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5 in-depth articles on app localization

Photo: Louis Hansel

These days there’s so much content online that requires localization and a lot is also being written about localization. For today’s round-up I’ve picked 5 articles about different aspects of app localization. How do you decide which languages to localize into? Do you use the same approach for all types of content? And what about the visuals, surely they don’t need changing? How do you anticipate and adapt to all the linguistic challenges when so many different languages are involved? How do you quantify the success of localization and is it a given?

1) Best Languages for App Localization by Alconost

Choosing the top languages to localize your app into is not as straightforward as it might seem. Top languages vary depending on the number of speakers, internet users, e-commerce sales or app store downloads and revenue.

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2) Translation, localisation or transcreation? By Anne-sophie Delafosse

All content is not created equal and therefore needs a different approach when it comes to localization. High-profile marketing content needs transreation and should be handled with the greatest care. Translation should suffice for the bulk of your main content, but it should still read well and be engaging enough for the users to stick around.

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3) 27 Web Application Localization Best Practices by Nataly Kelly

This article by Nataly Kelly focuses on building an app that’s easy to localize and dives into a variety of issues, such as text expansion, dealing with image files, the dangers of locale-centric development process, avoiding “mixing and matching” strings, taking into account how different languages have different grammar rules, time/date formats and word order. Last but not least, it talks about why context is vital for translators and the success of the localization process.

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4) How do I measure localization impact? By David Edwards

“Localization is like plugging a guitar into an amplifier”. I loved the analogy between localization and music in this article. It also talks about how localization isn’t always a sure-fire way to win clients, but without it “it’s impossible to grow to anywhere near your full potential.”

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5) Designing for Belonging: Why Image Localization Matters by Nora Ahlenius

This article has caught my eye recently and I thought it offered such a brilliant and in-depth look into localization that goes beyond words. Even if the copy has been properly localized and does sound natural to the reader, the accompanying images might let it down if they are not culturally appropriate or relevant.

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Localization touches on so many different areas and involves so many decisions, processes and variables that it’s completely overwhelming at times, but this is what also makes it a really exciting area, and localization done right is a beautiful thing.

Are you localizing your app into several languages including Russian? In this blog post I offer some useful tips about app localization into Russian.