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5 Key Questions to Prepare for Localization

Localization is an exciting process that can lead to new markets and sizable returns. But when preparing to localize, many unknowns arise that can mystify the process.

Let’s look at some key questions to ask your team, with the goal of demystifying localization of your app. After answering, you’ll be ready to localize with confidence.

What content can you localize?

Modern apps contain more than plain text – they have images, dates, currencies, and other forms of content. To adapt your app to the region of your audience, you’ll want to:

  • Translate text
  • Adapt or replace images
  • Format dates and currencies

We’ll define these content types as “localizable content”. Identifying the localizable content for your app should be the first point of consideration when preparing for localization.

If your app is already launched or available as a working prototype, this stage will be easier. If the app is still in the development stage, you’ll need to plan ahead to identify the localizable content.

If your app has an overwhelming amount of localizable content, don’t worry. You can plan to localize in waves. There are a couple of strategies for this, as we’ll discuss below.

Where is your content located?

After identifying your app’s content, the next step is identifying the location. Just as a modern app may have many content types, it may also serve this content from many locations. These locations make up what we refer to as the app ecosystem. 

The app ecosystem includes the contents of your app, such as UI. App store, product descriptions, and landing pages are also included. Additionally, your app might need to pull content from other apps. This content should be in same language and dialect whenever possible.

Is your app internationalized?

Before you can localize the app content, your app needs to go through a process known as internationalization (i18n). This process separates the localizable content from the source code. The content can be localized independently. 

You should be aware if your app is fully internationalized. If it is not yet, then you will need to factor this into your time and costs budgets.

Most platforms and frameworks will already have i18n tools available to help. For framework specific tools and best practices, you can check out our developer’s hub.

Who is your target audience?

After pulling your app’s content, you’re ready begin the translation process. The next thing that you need to consider is your target market. Who are they? Where are they? Which platforms are they on?

You can localize for as many markets as desired, but this will increase the time and costs of the project. Therefore it’s important to make an informed decision on the number of regions, sub-regions, and platforms you’d like to target.

To what extent will you localize?

The number of audiences isn’t the only thing that will affect cost of localization. Another important factor to consider is the extent of your localization. Extent refers to how much content you will actually localize.

At this point, you can adopt two strategies; deep localization and minimum viable localization. 

For deep localization, you don’t target too many regions at once, but try to change as many variables as possible. From content to features to promotions, you will need to customize every possible thing to suit local preferences. In many ways, this form of localization feels akin to developing an altogether new app for a different region. As such, this strategy requires more time and budget to execute. 

Alternatively, you can opt for minimum viable localization; with this approach, you can prepare your app for multiple regions, but with minimal changes. This reduces the time required for localization as you don’t have to make a lot of changes. Companies utilize this strategy to test the waters in a new region as it allows them to quickly launch and observe the market response.

A combination of these approaches can also be used. For example, you can perform minimum viable localization to test profitability in many regions. Then use deep localization to capture the most promising regions.

Achieve localization ready status

After answering the above questions, you should have a good idea of your app’s requirements. You can use these to make to-do lists of the required actions from your team.

After identifying your content and target markets, you’ll also be able to estimate the time and costs for localization of your app.

OneSky is fully committed to making localization of your app streamlined. Our platform can be help you easily calculate the costs of localizing your app, based on your content and target regions. Sign-up today to expand your app globally.