How to Translate a Web or Mobile Application: 9 Best Practices

After receiving so much feedback and inquiries on our last post about website translation, we came up with this follow up. Here are some of the best practices we’ve used to achieve excellent results for our clients needing web or mobile application translation and localization.

Are you planning to expand your startup abroad? Wondering how you can translate your web or mobile application and reach a wider audience? You’re in the right place because we’re going to share some of the best practices for localization in this article.

Translating your app allows you to enter a new market, improve brand awareness, and increase revenue. Going global unlocks huge potential; international customers prefer to use their native language online. To have greater success, you need to provide your apps in their language.

Web and mobile app translation and localization go beyond just content adaptation. Your goal should be to create a custom made application suitable for your target market.

Here are nine best practices of translating a web or mobile application.

Set Your Strategy

One of the first steps in app localization is to identify your target market and language. Analyze your existing users to find if there’s any untapped potential. Before you start expanding internationally, ask yourself if there’s a need for your app in the market you’re planning to target.

Ensure your app is localization-friendly beforehand. Separate the source code from the actual content that’s going to be translated later. Prior app internationalization will save you a lot of time and money throughout the project.

Hire a Professional Translation Agency

When adapting content from one language to another, it’s essential to ensure a seamless user experience. That’s why you should hire a professional translation company to translate, optimize, and localize your app.

Professional translation agencies perform app localization, which includes formatting, editing, and cultural adaptation. Some languages change word length or writing direction when translated; with professionals’ help, you won’t need to worry about these alterations.
Use a Translator that works with the file format you provide

Professional translators can work with many file formats and make sure they can work with the files as you provide them. This way, you can integrate their work directly into your app and revision control system, without further work. Also, this will streamline the process and reduce involuntary human errors. For instance, at Language Buró, we will deliver the translated copy in the same format as the original.

Isolate all text and messages to translate in resource bundles

Resource Bundles

Isolate all text and messages to translate in resource bundles; these are special files in your application that contain the original text to be translated. All popular web and app development frameworks provide libraries to achieve this from the get-go. For example, if developing for Apple devices, the first step to localize your app is to export the development language or base localization for translation. For Android, you should start creating the locale directories and resource files.

Provide instructions on the application interface so that the translation agency can understand your message’s context

Provide Context

Be sure to provide instructions on the application interface so that the translation agency can understand your message’s context. Take your time to help translators understand what your strings should achieve. Give them access to the UI, provide screenshots, and share your notes. Having context will allow your professional partner to translate the app clearly and accurately.

App localization starts with development and design

Localize Visual Content

Some languages require more space and characters for the text, while some even change text direction. That’s why app localization starts with development and design. Your interface should be localization friendly from the visual side as well. Also, if any labels shouldn’t exceed a particular length, you should inform the translators in advance to work around the limitation.

Create a Glossary

If your app uses company-specific terminology, be sure to provide a glossary for the translators. A glossary will help keep the text consistent throughout the application and ensure better user experience.

Language logic

You will face the need to introduce additional logic to cover the grammatical differences of the target languages. Make sure this is correctly implemented in your application and provide instructions and guidelines to your translation partner to apply those rules in the translated version.

If you want the project to run smoothly, you should get rid of text on images

Separate Text From Images

If you want the project to run smoothly, you should get rid of text on images. You will save a lot of time and trouble! Instead, use filler images and overlap the text programmatically. Avoiding Images with text in another language shows users that you built the app for them.

Although translating and localizing a web or mobile application can be challenging, with a professional translation company, you’ll be able to offer a custom made experience to audiences around the globe.

At Language Buró, web and mobile application translation services go beyond just translating. We provide localization and content optimization to ensure a seamless user experience transition from one language to the other. We’re eager to get your project started, please book a free consultation with us here.