Translation & Localization Blog

Tag: Localization

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.


^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

^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

^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.

^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


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

Case Study: How journi Found the Right Localization Partner

With no shortage of companies that offer localization solutions, we often get asked, “How do I even pick the right localization partner?” Although there is no definitive answer, we recently sat down with the creators of journi to learn about their own initial struggles, and how they identified the key qualities required in a localization provider.

About journi

With the proliferation of smartphones, it has become increasingly easy to take hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and videos during each vacation. This shutter-happy mindset created a new challenge for consumers: finding an efficient way to sort through these memories. In 2014, the founders of journi recognized this opportunity and built an app that allowed user to quickly organize their vacation photos and turn them into beautiful stories and photo books, which can then be shared with family and friends. Using journi, you can even automatically build a rich and meaningful story out of 500 photos in as little as 90 seconds.

Localization in the DNA

For the founders of journi, localization was never an afterthought. Rather, with their goal of building a truly world-class app, it was a necessity from the beginning. When the team initially sought out the right localization partner, they identified three key requirements:

  1. Agility: As a start-up, journi operated on a two week sprint cycle. With changes that could happen up to the last minute, the team needs a partner that has the capability and flexibility to support their fast-paced operations.
  2. Quality: This often goes without saying, but poor translation quality can ruin any localization efforts. The founders of journi recognize the importance of partnering with professional translators who are also specialized in app development.
  3. Platform & Technology: With a small development team, journi simply didn’t have resources to dedicate to onboarding a complex localization system or platform. Whatever solution they chose had to be easy-to-use yet robust.

Initial Solution

journi initially worked with a different localization partner, but quickly realized that they were unable to fulfill the team’s requirements. For instance, the workflow proved to be quite cumbersome, given this vendor’s platform did not support screenshots. Consequently, journi had to upload screen by screen in order to provide translator an idea of what they are actually translating. This process significantly slowed down the localization workflow. In addition, journi found this vendor’s translation quality to be inconsistent and, therefore, did not completely trust them to move forward in languages that they were unable to review themselves.

OneSky’s Easy-to-Use API & Platform

After consulting with other startups who experienced successes in localization, journi selected OneSky to be their localization solution provider. The integration proved to be seamless this time around. As co-founder Andreas Roettl noted, “The OneSky API was extremely easy to understand and implement, and we were able to scale a lot quicker than we did before.”

Not only does OneSky provide integrations with key platforms like iOS and Android, but the translation management system is also designed to easily manage and maintain large amount of string files. With features like the OneSky Screenshot Widget, for instance, uploading screenshots is a breeze. (Learn how to upload screenshots attached to phrases ot OneSky here.) journi especially appreciates this feature since it enhances the quality of the translation. By allowing phrases to be tagged to specific screenshots, translators no longer have to second-guess their own work, as they know exactly what each phrase refers to.

Translation Quality & Consistency

The strive to provide the best-in-class localization solution does not stop at the OneSky platform itself. Andreas Roettl pointed out, “We can’t speak highly enough on the quality of the translations that we have received from OneSky over the last year. In the past, we’ve found that other providers may be able to do certain European languages well, but with OneSky, the quality has been consistent across all the different languages.” This consistency is achieved through the way in which OneSky runs its operation. Unlike many other localization solution providers, OneSky employs its own team of translators. This structure not only allows for better control over the translation quality, but it also ensures that companies like journi can request for their preferred translators, who are already familiar with the product and brand guidelines.

What’s Next

Now that journi is one of the most popular apps in Europe, the team is looking towards the East for expansion opportunities. With its headquarter in Hong Kong and access to many professional translators in different Asian languages, OneSky is perfectly situated to be journi’s localization partner.

OneSky has helped thousands of companies like journi enter new international markets with minimal hassle and expert translations and tools. Visit OneSky for more info on our products and services.

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 

A Step By Step Guide to Pre-translation

pre-localization-guideAccording to Daniel Gouadec, author of Translation as a Profession, the translation process is a series of translating activities involving three phases: pre-translation, translation, and post translation.

Daniel suggests that most translation problems and potential risks could be resolved by getting as much information as possible prior to a translation project. Therefore, investing more resources in the pre-translation phase is a more efficient way of managing risk than having to deal with different pitfalls during or after the whole translation process. Let’s take a look at how to do just that.

What is pre-translation?

The “Pre-translation Phase” includes everything that takes place up to the moment the translator receives all the materials and resources for translation.

In order to minimize risks in a translation project, translators and their clients should do a pre-translation analysis to clearly discuss terminological issues (e.g. glossaries, previous translations, audience profiles, tone of voice…etc) and technical issues (e.g. CAT tools to be used, previous translation memory, contextual resources…etc).

That’s a lot of stuff to discuss. How does a project owner get started and actually do all of that? Well, this blog post will guide you through all the major steps in the pre-translation process.

Step 1: Separate Text (Strings) from Code

Oftentimes, developers make localization complicated because they didn’t manage their apps’ UI strings properly in the first place.

