buttons, but when we see something different—new words, for instance—we immediately feel there is something strange, something we can’t exactly perceive, but we know it’s there, and we can’t get used to it because it isn’t permanent and it isn’t present in every device, only in a few random apps that weren’t properly translated and now seem odd to the user.

“We have to see how the buttons are translated. It’s very important to always use the same terminology, otherwise the user will feel puzzled. For me, it’s not a problem, I know that there are 2 different systems and we have to observe both.”

                                                                                Silvia Astengo, professional translator

How can I make sure my apps are correctly translated according to its OS?

Correct translations can be ensured by hiring professional translators who are experts in app localization.

These translators are highly experienced in the field and know about these differences. They have the tools and knowledge required to research and translate apps so that they conform with the OS in which they will run.

“In fact, generally speaking, not only for iOS and Android, it’s always important to consider the accepted translations, especially when they are inserted in widely used software or device structures (menus, system apps, …), since the risk is to create confusion in the users who are accustomed to a certain environment. So, a translator’s work is not simply to transfer meaning in another form, but also to investigate on the sector and environment he/she is dealing with, to make sure that the final users of that translation find themselves at ease with the correct form they’re accustomed to.”

                                                                Cesare Bartoccioni, professional translator

ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best native professional translators, and offers translations in more than 45 languages. We are experts at mobile-app localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our great rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). You are welcome to contact us at hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

Writers also love apps, especially those in their own language!

Yes, believe it or not, there are actual people behind the writing of all the newspapers, magazines, and books you are used to reading. Books are made up of words, and words are the most precious gift given to human beings. However, not all human beings are born with the innate talent to produce and combine words in such a beautiful way that they become the books we can’t stop reading!

Books will never go out of date

Books will never go out of date

Books will never go out of date—and even though most of us have gone from the “classic” paperbacks to the comfortable, light e-reader, books will always be books, regardless of the presentation.

As readers, we have evolved. Guess what? Writers have, too! The days of manuscripts and typewriters are long gone. Now, writers use iPads to create their masterpieces, and what could be better than composing in one’s own language?

Are you a playwright or novelist, or do you just enjoy writing? Then this article is for you!

Today, Steve Shepard, writer and developer, reveals how he translated his app, Storyist, thereby fulfilling the wishes of many of his loyal customers, by using ICanLocalize’s professional localization service.

We present the third article in our ICanLocalize Case Study Series.

About the project

Welcome to Storyist

Welcome to Storyist

Storyist is a creative and intuitive writing tool intended for novelists, screenwriters, amateur writers,and anyone who loves writing.

Unlike conventional word processors, Storyist helps writers track their plot, characters, and settings, thus keeping all aspects of their writing organized and accessible. Writers only need to let their creativity flow without worrying about formatting or structural issues.

Storyist has been writers’ most faithful companion for more than 10 years, and it keeps getting better every year!

At present, the Storyist app and all its complements are available in English, French, and Spanish. Let’s read how Steve did it!

The main reason to get the app translated

Storyist users requested for the app to be translated. They were eager to use it, but in their own language.

About the author

Steve Shepard

Steve Shepard

Steve Shepard is an independent app developer and a weekend writer. He worked at Apple and other well-known companies before starting his own business.

In 2003, after many years of work, he decided to take a year off to write a novel. This experience was so enriching and inspiring that it led him to create an innovative and useful app for writers. Now, he is the CEO of his own company: Storyist Software.

 “Storyist is a writing environment for novelists and screenwriters that began as a set of scripts and templates that I created for my own use because I couldn’t find the writing tools I wanted. Over the years, it’s grown into a family of apps for Mac, iPad, and iPhone that is used by writers around the world, which is both rewarding and humbling at the same time.”

Steve Shepard, Storyist’s creator and developer

How did Steve find out about ICanLocalize?

Storyist Software

Storyist Software

Steve has been one of ICanLocalize’s faithful clients since 2011; it’s a bit difficult for him to remember exactly where he found out about us. However, he can’t forget why he chose ICanLocalize: because of its wide variety of compatible formats, especially the plist format, as well as the simplicity of downloading a fully translated file in the same format you uploaded it.

Format list

Format list

“I was in the market for translation services and the fact that ICanLocalize worked with plists (Apple’s translation file format) directly was a big plus. I wanted something that made it easy to update the translations as the app evolved. It looked like ICanLocalize would do that, so I created an account and uploaded a small project. I was impressed with the results, so ICanLocalize got the business.”

