What are some tips for Mobile App Localization Testing?

mobile app localization

Want to know some tips for mobile app localization testing? Mobile app localization is the answer to providing all your users the best possible experience on your app.

In this article, we will discuss 7 tips on mobile app localization testing. 

Tips for Mobile App Localization Testing

Tip #1: Focus on app store metadata

In our guide “How to create an effective app marketing strategy?”, I explained the importance of ’App Store Optimization’ (ASO). ASO significantly impacts the success of your app since it determines how likely users are to find your app in the app stores like Google Play Store and iOS app store.

Just extend the same logic in the case of a local market and you can see why it‘s important to focus on the localization of app store metadata. By app store metadata, I mean app name, keywords, high-level description, and screenshots.

You need to make these metadata elements understandable for the users in your target geography. Read “7 tips for app localization” to know more about it.

Tip #2: Select good translation tools/services

Our business plans often have budget constraints. We often are cash-strapped therefore, we look at free solutions. The reality is that free solutions often have limitations. Providers offering free products or services only offer limited features there. Their premium features typically command a price.

To launch a successful app in a market that‘s new for you, free solutions will most likely not work. This is true for everything including translation. Resist the temptation to just get your app content translated for free using a commonly available tool on the Internet.

There are several good translation tools/services providers. I provide the following examples however, this is not an exhaustive list:

  • Babylon 10 Translation Software and Dictionary Tool”: This is a well-known suite of translation products and services, and it typically has highly favorable reviews.
  • One Planet: The company has received good reviews. It has a presence in key matured and emerging markets, e.g., Europe, China, etc. They also have a strong team of translators, interpreters, and editors.
  • Straker Translations: This company has a high reputation, and they cover a wide range of translation requirements. E.g., they translate Adobe InDesign files and various other document formats. They also translate games, legal documents, etc.

Tip #3 for mobile app localization: Cultural sensitivity

As I have stated earlier, app localization is far more than a translation of multiple languages. We are steeped in our own cultures‘ iconography and symbols, whereas other cultures may have a neutral or even negative response to these. App localization requires carefully avoiding content that hurts cultural sensitivity in other geographies.

Even otherwise, when you localize your app for different geography, you need to keep address standards, units of measure, date/time, etc. in mind. Different countries use different standards.

You need to carefully look at your text, symbols, and color palettes. This is not a job to be done in a hurry, nor is it something to be entrusted to amateurs. Consider taking help from reputed app localization providers.

An example is Capita Translation and Interpreting, and you can view their digital & website translation services.

Tip #4 for app localization testing: Separation of content from code

Are you a developer, or were you a developer once? You see, most developers tend to have a mentor early in their career, who regularly guides them through their development journey. You may have had a mentor too. One of his most oft-repeated advice was “don’t hardcode”!

Our early development mentors had given us this timeless advice citing many reasons, e.g., easy maintainability of the code. In the context of this guide on how to localize an app, this advice is still valuable, although for a different reason.

If you hardcode text strings in the code, during every app localization effort you need to modify your code. To avoid this, keep your code and content separate. Read more about it in “App localization: 15 tips for getting started”.

I have another variant of this advice for you. Remember to keep texts separate from your graphics. If you have texts overlaid on your graphics, you need to modify your graphics every time you localize your app for a different market.

Tip #5: Plan for the ’Right-to-Left‘ (RTL) languages

What if you plan to launch your app later in Hebrew? It‘s an RTL language, therefore, plan your content appropriately, upfront. The texts, written in RTL format, look completely different than the left-to-right languages.

You need to test how your content would like when written in RTL languages. This is also important in the context of images. I recommend not overlaying texts on images, due to challenges I have explained in tip #4.

However, in some instances, you may be compelled to do so. In such cases, take special care to test the overlaid texts written in RTL languages.

Tip #6: Follow development and content writing best practices

There are several development-related and content-writing best practices for app internationalization, which help later app localization efforts. Following are some best practices for your consideration:

  1. Focus on internationalization from the source-code level. This helps you do the groundwork first up, therefore, later app localization efforts will benefit.
  2. Check Unicode settings, which will become important if you want to translate your app into Chinese or Japanese languages.
  3. Write strings as complete sentences, instead of abbreviations that many may not understand.
  4. Some languages may cause the size of the strings to increase by 20-30% post-translation. Keep this in mind for your drop-down menu, ’Call to Action’ (CTA) buttons, etc.
  5. Follow developer guidelines published by Google, Apple, and Microsoft for app localization.

Please check the following app localization guidelines for ios and android apps from these companies:

  1. Android app location guidelines;
  2. iOS app localization guidelines, for iOS localization best practices;
  3. Microsoft app localization guidelines.

Tip #7 for app localization testing: Use APIs

This advice is suitable for a few aspects only, e.g., date format, time format, currency, etc. I want to reiterate my other advice here: don‘t be tempted to use free versions of APIs. Typically, the free versions will only offer limited functionalities, which may not serve your app localization requirements.

For example, I recommend the “Fixer” currency conversion API. They have a lightweight JSON API that you can use for currency conversion. The API takes care of the foreign exchange rates. Check out their pricing here.

Planning to Implement Mobile App Localization?

Mobile app localization becomes an imperative part of your mobile app development project if you are target audience is scattered in multiple geographical areas. Also, to efficiently implement mobile app localization, it is important that you consider it right from the start.

To successfully make use of the above-mentioned tips and select the right tools for it, we would advise you to partner with expert mobile app developers who have experience in mobile app localization.

DevTeam.Space can also help you here with its field-expert software developers community. Write to us your initial mobile app requirements from the app’s user interface design, and development, to the app launch via this quick form and one of our account managers will get back to you for further discussion.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is mobile app localization?

The mobile app localization process involves adapting mobile apps so that they appeal more to users in a certain geographical area.

2. How to undertake mobile app localization for Android?

The most important part of mobile app localization testing is to understand your target market. This requires detailed research and analysis of the results. Once you understand what your target market wants, you will be able to build the new features into your localized apps.

3. How does a mobile app localization translation feature help?

Translation features are essential if you are looking to bring new users to your app. It allows people who don’t speak the primary language of your app to use it.


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