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2017 Localization Trends & Predictions for 2018

localization trends 2018

In the past 12 months, OneSky worked with over 1,000 businesses and organizations around the world to localize their apps, games and products for more than 65 markets. As a localization specialist, OneSky is delighted to help our customers expand their global footprints and be an integral part of their successes. With the beginning of the new year, we thought it’d be a good opportunity to highlight some of the localization trends that we saw in 2017, and make a few predictions for 2018.

Localization Trends in 2017 & Predictions for 2018

1. European Languages will Remain in High Demand

In 2018, European languages is expected to remain in high demand. However, the growth rate of these markets is forecasted to be significantly slower.

top_localization_languages

^The data is comprised of OneSky‘s total number of orders in 2016 and 2017 and the 2018 forecast is based on an internal algorithm.

With high smartphone and internet penetration, Europe continues to be a mature market with high app revenue potential. Bound by its relative proximity and cultural similarities, many European-based app developers and publishers that we work with often begin their expansion by targeting neighboring countries and North America. It is no doubt a good way to start and test the effectiveness of their initial localization workflow.

However, according to a recent report conducted by Hootsuite, the growth rate of European app market is expected to decrease by up to 50% within the next few years. For European-based organizations who are looking beyond their home country for growth opportunities, you may want to consider some of the more mature markets with steady high growth rate in APAC, most notably Japan, South Korea and China.

2. Increase in Localization Demand for Emerging Markets

In the past two years, we have seen a significant increase in the localization demands for languages in emerging markets. 


^The demand year-over-year growth rate is determined by comparing the number of orders submitted to OneSky in 2016 and 2017.

In 2018, we expect the demand for emerging markets to continue to increase — especially for China and India. The table above shows that 7 out of the top 10 languages with largest increase in localization demand are spoken in China and India. Considering the actual number of orders of these languages, the demand for Chinese Simplified and Chinese Traditional far exceeds the others. We will further elaborate on this below.

It is worth noting that apart from the two giant markets, many companies has also started targeting regions in Africa and Eastern Europe.

3. China to be the largest market for generating app revenue

top_countries_by_app_revenue
^Graph showing the growth in app revenue in China market, by App Annie.

According to a Market Forecast by App Annie, China will continue to be the largest app market across the globe and is expected to exceed $56 billion in 2021. China is a highly attractive market for several reasons. Not only does China hold the world’s largest population, but it has also seen explosive growth in terms of smartphone penetration. From a cultural standpoint, China bears resemblance to many other mature East Asian market (e.g. Japan). This is particularly relevant as it relates to the amount spent on discretionary items, such as entertainment and games.

Although the Chinese market has many advantages, the barrier to entry is also very high. App publishers who wish to successfully enter China should make localization a priority. This can be achieved by partnering with local agencies who can help bridge some of the deep-rooted cultural differences. If you’re considering launching your product in China- particularly games and entertainment apps- make sure to check out our previous blog post – 6 Tips to Succeed in Chinese Mobile Game Market.

4. India to be the market with spectacular growth in app downloads

India_app_download_growth
^Graph showing the growth in app downloads in India market, by App Annie.

In this year Google I/O Developer Conference, Google Product Manager Tal Oppenheimer shared some global insights in the overall state of the app market. India alone saw 100 million new internet users in both 2015 and 2016. And this rate won’t be winding down soon – around 60% of the India’s population is still offline today.

While there was an initial lag in India’s smartphone adoption rate, the number of app downloads in India is now forecasted to grow 28% annually to nearly $23 billion by 2021 – higher than the United States and only second to China.

Although localization is essential for any company who wish to successfully break into emerging markets, there are a few principles that you should abide by. Make sure to check out our previous blogpost on this – Google Developers’ 5 Tips on Building for Emerging App Markets.

5. Localization is Essential to Tackle Non-English Speaking Markets

Now that we have established the roles that emerging app markets like China and India are expected to play in the coming years, it is also important to understand the specific localization needs for the non-English speaking markets.

An app user in Germany, for instance, may have very different expectations from one in Japan. Indeed, according to App Annie, between 30% and 60% of the top 25 iPhone apps in East Asian countries – Japan, Korea and China – have a localized app name. In addition, nearly half of the top 25 iPad apps in China are localized in Chinese.

top_apps_in_localized_languages
^Graph showing the % of iPhone and iPad apps with local language names in National Top 25, by App Annie.