Why French and Spanish?

Before selecting the languages to translate his app into, Steve took the time to go through all of his clients’ comments and suggestions, finally coming to the conclusion that French and Spanish were the most requested languages.

Five minutes is all Steve needed to set up his software project.

ICanLocalize’s intuitive and user-friendly interface will guide you step by step. After you create your ICanLocalize account, you just need to click “Start a new project” and select iPhone, Android, PO/POT, and other resource files. After that, you will see the next steps:

Uploading your resource file

Once you have the localizable strings file, the only step left before getting an attractive quote is to upload the file.




Upload options

Upload options

Selecting the appropriate translator

ICanLocalize is always evolving to make the selection of translators easier and faster for our clients. Now, clients have several options:

1.  Open project: All translators will be notified about the project and will apply. With this option, clients have plenty of options to choose from.

2.  Invite translators: After closing the project to translators, only the ones you invite will be able to apply.

Assigning translators

Assigning translators

3.  Assign translators from previous projects: Clients who have already completed a previous project with us can automatically assign the same translators to their upcoming projects.

Assign the same translators

Assign the same translators

ICanLocalize only works with professional (human!) translators, all of whom translate into their native languages. Our program offers a wide variety of selection criteria. Each time you click on a translator’s name, you will be able to see the following translator details:

  • Field of expertise
  • Level of expertise
  • Star rating
  • Recommendations
  • Profile messages
  • Translation tools

“I looked more closely at translators who responded first, but I also spent quite a bit of time going over what they wrote about themselves, who they had worked for in the past… in the case of the Spanish translator, I saw she had worked on a number of iOS apps and thought that was important. Also, I’m pretty sure I paid attention to the recommendations people had left.”

Communicating with your translators

One of the many benefits of working with human translators, not machines, is that you can actually communicate with them, ask questions, set deadlines, and request changes according to your or your app’s requirements.

“Communicating with the translators was easy. They were very quick to respond to the kind of things that were important to us: strings too long for the space available, or questions about the connotation of a particular word in the interface, like ‘character’, which could mean a person in a screenplay or a letter or symbol.”

 Steve and his Spanish translator discussing length issues.

Steve and his Spanish translator discussing length issues.

When translations are complete…

Just download the translated strings in the same format you uploaded them.

Steve’s fully translated string files

Steve’s fully translated string files

What’s next?

After uploading the strings into his app, Storyist in Spanish looked like this:





What to do when it’s time to update your app?

Indeed, this was one of Steve’s biggest concerns when he decided to try ICanLocalize’s Professional Translation Service: what to do when it’s time to update? How should this be handled? We are proud to announce that in ICanLocalize, we have all our clients’ needs completely covered.

Updating your app has never been so easy. ICanlocalize’s state-of-the-art system is unbeatable. Not only does it provide you with a detailed quote and user-friendly interface but it also detects new and modified strings automatically, making the update process a five-minute task.

“My biggest concern was how the translation system would deal with application updates. I wanted a workflow that would handle with both incremental changes to UI strings and significant updates to the Users Guide.  Storyist has now been through several major and minor releases with ICanLocalize, and I’m very happy with the process.”

But that was not all, Steve wanted more…

After having successfully translated the user interface of Storyist, Steve realized he would also need to have the User Guide and Templates translated—otherwise, his users wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of all the features this app provides. 

Yes, in ICanLocalize we can also translate your PDF files. The process is as simple as the software project!

Translated Storyist user guide

Translated Storyist user guide

 Advantages of using ICanLocalize’s app translation service

  • Quality translations
  • Simple integration of strings into app
  • Turnaround in the same format
  • A wide variety of compatible formats
  • Time-saving translation process
  • Friendly user interface
  • Fluent communication with translators
  • Fixed rates
  • Excellent client support

What Steve liked the most about ICanLocalize

In Steve’s words,

“It’s hard to choose just one thing. The feedback from my customers was positive, the quality of the work was high, and it was straightforward to get the project set up and submit the text for translation. I am very happy with the result.”

Thinking about having your app translated?

Feel free to add your comments, suggestions, or inquiries about app localization.

ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best mother-tongue professional translators, translating into more than 45 languages. We are experts in mobile apps localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our great rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). You are welcome to contact us at hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

“Manage Aliases” will save your time!

