Heading into your iOS localization process with the idea that it should be near-identical to the one you completed for Android is a tactic that sets you up for failure. While the two platforms share a lot of common attributes, there are some key differences—some critical considerations you probably didn’t need to think about during the Android localization process. Here are some iOS localization best practices to get you started.
9 iOS Localization Best Practices for the Win
A lot of iOS localization best practices center on getting your app ready for delivery to the App Store. Without ultimate success on that level, your product will never even get into consumers’ hands. Aside from that, you have to think about common best practices for any localized app rollout. Here are the nine most important considerations to keep in focus.
#1: Evaluate the language options
One thing you need to consider before you even start the localization process is App Store support. Currently, the App Store is accessible in 175 countries and regions and supports 40 languages. Review the availabilities in the store before you start your project to save yourself from a six-figure mistake. Many business leaders have simply assumed that their iOS rollout should be guided by their Play Store rollout, only to learn later that the supported languages didn’t even align. Do your due diligence now to avoid problems.
#2: Review your build cycle
How often are you updating strings and your app’s build? How often will you be shipping out those updates? Consider these requirements to establish a solid timeline for managing localization and translation.
#3: Evaluate your continuous localization exchange program
Are you planning on using an API-based strategy or a command-line interface like GitHub? Know the limits of these programs in-and-out and work around them. Otherwise, you may run into delivery problems that lead to broken code or a compromised UI.
#4: Build flawless structured files
Whether its YAML, JSON, or XML, you need to ensure that the parsing and segmentation for your structured data is impeccable. Run dry tests with machine translation to guarantee nothing gets dropped and the code remains intact during the transfer process.
#5: Map your terminology
Your terminology should be sufficiently mapped before you send it out for translation. Reliable mapping in your original language will allow for more consistent readings, regardless of the prospective market. Localization experts can help guide you in developing linguistic assets that will make all the difference.
#6: Outline your review and QA process
Once the strings are in repositories and the app is rebuilt, you need to decide how often review will happen, be it yearly, quarterly, based on shipment, or some other schedule. Also, consider the additional difficulty in testing iOS files. Apple is notoriously restrictive about their software, so there’s no APK file to run on an emulator. You’re going to have to take screenshots on an actual device and share them for feedback. The iOS QA is a much lengthier process that should be considered when setting your QA cycle.
#7: Translate consistently
Ideally, you’ll have access to a translator who has worked with your brand before and understands your app. That way, they can translate not just based on words, but also with a grounded knowledge of the UI and UX. Once you find good translators for a given language, you’ll want to keep working with them for future updates.
#8: Create leeway in your design
Ensure that your app is built in a localization-friendly way—so text boxes have leeway and strange line breaks don’t result from translation. With enough careful planning from your development team, the translator will know how to work within given parameters and ensure everything displays as it should.
#9: Monitor results
Once you’ve shipped out the updated app to new markets, continue to diligently monitor your results. Take advantage of tracking tools that allow you to see how many users there are per device, per language. Apps cost money to maintain, and this data-rich insight will enable you to make changes as needed and cut your losses when the app performs poorly.
Consolidate Your Efforts with a Single Platform
There is a lot to consider in iOS localization, and it crosses all business segments. You need a workflow, a command-line interface, the ability to run reports based on results, and even more to understand the market inside and out. As a result, isolated and rotating translators won’t do. You need a robust localization management platform that combines everything from workflows to reporting in one centralized space.
With such a platform and strong iOS localization best practices, you can create a perfect rollout in your target market that engages users and expands your reach. The iOS platform isn’t the easiest to work with, so expert guidance and support are necessary. With the right partner, your app will reach its full potential.
July 17, 2020