The graph above shows that users in the East Asian countries tend to prefer to download and spend money on apps that are localized in their languages. To crack these markets, it’s generally a good idea to have a good understanding of what users expect.

It’s Your Turn

onesky-newyear-2018-offer

As the new year begins, OneSky is offering a $50 coupon* to all who are kickstarting their next localization project until 31 Jan, 2018. Simply redeem the discount by entering the coupon code ‘NEWYEAR18’ on the checkout page. If you are planning for new localization projects, claim your gift from us now!

*Terms and conditions apply. Learn more.

About OneSky

OneSky provides seamless end-to-end localization solutions for thousands of mobile apps, games, websites, and businesses worldwide. We offer professional translation services in 50+ languages and a translation management system (TMS) with API integrations and plugins to streamline your workflow. We hire and carefully screen our own translators to ensure the highest control over quality. Using OneSky’s powerful QA features, cross-functional teams collaborate efficiently to deliver faster release cycles and higher quality translations. See how you can go global at www.oneskyapp.com


Google Developers’ 5 Tips on Building for Emerging App Markets

google devs emerging market tips onesky

Which Markets Google Is Targeting Next and Why

The key theme for localization for I/O 2017 is building for emerging app markets around the world. These are places that might be fairly underdeveloped in infrastructure and connectivity. Think places like India, Brazil, and Indonesia.

This year’s Google I/O Developer Conference had many localization updates for building global apps in Android. (Click here for our full coverage of this year’s conference.)

So why’s Google focused on these emerging app markets? And why should you be interested as well?

Because they’re also extremely high-growth markets where new users are coming online eagerly, possibly for the first time, and in masses.

How Google’s Building for the Next Billion

build for your next billion google localization

Google is heavily invested in their “Next Billion Users” initiative—localizing their own products for these markets and helping Android developers do the same.

In this year’s “Build for Your Next Billion Users” session at I/O, a team of Google’s own developers and product managers share what they’ve learned about bringing Google products to emerging app markets.

The team’s insights and tactics include:

  • User data about specific markets
  • 3 key barriers in common with all emerging app markets to watch out for
  • 5 principles Google’s teams use to overcome these barriers

We found this session so useful and applicable for anyone launching in emerging app markets that we’ve summarized some of their main lessons here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the technical side of Android localization, be sure to check out our Localization Academy, which will guide you through the whole process of localizing either iOS and Android apps, with sample codes included. 

Now let’s dive in!

Remarkable User Growth: By the Numbers

Google Product Manager Tal Oppenheimer—who was part of an insightful session on Chrome’s developments for emerging app markets at last year’s I/O—opens the presentation with a deep dive into user growth from emerging app markets by the numbers.

By “taking a global look” at app markets, different trends start to emerge.

In 2014, China took the lead for number of total internet users at around 675 million. (The US had about half.) In 2015-16, the markets shift and different countries are “lighting up” the map, with India at 350 million in 2015. Last year, Brazil comes in at 139 million total users and Nigeria has about 87 million.

google localization emerging app markets total internet users 2016

The story becomes more interesting if you look at user growth for the same time period.

In 2014, there was minimal new user growth in the U.S. whereas China and India both saw major upticks. In 2015, India begins to emerge as the dominant growing market, which continues in 2016.

new internet users 2015

India alone saw 100 million new internet users—for both 2015 and 2016.

Two years running of the same rapid growth is impressive, and this rate won’t be winding down anytime soon: 65% of India’s population is still offline today. That’s 65% untapped market share. Various projects show that this country of 1.3 billion will see 1 billion mobile subscribers by 2020. In Brazil, too, 7 people are coming online for the first time every minute.

india 1 billion unique users expected in 2020 as emerging app markets

These trends present an opportunity for Google’s global product offerings. Engagement with certain of products are increasing in emerging app markets, with India, Brazil, and Indonesia ranking among top 10 countries with highest Google Search worldwide.

“It’s not just about where users are going to be,” Tal explains, “but where they are today.

3 Common Challenges Facing Emerging App Markets

As Mariya Moeva, Google Developer Programs Engineer describes, “these people [in emerging app markets] are going to be your future users.”

