The Ultimate Guide to Mobile App Localisation

March 02, 2020
ultimate guide to mobile app localisation

According to the Mobile Economy 2018 report by, there were 5 billion unique mobile subscribers in 2017. Language, therefore, plays a significant role in the success of a mobile app. This is especially so in a global arena where an estimated 72% of potential mobile app users do not speak English.

Those who do not speak the native language will be less likely to interact with a mobile application that is not accessible to them. Even though English is one of the widest spoken languages, not every person can speak the language. Mobile app localisation is important for the representation of different cultures, languages and the experience of learning on the go when travelling abroad. 

As a mobile app developer, one of your main goals will be to increase your app’s visibility and exposure. Improving visibility will significantly increase the app’s Monthly Active Users (MAU). The best way to achieve this is to customise the app so that it will serve different users from across the globe. This is where mobile app localisation comes in. 

What is Mobile App Localisation? 

​Localisation is the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, market, and desired local look-and-feel. Mobile app localisation is a combination of the language and country it is spoken in. The process of customising your app to work in other languages and can include spoken variations and dialects of the same language. The application must also suit the culture and any other regional attributes. This is because it is not just a translation of the language, but a change in content and layout that caters for any given country.

The essentials of mobile app localisation include the design of visual content along with the development of effective brand messaging. Front-end developers and UX Designers will be involved in this process, by making their layouts flexible, adding extra space in text boxes and making changes to its design features.

The Benefits of Mobile App Localisation 

Localising your app will give you the potential to go beyond your conventional user base with access a global market. This will help improve your sales and revenue output, increase the number of downloads and give you a major advantage over your competition.

Studies show that those who had localised their apps especially, resulted in 128% more downloads per country and a 26% increase in revenue. It has also been recorded that 80% of the countries within the top five for downloads and revenue in Google Play, with 50% for the iOS App Store, are all non-English speaking countries from Europe and East Asia.

Access to Global Reach 

A multi-language app will gain you better access to the global market which will be beneficial in terms of exposure so you can reach as many people as possible and improve your user ratings. By following this strategy you will have access to over 90% of potential app downloads.

Sales Potential 

If you have already covered a fraction of app users in your local area, then you will be improving your chances of expanding your reach by making sure there is also a market for it overseas. It is a great way to boost your downloads too and provide your users with a better user experience.

Better ROI 

With the right mobile app localisation strategy, you can be sure that a better ROI is guaranteed. If done correctly, the process will become more simplified and efficient, when you gain experience of applying your strategy to different target markets and audiences.

Top App Languages for Mobile App Localisation

  • English
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Chinese
  • German
  • French
  • Brazilian
  • Spanish
  • Italian

How Localisation Works 

Localisation is the process of designing your mobile application so that they support multiple languages and include elements like image, sound, date and time. This means changing the currencies, units and calendars into the correct formats.

Successful localisation of an app involves changing a number of key aspects during the design process, including translating the language correctly, changing the default currency, making sure the time and date are correct for that location, taking into account any difference in legal matters and assigning the correct language keyboard.

Making sure the mobile application you are building is well suited to the culture of place is necessary for bringing the app to life, improving conversion rates and overall user engagement.

How to Test Mobile App Localisation

There are several ways to test the functionality of your mobile application once you are satisfied with the design elements. The two main types of testing are smoke tests and beta tests.

Smoke Testing

A smoke test is an internal test that is used to perform the test functionalities of the mobile application in a new language. The individual performing the test is not required to know the language they are testing in. They just need to be familiar enough with the app so that they know where everything is to ensure that the app has been localised in the correct format, without affecting its performance.

Beta Testing 

Before releasing your app and you have checked that everything is working fine, you will need to carry out either an open beta test, or a closed beta test to make sure that all the translations are correct. This can be carried out by a native speaker in your target locales, who can provide you with any feedback or areas for improvements.

iOS App Localisation 

The Apple App Store supports up to 28 different localisations including Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German and Greek. All parts of your product page will need to be localised including every section of text, and making sure that all images are appropriate according to the user audience. When it comes to app store localisation, make sure you are studying closely your local audiences in detail and using the right search terms. The correct translation of your app’s name, description and keywords will help local users find it more easily.

Android App Localisation 

On Google Play there are approximately 77 different localisations. Identifying the best possible markets for your business is crucial at this stage, as localising for all 77 languages could prove difficult. For mobile app store optimisation all you need to do is add a localised version of the app title, short and long and a description in the Google Play Console. Android runs on several devices across lots of regions. To be fully localised, your mobile app should handle text, audio files, numbers, currency and graphics.

Why is mobile app localisation important? 

This feature provides access to users internationally and promotes a positive culture when visiting foreign countries that don’t always speak the native English language. This will encourage individuals to learn phrases in another language.

Mobile app localisation is an essential part of expanding your current digital offerings worldwide and increasing market share. App localisation essentially leads to loyalty and will enable your brand to grow a trust base of users around the world.

Learn Other Languages When Travelling Abroad 

Once your app has been localised, you will be in a better position to compete with other mobile app providers. Hence, your app will be more accessible and useful to a wider audience. Learning different languages when using a mobile application can serve as a gateway to different cultures and societies and revolutionise language learning across the globe. Thus giving you access to learning new vocabulary, phrases and essential conversational skills.

Do you want to localise your mobile application?

If you are looking to attract more users, then consider mobile app localisation. Coderus are leading mobile app developers who can help build a mobile application for you that embeds all the necessary tools needed for your app to be localised. We have an in-house team of certified mobile app developers to help get your mobile app project up and running. Find out more about us here.

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