In this week’s Wolfestone blog, we dive into all things app translation. We’re going to explore:

  • how to go about launching a globally-successful app.
  • the role of translation in an app’s worldwide success.
  • why it’s crucial to bring a professional language partner on board to translate your app accurately and effectively.

Global app success: The groundwork

Designing, building and launching a mobile app has never been more accessible.

The pool of talented and experienced app developers is ever-growing. What’s more, the internet is packed full of free resources and in-depth app-building guides, 24/7 support and app stores that’ll allow you to publish your app on a global platform. 

On top of that, apps can be incredibly lucrative as a business model. Once you’ve carved out a niche in your sector and solved a problem that no one else has – whether it be in banking, shopping, entertainment or e-Learning – your app could grow to become one of the world’s most renowned and trusted tools in that sector.

But don’t be fooled by the multi-billion-pound successes of the likes of Monzo, Uber, Wish and TikTok. Successful app launches are far from guaranteed. Financially-successful app launches are even less so. So, how can you actually create and launch a globally successful app?

The App Industry: How difficult is it to go global?

In a recent report by Allied Market Research, the global mobile application market was estimated to be worth $108.44 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach a whopping $311.25 billion by 2023.

There are an abundance of opportunities out there, but there is also incredibly fierce competition. The truth is that, no matter how brilliant your app may be, the mobile app industry is often said to be one of the most competitive in the world. With around 2.87 million million apps available for download in the Google Play store and 2.2 million in Apple’s App Store, getting your app seen, let alone downloaded, can be a challenge.

But according to an InMobi survey, the number 1 challenge facing app developers today isn’t design or development. It’s marketing. Yep – The big thing that developers are finding difficult is cutting through the noise and getting heard by their target demographic. 

And that’s exactly where translation can come in.

Person studying marketing practises

App Translation: Why is it important?

If you’re reading this piece, chances are that I’m preaching to the converted. You already know why app translation is so important, and you’re probably looking to get your own app translated. But it doesn’t hurt to emphasise why you’re making the right decision.

It’s fine, if not preferred, to build your app in a single language. But if you’re looking to worldwide domination, that won’t be enough.

Take it from Google themselves

“Translating your app into multiple languages will maximize the number of people who can install, use and recommend it.”

It’s as simple as that. App translation can double, triple or quadruple your potential user base. What’s more, translating accompanying marketing materials will ensure that your app can be discovered by a global audience.

App Translation: Which languages should you go for?

So, which countries and regions should you be targeting first? This is a question that only you and your team can answer. You will have (hopefully!) done your market research and checked out your competition. This should give you a rough idea of which markets you’re hoping to enter and where you could see growth.

Skyline in Mumbai, India, where app translation works well

For example, it is estimated that the Asia-Pacific region will witness the highest app market growth rate in the world. This is said to be down to the rise in smartphone usage, increased internet penetration and improved economic growth. 

But, should you be looking to launch your app in India, for example, would you know that India is the second most linguistically diverse country in the world? Yep – 780 languages are spoken by its citizens and they have no official national language. So, where on earth should you start?

Why partner with a professional language service provider for app translation

Advising you about the regional and national linguistic make-up of a country is just one of the reasons to partner with a professional language service provider (LSP) for your app’s translation.

You may be tempted to go DIY on the translation part. However, you need to consider whether you have the technical, linguistic and cultural know-how to do this successfully. Here’s why a professional language service provider is undoubtedly the best choice for app translation:

  • Linguistic and cultural advice

    With years of experience helping clients launch their apps on global platforms, a well-respected LSP should be able to inform you on any linguistic issue. This could range from dialects, the multiple varieties of a language and what is most likely to see success in each and every unique case.

  • Technical know-how

    An LSP boasting previous experience successfully working on app translation should be able to translate the required content whilst ensuring code and string layout is retained. They should be agile enough to work in almost any file type, or find a solution in the rare event that it isn’t a compatible file type.
Person with long nails using an app
  • A full-service approach

    App translation isn’t a one-off expense. It’s a long-term investment. This means that, as well as translating the app itself, you’ll need to translate and optimise the app title, app listing and description, as well as any in-app purchase products. An LSP will be able to draw on the SEO and marketing expertise of specialised linguists to ensure that you successfully reach an international audience. 
  • A long-term relationship

    As we emphasised, app translation is a continuous process. Future app updates will also require translation. Partnering with an LSP will help you to build a long-term relationship that’ll make the translation process quicker, more efficient and more cost-effective with each and every project.

Why Wolfestone?

Here at Wolfestone, we have a track record of helping our clients successfully go global with high-quality, expert-led app translation.

Want to find out more?

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Sofia Lewis
by Sofia Ellen Lewis

Since graduating from University of Bristol in 2018 with a First in Italian and Spanish BA, Sofia has gone on to become a skilled translator, content writer and digital marketer. Sofia has a passion for storytelling and has also recently dipped her toe into journalism. A self-proclaimed language nerd, she is always looking for suggestions on which language to learn next.

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