If your company delegates duties—for example, if one employee is responsible for translation, another for payments, and another for managing other projects under the same company—then the “Manage Aliases” feature is just for you! With this option, these employees can manage the same projects together without having to ask the account holder for confidential information.

The “Manage Aliases” feature allows you to grant rights to colleagues or anyone you trust to manage your projects. It also saves you considerable time!

Advantages of using the “Manage Aliases” feature include:

  • you enter only alias emails and no email confirmation is required;
  • allows your colleague to manage a certain project or all projects without requiring access to your account;
  • you can have as many aliases as you require;
  • you can remove unneeded aliases;
  • enables your accountant to manage the financial side of projects.

With the “Manage Aliases” feature, you can:

  • create aliases;
  • assign aliases to all projects;
  • assign only some projects to aliases;
  • change password of aliases;
  • view support tickets created by aliases;
  • let aliases reply to support tickets created by admin.

Aliases can:

  • create projects;
  • access all types of projects related to: software, general documents, websites, instant translation;
  • invite translators;
  • accept translator applications for all projects types;
  • create, close, reopen issues;
  • access chats;
  • view financial history if permission has been granted;
  • make deposits if permission has been granted;
  • make payments if permission has been granted.

General options include:

  • when an alias responds to a chat, you are not notified of new messages from translators. If you post another message, you are notified of new messages from translators;
  • notifications are sent to you if an alias who is the owner of a chat is deleted or cannot receive emails;
  • once a project is removed, an alias cannot access it again.

How to create an alias

To create a new alias account, go to Control Panel -> Manage Aliases. This screen lists all aliases that your account currently contains (see the “Manage alias” figure that follows). To create a new alias, simply click on the “Create new alias” button. You will be asked to provide an email address for this new alias. No email confirmation is required. However, the email must be valid for your alias to receive notifications from the system.

Figure 1: Aliases table

Figure 1: Aliases table

For more information please refer to: http://docs.icanlocalize.com/information-for-clients/managing-aliases/

ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best professional translators, who are capable of translating from more than 45 languages.  We are experts in website, software, and mobile apps localization (including iPhone and Android localization). You can find out more about our great rates and quality of service at: http://www.icanlocalize.com. Feel free to contact us at hello@onthegosystems.com or via Skype (account name: icanlocalize).

Acompli, translated by ICanLocalize, was bought by Microsoft for $200 Million


Obviously, we are not claiming here that our translation was what led Microsoft to buy Acompli. However, we think that there’s a lesson to be learned about the importance of localization and reaching the global market.

To understand this better, see what Javier Soltero, CEO at Acompli, Inc said:
“18 months ago we started building a team and a product around the idea that we could make mobile email better. Today that journey continues as part of a larger organization with the technology, talent, and market reach that will help us take the vision of Acompli to hundreds of millions of mobile users across the world.”

The key phrase in Javier’s own words is: hundreds of millions of mobile user across the world.

The first steps to be known, popular, and get millions of downloads worldwide is to make your app multilingual, and they have done remarkably. Acompli was translated by ICanLocalize in 30 languages!

In doing so, Acompli demonstrated its commitment to the global community and to people from all over the world. After all, reaching hundreds of millions of users is more feasible when your app is available for the entire 7.2 billion world population, rather than only to the 0.33 billion native English speakers.

Even though they are now part of Microsoft, they are still committed to the original Acompli vision of making the best mobile email application on any platform and across all services.

ICanLocalize is proud to be the translation partner for Acompli and we congratulate the entire Acompli team for their great achievement!


ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best mother-tongue professional translators, translating into more than 45 languages. We are the experts in mobile apps localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our great rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). It is now available in Russian. You are welcome to contact us on hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

Stay One Step Ahead With Journalism Translation

Journalistic translation is a special field of expertise, which includes translation for public print and electronic media. Mass media has a mission to disseminate news to the world. Qualified translators are key players in making this happen, effectively and accurately.

It is always better having a known translator or one that comes recommended, rather than embarking on a time consuming search for a translator when the need arises, when it’s a rush job.

“While we try to assign correspondents overseas who are fluent in the relevant language, there is no way that a paper as serious about international news as The Times can operate without interpreters. Many, many interpreters.” 1

“Watch out for literal translations.