Move all text into a string file

To make localization straightforward, always separate string resources from your code and markup to create a single language-independent codebase. Hard coding any strings will make it difficult to update and localize. Instead place all the strings into a resource file, like a .strings or .xml file, so your strings can be extracted, translated and integrated back into your app without any changes to compiled code.

Provide sufficient context for declared strings

When declaring strings in your resource file, make sure to describe the context clearly in which the string is used. For example, what is this string for? When and where is it showed to the user? Is it a button or a text box?…etc. This contextual information is critical to translators to produce better quality translation.

Mark message parts that should not be translated

Over-localization is a common source of problems. To avoid that, ensure that only strings that need to be translated are provided to localizers. And if certain parts of a string shouldn’t be translated to other languages (e.g. a piece of code, a placeholder for a value, a special symbol…etc), mark text that should remain as-is, so that translators don’t touch it.

Step 2: Make Sure to Support Plural Forms

The next very important step, but often overlooked, is making sure to support plural forms.

Project owners and developers, who haven’t been involved in localization projects in the past may not be aware of these very important linguistic nuances. Different languages have different rules for the formation of plurals. For example, English has two forms: a singular form for “one” (e.g. 1 book), and a plural form for “everything else, including zero” (e.g. n books).

This may sound simple in English, but other languages make finer distinctions. For instance, Russian has different plural forms for numbers ending in 1 (except 11), numbers ending in 2-4 (except 12-14) and other numbers.

While deciding which case to follow for a given language and quantity can be complex, linguistic plurals are a key part of creating high-quality multilingual products that are relevant to local cultures.

Step 3: Pseudo Translation

Pseudo-localization could be the most cost effective way of finding localizability bugs in usability and functionality because it gives you a dummy translation without the cost of a real localization project.

What is pseudo-localization?

It is considered to be a part of the internationalization testing process performed during the product development phase. Instead of professionally translating the content of the software right away, the textual elements of a product are replaced with a dummy translation. So your team can get a feel for what the localized product will look like.

What are the benefits of pseudo-localization?

It helps to find out how prepared your product is for localization. This testing method can reveal hard-coded strings that should be translatable, find strings that shouldn’t be translated, and identify design/layout issues that will affect the localized product in the future. Generally speaking, the earlier you can identify localization problems, the faster and less costly it will be to address and reverse them.

Different ways of pseudo-localization

Pseudo-localization could be done via script or a tool. Below are some common techniques for different localization objectives:

  • Replacing characters with Xs
  • Pseudoese (similar-looking diacritical characters)
  • Lorem Ipsum
  • String Identifiers
  • Simple prefixes/Suffixes
  • Machine translation

For the detailed benefits of each method, check out this blog post.

Step 4: Define Glossary Terms

In every project, there are usually a few key terms that define the product (e.g. “Like” in Facebook) that we need to make sure they are translated accurately and consistently in every use case. This is where a glossary – sometimes called a terminology database or termbase – comes in as it is specially designed for this purpose.

A good glossary eliminates ambiguity and serves as a guide to translators on how to manage key terminology. After generating a list of key terms (e.g. acronyms, names, titles or subject specific terminology) and providing a clear definition and proper context, project owners will work closely with translators to review and approve the final translations.

When translators are working in a CAT tool, these key terms will be highlighted together with the pre-approved translations which enhance consistency and accuracy each time a key term occurs. In cases where there is a high volume of repetition, it can save both time and money as well.

You may learn more about how to set up a translation glossary via this blog post.

Step 5: Use Translation Memory

Translation Memory is a translation tool used to monitor and assist with the translation process by storing all the content that have been translated previously. Similar to a glossary, Translation Memory maintains consistent translation throughout the project.

So what’s the difference between Translation Memory and Glossary? A Glossary is a guide for translators on how to translate specific key terms, whereas a Translation Memory automatically translates repetitive content, eliminating the need to re-translate the same text in current or previous projects.

During the pre-translation analysis, a Translation Memory is useful to calculate the estimated word count and costs for new or pre-translated segments. As a result, updating Translation Memories is a very important step after each translation project. They will not only significantly reducie translation costs and turnaround time but also improve overall translation quality in future projects.

Step 6: Create a Localization Style Guide

Many people mistakenly think that localization means to translate their content word-for-word. They didn’t know that in order to create a successful localized product, they should adapt their messages to the local culture and tone of voice. In other words, the brand sentiment shouldn’t be ignored during the localization process.

Therefore, project owners are recommended to prepare a localization style guide before starting a translation project. It works as a framework for translators to understand the company’s voice, personality, and brand goals. A consistent translation voice can be achieved if all the translators involved in the project follow these guidelines as closely as possible.

Typical elements in the style guide include:

  • Punctuation (spacing, quotation marks)
  • Branding elements (unique to the country or language)
  • Formatting (bolding, fonts, trademarks)
  • Localization or Adaptation (formal vs. informal tone, how to deal with currencies, addresses, phone numbers)

Learn more about localization style guide via this blog post.

