How to Localize an App Without Skipping a Beat in Development
You can anticipate and tackle issues at the design phase in order to get all the parts of the localization process moving with minimum expense and maximum efficiency. Localization and development need to be set up to cooperate. And you need to be aware of everything you’re committing to when planning to take your app around the world.
Create a Plan for Continuous Localization
By automating your string localization process, you can save big on time and ensure that no localizable update is missed. Of course, this means that you’re taking the time to set up a continuous localization system to begin with. Again, the earlier you initiate this structural preparation, the more localization and development will play nicely together.
- First, have a system for extracting your code to localizable files. You can actually set up your app in the first place to have all of the localizable strings in resource files.
- Second, consider what level of involvement in the continuous localization process will work best for your team and your workflow. You can maintain more control and flexibility by actively integrating translation projects into the localization architecture with a command line interface (CLI). Or you can opt for a more hands-off automated approach with a GitHub connector that monitors the code base to recognize translations updates and integrate them immediately.
Make your plan a reality, and something critical and complicated becomes streamlined and accessible. Continuous localization was designed to keep up with apps that iterate quickly. So, you don’t even need to think about holding your developers back while stepping forward in international markets.
Proactively Balance Your Real Estate
Still, your localization infrastructure is one thing, and your app’s own real estate is another. You need to think early on about space issues. Different languages take up varying amounts of space. Especially where mobile apps are concerned, text expansion poses a challenge. You have strict limits with nowhere else to go, so if it’s not right—and there is always going to be that one spot—you’re looking at delays and detours for your resources.
Your developers need to be keenly aware of this issue and ready to be creative with the space. You can test out the flexibility of your real estate by plugging in alternative content, perhaps even machine-translated text in various languages. This pseudo-localization strategy will let you know where you may need to create more balance in the design.
But you’re never going to be able to design away all of the situations and challenges introduced by various languages. Just as developers need to manage the size of the app, so too translators need to be mindful of maximum character restrictions. If translators are not explicitly informed of character limits, they can easily fall very wide of the mark.
This is also where it’s important to encourage your translators to be creative and use some poetic license. Comprehension is the goal, not linguistic purity. And the authentic localized content still needs to be ready to integrate with the app’s available space. Translators may need to paraphrase in places or introduce abbreviations—and maybe even invent them—to fit the space they have available, for example.
Make Way for a Localized Marketing Strategy
Localizing your app is not the only consideration in selling your app worldwide. No matter how great your app may be, if you don’t have localized marketing materials to show people the way, they may never find it. Now is the time to look ahead to a global marketing strategy.
You’ll need to focus on descriptions and keywords in app stores that will appeal to local markets. And you may need to adapt a marketing website and emails for a drip campaign to international audiences. Your app exists in an ecosystem, and localization is most effective when it penetrates that ecosystem in its entirety.
High-Quality Turnkey Localization
So, where does the turnkey solution come into play? When you partner with a localization technology provider that offers you a consistent and always accessible source of truth, reliable automation of your localization project becomes possible. Even better than a human manager could achieve, this centralized system can keep up with your developers consistently and accurately. It takes a tight localization infrastructure to accomplish this as new content strings are added regularly, old information needs to be updated, and your target markets continue to expand.
A localization partner that can provide high-quality continuous localization for your app will save you time and money. Equally important: it will save your developers from headaches and allow them to concentrate on their priorities. Developers are charged with creating a top-quality product and getting it to as many markets as possible as quickly as possible. They should not have to think about transferring content files, confirming the integrity of language resources, or worrying about the quality of translations.
When you’re determining how best to localize an app, be sure to consider your options carefully and choose the one that puts linguists, reviewers, and project managers all in the same platform. Of course, your developers will continue to operate in their lane, and the localization management platform will work efficiently in its own lane, but you’ll be able to monitor the collaborative progress through the platform’s transparent window. With great translators and great technology, your localization partner can work continuously and without disruptions while your developers are free to do what they do best—creating a great app.
You can use our technology to link up our world and yours seamlessly. Bureau Works provides a centralized localization platform, along with high-quality translation services and CLI/API integration. Our continuous automated localization services are available on a turnkey basis. We have a wide range of clients that receive internationalization, translation, and localization services. Contact our team today to find out how your company can benefit from our comprehensive services.
Written by Henrique Cabral
Henrique is a partner at Bureau Works as well as the CTO. He also speaks code and loves racing cars.