Most online tools have the tendency to translate certain words and place names too literally… For example, in an Arabic tweet containing “Hajar Aswad,” a neighborhood in Syria’s capital city of Damascus, the name is converted to English by Google Translate as “the city of the Black Stone.” “Most have at least some difficulties properly translating slang, emotion, and nuance.” 2

Readers don’t want to battle through a story which was roughly translated word-by-word by an online translation tool.  It should sound flawless, as though it was written by the author.

Translating headlines is the key to reaching global audiences.

Only interpreters who are well acquainted to the topic can bring the idea to the reader clearly and concisely.

 “The quality of a translation goes not just to accuracy of detail or intent, not just to felicity of language, but to clarity, nuance and credibility. An intellectual who makes a powerful point in Polish or Pashto can sound less convincing in a clumsy translation. A good translation can convey the charisma of a rabble-rouser, the egotism of a tyrant, the wit of a poet, the heartbreak of a victim; a bad translation can deny us the sense of character.” 1

Professional translators “ensure that information is being distributed – and received – accurately” 2

Journalism translators have to rewrite the initial copy so that any literary device will be matched by its twin in the target language.

Special attention goes into translating texts embedded in quotes. If not translated accurately, the translation can be incorrect, sometimes even offensive, leading to confusion and misunderstanding.

Journalistic translation has key role for societies everywhere. People want and need to know what is happening around the world. The press and media allow them to stay in touch with what is really going on.

 “We’re dealing with things like climate change and overpopulation. We all have to make decisions about this, and if we have a population that’s not educated enough, then I feel like we’re going into a dark age where a few politicians and science advisors might make all the decisions. Science writers play a role in keeping democracy strong and letting us all participate in these conversations.” 3


1 Translation and Journalism (Bill Keller, 2007)

2 Four online translation tips journalists (Lindsay Kalter, 2012)

3  An exercise in translation: The world of science journalism (Ola Wietecha, 2013)

ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best mother-tongue professional translators, translating into more than 45 languages. We are the experts in mobile apps localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our great rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). It is now available in Russian. You are welcome to contact us on hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

Travel app translation as a lifesaver

The summer is coming. People are starting to think about warmer times and dusting off their suitcases in expectation of a long-awaited vacation. What a sweet feeling! Excitement about the upcoming adventure is mixed with a little trepidation. Luckily, there are mobile apps, websites, and online services helping to overcome any doubts and hit the road towards new experiences.

As we know, all big travel portals are generally multi-language. Local info is often not. People need local information about their destinations in their native tongue to plan a trip accordingly. And you can help them by translating your app into foreign languages.

“I travel best when I’m most relaxed, and I’m most relaxed when I feel certain that everything is in under control. I like to pre-book hotel rooms, have at least a loose itinerary for most days when I’m on vacation, and know how I’ll be getting from here to there before I even leave home.

During the planning phase, and while in the midst of taking time off, you can rely on a number of excellent apps, websites, and services that can help put your mind at ease about your holiday. Before you go, you’ll likely use some search and booking services to find great deals on flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. Nearly every search and booking service I’ve seen comes with an app for Android, iPhones, and iPads, which is helpful when your plans change en route and you need to book a new hotel room, for instance.” 2

Travel apps help search for a destination, map a route, decide what to pack, book a flight, find a budget hotel, hire a car, book restaurants, track weather, check the local time, the weather, currency conversion, find emergency service numbers and ATM machines.

A translated app is like a faithful companion that one can always rely on. Instead of asking a busy local passerby in gestures, it’s much easier to get info on your personal mobile device, in your native tongue.

“All great travel apps have one thing in common – they make your life easier, whether they’re cutting down journey times, pointing you in the direction of authentic local nosh or simply showing you how to ask where the toilet is in Swahili.” 1

Translated travel apps are real lifesavers. They guide travelers who don’t know squat about the place they are visiting or think about visiting. Travelers save money and time and get home safely.

With a travel applications in their mother tongue foreigners can fully enjoy the journey instead of spending it inside their hotel room, scared to go out or getting lost. Apps help keep the traveller organized, provide tips and recommendations, so that people can make the most of their traveling time. The trip gets less stressful. Having an app in your native language lets you take a sightseeing tour to explore a new city, visit the best exhibitions and shows, get public transport information, GPS navigate, keep up with social manners and etiquette, and much much more. The whole world comes into reach!