Although these markets vary drastically in culture, language, and GDP, the team at Google has found 3 barriers they have in common as tech users:

1. Wide Range of Devices

Many users in emerging app markets will use a second-hand device, which might not be up to standards of other markets. There are wide ranges of screen sizes, storage, and memory capability. (Mariya highlights that 33% of smartphone users in India run out of storage space every day.)

This is key when you’re thinking about testing your app on different devices and for thinking about size of required downloads (more on this later.)

2. Poor Connection Quality

Most users in emerging app markets are not connected all the time, and when they are, poor connection speed and stability are common. Case in point: half of users in India and 2/3 of users in Nigeria are still on 2G networks.

3. Very Expensive Data

Prepaid data plans are prevalent, with small packets of 5MB-10MB for sale at a high price point. Users in emerging app markets will use different tactics to budget their data.

This means thinking twice about the size of your app—even a “free” 40MB app download will cost users an average of USD $2 of data in India, so this is a major decision on the user’s part.

5 Principles Used By Google to Localize for Emerging App Markets

Facing these 3 challenges above, the teams at Google have come up with 5 principles to guide their localization efforts for these markets:

1. Remove Barriers to Your Product

remove barriers

“Before people even start interacting with your product,” says Mariya, “you need to remove the barriers for them to do so.”

The team at Google sees these 3 challenges as real obstacles to people even accessing their products, let alone in the app experience themselves. This means making sure your app is small enough for an affordable install.

Google’s Solution: Consider no install at all.

Google’s Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are responsive, light-weight apps that require no installs, have minimal download sizes, and can be accessible offline if the content is already preloaded. They combine the experience of a native app with web browser accessibility.

Twitter Lite, a PWA launched in April 2017 now receives ~1 million app launches every day in just a few months. It’s built specifically for emerging app markets, and Twitter has seen a 20% decrease in bounce rate since launch.

twitter lite pwa

2. Optimize for Speed

optimize for speed

As Mariya sums it up, “your load performance needs to be amazing.

These markets have low-quality connectivity, so faster speeds are low-hanging fruit. But making a faster experience overall might actually help you with the rest of your global expansion as well.

“You’re not special case-ing for a specific market when you make your product fast,” explains Mariya. “I have yet to hear anybody, anywhere on the planet, that is complaining that something is loading too fast. So if you make your stuff work for users in Indonesia on a 2G connection, your users in the US will also be super delighted.”

Google’s Solution: Prioritize faster loading and “page transcoding.” 

Mariya didn’t go into too much detail on Google’s page transcoding feature but judging from this page, it looks like an update on an experiment that goes back to 2010, where Google Search will automatically “rewrite” web pages to optimize for speed, keeping only the most relevant and important information on a page.

Kompas, one of India’s biggest newspapers, transcoded their page to consume 90% less, with optimized pages loading 5x faster.

kompas example

The result was a 50% increase in traffic. As Mariya puts it, “users perceive that everything loads much faster, they browse more. It’s a win-win for both sides.”

(Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages—AMPs—are another Android solution.)

3. Build for Intermittent Connectivity

build for intermittent connectivity

“Offline is a state in itself,” says Mariya. “We need to make sure that our stuff functions even when people are going in and out of connectivity.”

Not everyone in emerging app markets will have access to wifi—users will often go to public hotspots to download pages then spend the rest of their day offline.

We recommend enabling your app to work offline and/or be able to preload pages in advance.

Google’s Solution: Enable users to download when convenient.

We’ve probably all seen this cute dinosaur on Chrome at some point, right? When you’re trying to access a page or run a Google search while offline, you’ll be prompted (by the cute dino) to download the page later when you’re connected again.

offline page

4. Prioritize Multilingual UI

speak many languages

“In a lot of these countries, people use more than one language to accomplish their daily tasks,” explains Mariya. “They might do their homework in English, they might talk to their grandma in a different language, and they might use a completely different dialect at school.”

Prepare your UI to be translated well, and consider all unofficial and official languages that your users might want to use.

Companies like OneSky are the top choice for app localization by not only providing an end-to-end localization platform, but also giving you direct access to professional translators in over 50 languages that specialize in games and apps. Interested in knowing what languages are most popular? Contact sales@oneskyapp.com for a free consultation on where your next markets are, and how our localization services will help get you there. 

Google’s Solution: Ensure their product speaks many languages.

