Should you Localize your Smartphone Applications?

If your company has recently launched a Smartphone app, or even if you’ve had an app that’s been out for quite some time, you may be wondering if it would be worth your while to localize that app. Localization, in this sense, basically entails adapting your product to another market or set of markets. This could mean language translation, but it could also mean adapting some of the images or audio files within the app, or even the marketing materials you use to promote it. All of this would fall under localization.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “There’s an app for that,” then you may have an understanding of just how important apps have become in our society. People use them for just about everything. Having a Smartphone application puts your business, quite literally, in the palm of someone’s hand. If developed well, it’s convenient for the consumer to use and helps build brand loyalty and trust by delivering the information they need quickly and easily via their phone or other handheld device, just as they need or want it.

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Users are most likely to be drawn to an app designed for their native languages. If your business markets itself toward different demographics, then it is important that these demographics be represented in all facets of your business, including in the use of your Smartphone app. In fact, according to a 2012 report from Distimo, The Impact of App Translations, a study of 200 iPhone apps that launched in different native languages saw a 128% increase in downloads the week following that launch, and a 26% increase in revenue from these downloads. Applications localized into Chinese, Japanese, and Korean saw the most growth from this update.

Although the US/English app market is still the most dominant market to date, other markets are growing at an impressive rate (namely the Japanese and South Korean markets, but there is also quite a bit of growth in countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Since a user feels most secure reading something in his or her own native tongue, the potential to actively engage and reach these users through a properly localized app can increase exponentially. If a user is interested in your brand and has a basic understanding of English, he may download your non-localized application. However, if he cannot decipher the language of the app well enough to make purchases, he may become hesitant to use it on a long-term basis, like he would an app in his own language. This can easily cause one to delete the app and disengage with a brand entirely.

Users value content in their native tongue, and the above statistics help demonstrate the impact that localizing a Smartphone application can have both on your business’ visibility, as well as on your potential revenue. If you are actively working to expand into other markets and demographics, then Smartphone application localization is definitely something worth investigating.

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Filed under Customer Service, Global Markets, Localization, Marketing, Translation Industry News, Translation Services

One Response to Should you Localize your Smartphone Applications?

  1. Pingback: Translating and Localizing your Website on a Budget: Where to Begin | Translation Speak: Thoughts on Language Access

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