1 http://www.timeout.com/travel/features/1169/the-worlds-50-best-travel-apps

2 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2422244,00.asp

ICanLocalize is a leading translation service provider that works with the best mother-tongue professional translators, translating into more than 45 languages. We are the experts in mobile apps localization (including iPhone and Android localization), website localization, and software localization. Find out more about our great rates and quality of work here: (http://www.icanlocalize.com). It is now available in Russian. You are welcome to contact us on hello@onthegosystems.com or on Skype (icanlocalize).

Game localization done right – BESMART

Game developers already know that to be successful, they need to localize. English, being the #1 language on the net, represents only a 27% segment of the market. The other 73% are out of reach without localizing.

The question is not if, but how.  How should developers localize their software to make it successful in many countries, while sales boost?

Each game tells a story. To bring it to life in different languages, developers must help translators get into that story to reach the objective: a successful localization.

BESMART gathers the 7 seven steps a game developer should follow for great localization:

  • Beforehand prepare instructions and requirements
  • Expand on context
  • Spotlight the importance of cultural aspects
  • Make certain quality is at the forefront
  • Allow for creativity
  • Research what makes a powerful App name
  • Take on-board the best translator

We’ll walk you through it and share the stories of successful games developers who got it right.

1. Beforehand prepare instructions and requirements

You have worked days on end to create and perfect your app, professionally going through every aspect to optimize it and it is now ready to market. While a lot of thinking has gone into your work, do not assume that the translator can read your mind!

Make sure that something that seems obvious to you will be clear to the newcomer on the project. To prevent extensive message exchanges, pressure of a fast approaching deadline, nagging marketing departments, make sure you provide your localizers with clear instructions from day 1 for them get started on the right foot.

Character limitations for your game: mobile phone apps often require text to be short, powerful yet straight to the point. Before releasing your app, test that all content fits in the spaces provided in the screen and go back to your localizer if needed for help in amending the text. If this is still not enough, think about adapting the font size.

Link to existing game and tone/style: developers of Mozart App – a game to help learn to read music – provided their localizers before translation started with a link to the relevant website. Images on that page can be clicked to display full size, which might come in handy for viewing interface elements. They also indicated that the tone needn’t be too formal.

Formatting: other developers, this time Air CocoMon App informed translators that game strings contained formatting characters, such as percentage symbols and floating number formatting, and that any such symbol that appears in the original text must remain as is in the translation.

BESMART tip: Good preparation leads to good performance, which in turn leads to success

2. Expand on context

Chances are the translator never played the game you’re localizing so you should provide as much contextual information as possible. Lack of context may lead to poor localization, and ultimately failure.

Write a thorough description of main points that need be considered: read below a short yet great explanation related to context provided by developers for Xachi: Command in which they address who their public is, the tone the translation needs be in, formatting issue and gender issues:

“This is an iPhone game intended for kids and adults. The language must all be clean and parent-friendly. %d is always replaced by whole number. ‘Her’ always refers to the character in the game. Her name is Ika (ee-ka). ‘The Player’ refers to the human playing the game. The human controls Ika on the screen by telling her where to shoot and where to walk.”

Provide enough contextual information: provide context and briefly explain where certain phrases or words appear and what they refer to in order to help translation flow. Doing so, you will prevent extensive email exchanges between you and your localizers, saving you time.

Take a simple word like “received” and have it translated in Spanish. It is not as straightforward to localize as one may think as it will raise gender and number issues. This very same English word can be translated as “recibido” (masculine singular), “recibidos” (masculine plural), “recibida” (feminine singular) or “recibidas” (feminine plural).

Screenshots are also useful to see the whole screens, an helicopter view of what the game is about.

BESMART tip: taking 5 min to provide good context at the start may save you hours of you describing context while translation is in progress.

3. Spotlight the importance of cultural aspects

Different countries and cultures express the same idea in different ways, even if they speak the same language.

Maintaining linguistic coherence and cultural sensitivity is key to a successful international release: Ask your specialists to make sure that not only words, but also graphics, symbols, sounds and references are culturally appropriate for the audience you are targeting.

