App stores like Apple’s iStore are giving developers and app-makers an unprecedented scope to catapult their apps into larger markets and newer user-bases. But irrespective of how strong, novel, well-made and smooth an app is, it is bound to suffer dead-ends if it does not encompass some basics of app localization.
Localisation, in short, is simply an attention to details that makes an app used for a specific language, segment or culture.
Without this fundamental plank in place, even a robust and radical app can fall on deaf ears and will pass unnoticed when it approaches a user in a particular country or dialect. For localization to be configured, an app also has to be organically amenable for internationalization. That means the developers should, from the onset, make the app adaptable to differences in formats, user-specifications and other details that will change from language to language and from country to country.
Adequate internationalization, in itself, takes care of effective app localization to a large extent.
Here are some suggestions that can come in handy for aspiring developers and iOS players in ensuring that the app doesn’t fizzle out at the very moment of truth.
Do not wait for the app to be completely done before you insert iOS localization. It should be done proactively, at the coding stage only, instead of an afterthought. Internalize the code and relevant strings and hand them over to professional and experienced translators for the language desired. They can take care of not just number, calendar, date, time formats but also of other local aspects that can come into play when a user is interacting with an app or when the app’s visualization kicks in.
Export the parts and strings in the desired format and give translators as much information and context as you can. Differentiate between user-facing parts and other code-parts well to accelerate the process.
Keep working on iOS localization at your level (image, music, etc.) through the app construction process while the translators are at work. It is a mindset and once you are tuned into the differences that localization addresses, the app would be nimble enough to make sense of many languages and segments whenever needed.
After the translated content is imported your job begins in a new way. You have to ensure that it is assimilated well and works as desired. Proper and relentless testing is a good way to check the localization effort. This should be done both at the developer level as well as by letting some users test the app for their perspective and gaps that may still exist.
Keep revising and updating the app with iOS localization and translation as the app grows and adds new versions. Having standard APIs helps in increasing the scope and ease of this process.
Sometimes the resources at play can be optimized, and the space taken by localization and the associated cost reduced by having region-orientation in the right order with language orientation. Markets like the US, UK, Australia, APAC; for instance; have the same language of use – English – as long as time-differences and minor details are incorporated well.
It pays, in the long run, to give enough time and space for nuances and differences that are beyond standard time/calendar changes. Like some user segments and languages work from right-to-left instead of the left-to-right direction of the text. Such material contrasts cannot be included at the last moment of an app’s design.
As we can see, localization is an important parameter for leading app stores. Further, iOS’s remarkable growth and spread make it imperative that developers give this part the requisite attention from the beginning and also till much after the app is released.
It’s all about keeping the user experience smooth and without snags.