All app developers dream of getting their app the global appeal. The reasoning behind a global appeal lies in numbers of users. The higher the number of users the app appeals to, the higher the amount of downloads and the greater the opportunity to increase revenue.
According to Developer Economics 2012 Survey, 85% of apps are in English. That’s a huge under-serving of the global apps users. There’s a huge need for localization of content.
What is localization?
Localization in the mobile app industry is provision of content via apps that meet the needs of the locally targeted users. Translation is a great part of mobile app localization but makes a complete app package, it doesn’t! There’s more to be considered when a developer decides to take on a localization opportunity.
Mobile app localization is not cheap. It requires a good investment to research the local culture of the market that a developer is about to take their app into. It entails understanding that when translated simply, some words will carry a completely different meaning in that targeted market. Beyond understanding the culture, the developer has to have a good knowledge of what certain icons and colors mean for that market; understanding the perceptions around the different forms of advertising such as the fact that in Japan, a brand can’t tell its audience to buy their product but can only hint that they try it.
Upgrades also become cumbersome when one is taking their app to people in Cape Town whilst sitting in an L.A. lounge. To ensure quality delivery, the developer might have to consider partnerships with people on the ground. This again is not easy so developers tend to ask why, they should do it and more often than not, shy away from it.
App developers know for a fact that some of their biggest users are in countries like Germany, France, Japan and China to name a few. These audiences use English as their second language. They still buy these apps but imagine what would happen if they were to get these apps in their first language? Huge revenues.
Even if the revenue doesn’t come rolling in, in the beginning, what developers would be doing in essence, is creating brand awareness and tore rankings for the future, when their apps become popular in those markets. This is very important especially for the emerging markets. A bit more research by developers and they would realize that there are so many places in Africa especially Kenya, South America and so on that operate 60% of their business on mobile platforms. The opportunity to grow with these markets will pay off in the long run. With careful planning, more research and local partnerships, current top records on app download can still be broken.