in Technical Writing, Translation

With the ‘App revolution’ still well and truly in full flow, there has been a huge drive to make Apps available all around the world, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. When trying to localize these apps to specific markets, there are a lot of things that could go wrong, leaving your App ineffective in target markets and forcing you to return home with no profit. For those of you thinking about taking your App to new territories, we’ve put together a list of the most common mistakes found when globalizing Apps so that you can avoid making them:

Bad Translations

The first mistake that is found when localizing your App may seem fairly obvious, but it can make or break your success. The incorrect translation of keywords is more common than you might think. It’s fairly obvious to users when a company has decided to avoid the cost of using a translation company and translates the content themselves. Translation inaccuracies are simple, but they drastically change the perception of your App in your new market. The result is that users question the quality of the App – rather than the quality of the translation.

Leaving an App Untranslated

This is the second most common issue we see when Apps try to take on new markets. Time and time again, companies have launched abroad with parts of their interface translated, but not the entire interface. The portion they deem important is in the local language, but the entire App is not. This can quickly become a problem for users. If they cannot understand all the content available, their perception will immediately change and their experience will be marked by the fact that they feel like the App was not truly created for them. When it comes to translating your App, you should take an ‘all or nothing’ approach, and we highly recommend you select ‘all’.

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Leaving Links with the Wrong Language

When designing Apps, it’s a great idea to embed links into text – that’s a given. However, it is not recommended that, after translating an App, you choose to leave the links which take users to a page that’s in the original source language. Make sure you either remove the link or translate all the linked content on your App. This will help you to avoid frustrating, or even losing, your users because of the untranslated content.

Not Considering Formatting

We often see Apps that are poorly localized in terms of design or formatting. The design team spent their time focusing on providing you a beautiful app without taking into account the changes in text length that occur during translation. This issue goes far beyond apps and extends across every industry. When entering a German market, for example, you should allow for much more space as German words are far longer than English. Failure to account for the way translation and design must play together results in messy looking pages where text is spilled over two lines. Small details like this can be a deciding factor in the perception of your App.

The global market for Apps is as competitive as it has ever been. With more and more local Apps being produced each day, someone is probably working on a localized version of your App as you’ve read this! It’s important to make sure your App is properly localized and that you iron out these common mistakes from the beginning.