App localisation is an important topic in the app market. If an app service is highly focused, then maybe it isn’t worth the effort of localising. However, if possible, apps should always be localised as that can help you gain an increase of up to 767% on your downloads. Nice, right? But first of all, what is app localisation?
App localisation is the translation of the metadata of your product and the adaptation of it to another culture. It includes graphics, texts, videos, and even converting units of measurement depending on the country. For instance, if you are talking about weather forecast to North Americans, you would use Fahrenheit as a unit of temperature, but if you are talking to Germans, you need to convert to Celsius as that is the reference in Germany. So, localisation is more than translation; it also the adaptation of cultural nuances.
Localisation is the process of adapting your app information to a certain market.
Why App Store Localisation matters
Increasing your target audience is one of the main reasons to offer your app in multiple languages. However, there are other important reasons why you should adopt localisation. One is that localising your app store metadata improves the visibility of your app in search results.
Hence, if you have your product localised in 3 countries, you could theoretically have 3-times the keyword combinations. In other words, you could strategically use localisation to boost search rankings in specific countries.
Apart from that, we should bear in mind that 72 % of app users are non-native English speakers. Even though many people understand English, they prefer to use apps in their mother tongue. Even if you localise the app name and main headline (the short description in Google Play or Subtitle in Apple App Store), your conversion rate will improve.
Do initial research and choose languages wisely
You don’t always need to localise to all the countries available. Localising your app and product page may need a lot of resources. Firstly, research where you would find clients for your app, check your competitors and localise in steps. Ask yourself what is the competition like in each market, and how many users you could get when offering your app there.
Penetrating a market that is already crowded with what you are offering, might be a waste of time. Look for countries where there is a lack of your product offering or where you can offer superior quality of apps as compared to competitors.
On the other hand, you might find an awesome market where your competition is relatively low. Before getting excited and starting to localise, think about whether there is an interest in apps like yours. Local market research is crucial. Read about the culture, rituals, religions, routine of the population, and then begin your localisation efforts.
What’s the potential for a chosen app market?
Many huge app markets, such as Brazil and Russia, have a small population that can understand foreign languages. Hence, when localising your app, you are considering a high number of potential users.
For a start, find countries where there is a large number of consumers of apps. After that, take a look at the apps inside your category. Finally, search for your direct competitors. By following these steps, you can conclude if the chosen app market has potential, or if it isn’t the time to invest in it.
Use ASO platforms to monitor localised keywords and fast-track your tasks
In order to successfully sell your app in markets abroad, you also need to know if people are able to find your app in specific markets. Just translating some pieces of metadata is not enough to succeed. Doing this is a tricky task, so this is why there are handy ASO Tools, which show you how your app ranks in search results for an exact keyword.
With ASO Tools (like App Radar), you can split your ASO efforts per country. You can measure your performance and rank per land. What’s special, however, is that it’s possible to edit and export all your updated metadata in all languages at once. Apart from that, you can request translations for your app store listings directly from the platform, meaning that after choosing your translator, you can give him/her access to the translator interface of App Radar, where they just need to fill in the available fields with the required translations.
If you want to succeed, go beyond translation
App Localisation is more than just translating app page information. You are selling your product to different cultures. So, analyse them differently to see which is the best approach for each.
If you are charging for your app, bear in mind that the currency is extremely important. Paying in euro, for instance, maybe quite expensive for some foreign users. Thus, if you do not adopt the currency to the local format, you might be pushing away many future users that will think is too expensive or simply don’t want to pay taxes for international purchases. The same goes for date formats, the month/day/year can be really confusing in countries that use the day/month/year format.
Pay attention to App Store Optimisation principles
If you are getting involved with the mobile world, understanding App Store Optimisation (ASO) is a must for app store marketing!
When you translate your app metadata, you have to remember there are character limitations. In iTunes Connect, you have a 100 characters field to type your main keywords. This is something, you have to be careful with. Here’s an example – imagine you have an app to manage credit and customer cards. In English, you just need 6 characters for the word “wallet”, while in German, you will need 10 for “Geldtasche”. Moreover, it’s hard to combine these keywords in German. So, you may need to find other words describing your app.
Bear in mind that several elements should be localised, not only your keywords. In the hierarchy of keywords, the app name would be at the top.
When localising Android apps, do not forget about the short description – think about what will convince people of a certain culture to keep reading your description. The description is how you are going to reach people that are really interested in your app or that are not 100% sure of what your product can do. Make use of the promotional text, it is your chance to say what is new and what is coming.
Last but not least, adapt your screenshots. You should only publish your screenshots in one language if the app itself isn’t translated; otherwise, you may lose downloads because of a lack of clarity.
Work together with a translation agency
Avoid using automated translation services where accuracy is questionable.
Misspellings and grammar mistakes affect the credibility of your product and have a negative effect on downloads. Search for local translators or translation agencies.
Here’s an example: if you are translating an app for Portuguese and you want to use the “like” function of Facebook, the machine translation will only show “gostei” as the dictionary translation. But “curti” has much more impact and is more frequently used. However, only a professional translator could help you with this.
Localising to several languages sounds really tough, and it can often be time-consuming. Therefore, take a step by step approach to make this process easier. Remember that app localisation shouldn’t take too much time, so make use of tools and agencies that help you with the process!