The team at Google Search found that their users in India would search in English on Google, but through Hindi words, so they optimized their UI to show both English and Hindi results side by side, with the option to switch at the top of their search results. This resulted in a 50% increase in Hindi searches on mobile.

multilingual

5. Guide New Users

guide new users

In these markets with emerging tech eco-systems, customer onboarding looks completely different than what we’re used to.

“A lot of these users are coming online in a completely different context,” Mariya points out. “So you shouldn’t expect that the product you have right now, with the UI and flow and the graphics, will fit their needs […]”

Specific functions that are part of our every day experiences might be completely foreign for a new user.

“A lot of [users] are coming online for the first time on their phone. They don’t have a lot of experience with desktop. A lot of them have never used email and they have different cultural expectations or color preferences.”

This is where localization—and making sure your app fits in with the local culture—plays an important part.

Google’s Solution: Dig deep into local user habits.

Google invests heavily in research on local trends and user culture to make sure they’re making products that can delight these new users. The Chrome default page, for example, is known for having a very simple UI—just a search box.

But the Chrome team found that some new users in different markets new to web browsing thought it was like “a big, vast, empty lobby” that was not welcoming and very cold.

What they wanted to see instead was to be surrounded by different options—so that’s exactly what the Chrome team did. They experimented with having favorite sites and articles related to what they’ve been searching, which felt more welcoming.

different home pages

Your App Should Be Global

Emerging app markets like India, ChinaBrazil, Nigeria, and Indonesia are experiencing major growth in new users. But they’re also facing very real challenges of early-stage tech infrastructure: poor internet connection, wide range of devices, and expensive data.

Hopefully these 5 principles that Google’s Dev teams use to localize their products for emerging app markets will help guide your strategy as well:

5 principles summary

Check out the full session here.

If you’re interested in the big picture of localization—from choosing the languages to marketing the finished product—download our step-by-step eBook, The Essential Guide to App Localization:


Download the eBook now!


About OneSky 

OneSky provides seamless end-to-end localization solutions for thousands of mobile apps, games, websites, and businesses worldwide. We offer professional translation services in 50+ languages and a translation management system (TMS) with API integrations and plugins to streamline your workflow. We hire and carefully screen our own translators to ensure the highest control over quality. Using OneSky’s powerful QA features, cross-functional teams collaborate efficiently to deliver faster release cycles and higher quality translations. See how you can go global at www.oneskyapp.com 

Android Tools for Building Global Apps: Localization Updates From Google I/O 2017

Are you an iOS developer, too?  Check out our coverage of this year’s Apple WWDC Developers Conference here. We’ll be back next week with more from Google’s developers team on the most exciting markets you should localize to, and how you should do it. Subscribe to our Localization Newsletter and be the first to know when we publish! 

Highlights from Google I/O 2017

Earlier this May, thousands of developers flocked to Mountain View, California for Google I/O 2017, the company’s annual developers conference. It’s one of the most anticipated events of the year for the tech community. Similar to other major developers conferences (like Apple’s WWDC, for example), the 3 days saw its fair share of product launches, feature updates, and sneak peeks at the latest technology Google’s working on.

Here are some highlights from this year’s announcements:

  • Google hits 2 billion active monthly devices running Android worldwide.
  • Big push for AI in many of their products, including automated “visual” translations through Google Lens on mobile coupled with Google Assistant and Google Translate.
  • Hardware updates, especially a game-changing AI chip, Google Home acting as a phone, and a preview of a standalone VR headset.

Localization Remains A Top Priority For Google

As a company dedicated to the mission of making the world’s information “universally accessible and useful,” Google is committed to giving developers internationalization tools to reach their global audience, no matter the language.

Google’s “Next Billion Users” initiative focuses on getting users online in emerging markets through Google’s smartphone technology. This means localizing their own products for these markets technically and culturally—as well as helping their clients do the same. Many of the localization updates from I/O 2017 center on tools for building light-weight mobile experiences for developing markets, such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia, where range of devices is limited, connectivity is low, and data is expensive.

build for your next billion google localization

If you’re interested in learning more about the technical side of Android localization, be sure to check out our Localization Academy, which will guide you through the whole process of localizing your iOS and Android apps, with sample codes included. 

Now let’s dive into the top updates for localization from Google I/O 2017!

1. Building Leaner, Faster Mobile Experiences

Android Studio 3.0 Canary was debuted at I/O ’17. This latest version emphasizes “speed and smarts.” It offers support for developing apps more efficiently, and enables development for Instant Apps, which would be more accessible to global emerging markets that have low or intermittent connectivity. (More on Instant Apps later.)