Jeffrey Berthiaume from Putterball game wanted a feeling of authenticity. He needed professionals who would understand what that text was trying to communicate and transpose it in a way that would be relevant for their language and culture. He explained to translators that the text comprehended a lot of “slang” terms that would not make sense or be culturally localizable in another language. He thus provided translators with a PDF which made it easier to understand the entire game. He told them:

“In other words, I would like the native language you create to have colloquialisms pertinent to a native speaker of your language. For example, in French the phrase ‘mon petit chou’ would be used to express a term of endearment – and is 100% correct – even though literally translated into English it would read ‘my little cabbage’. If, instead, the obvious ‘mon amour’ is used, the translation wouldn’t have the feeling of authenticity that I’m trying to achieve.”

Game localization goes beyond translating content; it requires to be appealing to other cultures. Calling upon the services of a reviewer that will cast a fresh eye on the localized text will give you the assurance that cultural aspects are handled carefully and adequately.

BESMART tip: machine translation and non-native translators will never be able to grasp cultural importance. Call upon the services of more than a translator, a localizer.

4. Make certain quality is at the forefront

Quality of source text: Grammar, punctuation and spelling needs be error free. Provide your localizers with an optimal text from the start to receive an optimized localization. As simple as that.

Quality of target text: Make sure the linguist you hire does thoroughly understand the main concept of the game. If he does not, his work will reflect that and you will receive a poor to fair localized text.For instance, if the game features a character who uses a lot of goofy puns, jokes, etc. and the translator does not understand these jokes, these will likely be translated incorrectly. Therefore, instead of ending up with a funny character in the localized versions, you’ll get a silly one that may appear to talk nonsensically. Developers need to provide design documentation, a build of the game, screenshots, link to the existing game, etc. as this all will contribute towards quality.

For Buka game, for example, it is crucial to let translators know that the main character speaks “baby-talk” which could be grammatically wrong but intentional. Players should feel that she is cute, like a baby who is trying to communicate with adults. If developer had not highlighted this, translators would have thought “Gosh, this is full of grammar mistakes” and would have wasted time trying to fix this. Not only would the end result have been disastrous as the aim of the game had been lost but localization would have been totally unsuccessful and you as a client dissatisfied.

BESMART tip: Provide quality if you expect quality in return

5. Allow for creativity

Professional localizers know that it’s not about translating, but “transcreating”: forget about the source text and create a text that is appealing, funny for the target audience and reads as if written by a native. You want those users, no matter where they come from, to play the game and have fun with it! And above all recommend it to others, don’t you?

Let them know they’re allowed to do what they do best: creative writing.

Putterball developer encouraged his translators:

“I would like the native language you create to have colloquialisms pertinent to a native speaker of your language.”

For Abacrux, translators were told that: The string str_configurationTitles contained descriptive titles for different configurations.

“These may be translated very freely where required. Roddy for example alludes to a slim cylinder, Spiro to a spiral. Again – feel free to be creative with these. It is important, however, to keep the length of these titles as short as possible – 8 – 9 characters maximum.”

BESMART tip: Professional game localizers will know what works in their language. Trust them and outsmart your competitors.

6. Research what makes a powerful App name

Research the store or market where your game will be listed to prevent any confusion or marketing mess. Avoid common names or too simplistic a name that will see your app end up at the bottom of the list. To localize or not to localize: that is the question…Not! Some developers or marketing teams decide to have the name of their app localized while others don’t.

Truth be said, players would be confused if games have different names in different countries. By having the same name in all languages, you consolidate the brand of your game, worldwide.

Emoji Free is synonymous with successful app and successful localization with 15,000 new users every day. Its developer explicitly asked to leave the phrase “Emoji Free” in English, but translate the word “free” if it appears by itself anywhere else.

BESMART tip: If the name bears a catch phrase, it’s however a clever idea to translate it.

7. Take on-board the best translator

Any speaker of the target language can say “I know Italian, I can translate your game”.

Beware of cheap imitations: A professional translator has studied to become a translator. Translation requires a special skill set and the professionalism that goes with it. However not every translator can localize a game. Only a professional localizer will take into account all the parameters here above-mentioned. Said linguists will not only translate but adapt your game to the culture it’s aimed for. It is also strongly advised to contract a reviewer who will do more than proofreading the text for typos, grammar and punctuation errors; this dedicated professional will address questions of style, tone, format, etc. as well as suggest alternative translations. This expert reviewer will cast a fresh eye on the localized text to ensure consistency with your requirements.

Do you want a game that everybody enjoys? Do you want your game localization to be a success?

BESMART tip: Call upon the services of experts and contact the right professionals.