The latest version of Android O mobile OS, as previewed at the conference, has been optimized to run smoothly on entry-level devices found frequently in emerging markets. This means optimized battery life, startup time, graphic rendering—making it a generally more stable experience. (Google is also working to design their own suite of apps using less memory, storage, and data—often barriers to mobile in these markets—and encourages developers to do the same for their apps—see “PWAs” below.)

youtube go android

Android Go, a lightweight version of Android O, was officially announced in the Keynote as well. A successor of the Android One initiative from a few years ago, Android Go is Google’s latest effort to bring cost-effective Android smartphones to emerging markets. It’s designed to run on smartphones with 1 GB, or even 512 MB of RAM, and will feature a suite of lighter Google apps both in the platform (like YouTube Go above) and in the Play Store that run on less data and battery. (No word yet on accompanying hardware, but Google’s hoping to launch Android Go in 2018.)

2. No Installation? No Problem

Android Instant Apps are now open to all developers. These are apps meant to look and feel like a native app—without requiring installation, which can be costly and time-consuming for markets with poor or intermittent connectivity. They also minimize data usage and can work offline when pre-loaded.

android instant apps io google

3. All About Mobile Web

There was a lot of hype about Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) at last year’s I/O. They were again a focal point for this year’s localization updates. These are intended to be fast, lean, and reliable web experiences that promise to increase engagement in developing countries—and judging by the success stories, they’re hitting the mark.

google android mobile accelerated pages amp

4. Play Console Updates

Several new updates in the Play Console will make it easier to build for an international audience and keep track of your ROI across markets, including features and reporting on app performance, release management, and targeting a global audience. The analytics will contain pre-launch reporting and user acquisition analysis across different geographies—particularly powerful if you’re coordinating a multi-market launch for your localized product.

google play console update

Your App Should Be Global

Check back next week for our coverage of Google’s tactics for localizing to emerging markets, with some examples of how they’ve localized their own products. (Subscribe here so you don’t miss the update!)

If you’re interested in the big picture of localization—from choosing the languages to marketing the finished product—download our step-by-step eBook, The Essential Guide to App Localization.

Thank you for reading, and happy coding!
Download the eBook now!


About OneSky 

OneSky provides seamless end-to-end localization solutions for thousands of mobile apps, games, websites, and businesses worldwide. We offer professional translation services in 50+ languages and a translation management system (TMS) with API integrations and plugins to streamline your workflow. We hire and carefully screen our own translators to ensure the highest control over quality. Using OneSky’s powerful QA features, cross-functional teams collaborate efficiently to deliver faster release cycles and higher quality translations. See how you can go global at www.oneskyapp.com 

[Technical Tutorial] How To Localize Your Android App

onesky android localization tutorial cover

Ready to Localize?

Today, we’re excited to launch Part 2 of our free Localization Academy tutorials: a technical tutorial on localizing your Android app. 

Our Localization Academy tutorials are a roundup of the best tips we’ve learned from helping thousands of companies set up internationalization, translation workflows, and internal infrastructure over the years.

Go to OneSky Localization Academy now!

Why Localize Your Android App?

Since we first published our iOS Localization Tutorial, the positive feedback we’ve received has been overwhelming.

Our initial hypothesis, and the motivation behind starting OneSky Academy as a learning hub, proved true—there is a wide knowledge gap in the field of localization. As a result, app developers might miss global market opportunities because of a lack of technical knowledge.

With Android dominating 86% of smartphones worldwide and more than 2.6 million apps on Google Play, it’s never a better time to tap into the global Android app market.

We hope our new 3-part Android Localization Tutorial will prepare app developers and engineers everywhere with the resources to become technical localization experts.

What’s Inside?

Complete with sample code files ready for download, the free tutorial will guide you through:

  • Localizing .xml strings from scratch
  • Formatting plural and gender forms
  • Best practices in internationalization (i18n)

We strive to continue providing our community of readers with resources and best practices on all aspects of going global. If you have any other topics you think we should cover, we’d love to hear your feedback! Leave us a comment or email us at content@oneskyapp.com.

Next Up: Website Localization Tutorial

Curious about how to localize your website? Leave us your contact info on the form in Localization Academy and we’ll notify you by email when we launch our next tutorial.

Go to OneSky Localization Academy now!