Step 7: Prepare Screenshots as Contextual Information

In a poor organized localization project, translators have to work with anonymous strings in a translation tool without looking at the actual product, which increases the chance of contextual errors and excessive project management time.

As the project owner, if you don’t want your translators to do guesswork, you need to provide them with a sufficient amount of reference materials, such as screenshots. And if possible, it’s recommended to let translators use the actual product during the project.

Screenshots allow translators to see their works in context, so they can adjust the text length or translation meaning in the best possible way. The most helpful screenshots should be able to indicate where the associated strings are located on the screen and all necessary elements that may influence the translation process.

If you want to learn more about other ways to make translators’ lives easier, check out this blog post.


It’s true that setting up your pre-translation process the right way might take a little bit of time, but in the end it’s worth it and will produce the type of results that turn into successful localizated products and happy international customers for your company! If you want to learn more about how this can be applied in your own business, I invite you to get a Free Pre-translation Assessment below. We’re here to help!

Image source: Flickr

7 Facts You Should Know Before Marketing An App in Japan

7 Facts You Should Know Before Getting Into Japanese App Market

Did you know that Japan has the world’s most lucrative app markets? This isn’t exactly a surprise, since Japan is constantly one step ahead in the world of technology. Recent reports from App Annie and Distimo has shown that Japan has led the world both in app spending and in profit margins on mobile games since 2013. Naturally, many app developers are keeping an eye on the Japanese market, but Japan is not an easy place for foreign players to establish a new product.

Fortunately, we can help. Here are seven key facts you need to know if you’re wondering on how to market an app in the Japanese app market.

1. Japan tops App Spending Charts since 2013

The first lesson of bringing an app to Japan is that it can be very, very lucrative to do, especially since 2013, when smartphones in the country increased drastically from 28% to 42%. Plus, Japanese mobile users are accustomed to paying for digital content, so it was no surprise when total spending on smartphone apps skyrocketed.

Check out this chart (below) from App Annie, which shows how Japan produced almost $350 million of combined monthly app revenue across iOS and Google Play, surpassing revenue in the United States and pushing Japan to the top of the world app market.

2.  True Success = Highest Profit Margin

It’s not enough just to look at the revenue generated by a particular market. After all, for a business; what really matters is the profit margin. And in terms of profit, too, Japan seems to be topping the charts—at least according to a recent report from Distimo. With the world’s highest revenue per download and the world’s third-lowest cost per download, each app in the Japanese market will obtain on average, a profit margin of $4.48.

For foreign developers, those kinds of numbers are tempting. They’re also hard to achieve. In order to compete in the Japanese market, the main key is to analyze how domestic developers are managing costs and boosting demand for paid apps.

3. Five Key Domestic Players Sharing The Revenue Pie

With high revenue and high profit margins, Japan may seem like a developer’s dream. Still, it can be a difficult market to enter because just five major domestic players share a full two-thirds of the country’s app revenue. Equipped with strong local knowledge, extensive connections and a deep foothold in the app market, these major players make for some tough competitors. In order to thrive in Japan, it’s essential for app developers to consult with people, who know the country well. Japanese app developers, marketers, and localization experts can help you tailor your app to succeed in a competitive market.

4. Android or iOS? Neck-and-Neck Competition!

Good news for Android app developers: while iOS app revenue is still ahead of Google Play, the gap between the two platforms has closed quite a bit in Japan. However, with the largest mobile operator in Japan, DoCoMo, now offering iPhones, Apple’s smartphone market share reached 76% last year. Apple sales figures tripled Samsung in October 2013. For now, at least, iOS seems likely to have an edge on Google Play, but it’s a tough competition and maybe more so than any other markets.

5. Gaming as the Favorite App Genre

Are you trying to figure out what kind of app will be a hit in the Japanese market? One word: games. Puzzle & Dragons, a huge gaming hit in Japan, helped GungHo Online become the most profitable publisher of 2013 in Japan. Last year alone, the company reportedly earned $691 million through the iOS App Store and $820 million through the Google Play Store—altogether, more than $1 billion in revenue. GungHo’s success makes sense, because the company focuses on building games. And looking at the top 50 paid apps in Japan for both Google Play & iOS, over half of them belong to the gaming genre.

6. Japanese Language as the First Step in Localization

If you want to compete with the major domestic players in Japan, localization is essential. In particular, to develop a successful app for Japan, translation into Japanese is a must. Of the top 50 paid apps in Japan, 80% have developed a Japanese version to suit users better. Plague Inc. and Infinity Blade III are two examples of gaming apps that originated in the West and eventually came to top the charts—but only after finding localization experts to help translate and customize their app for the Japanese market.

7. Visual Items as another Key Concern

For western developers, localizing an app for East Asia involves far more than overcoming the language barrier. After all, the cultural gap isn’t just about words. Visual items in particular can work well in one market but fall flat, or even cause offense, somewhere else. David Ng, Chief Executive of the Singapore-based gaming company Gumi Asia Pte Ltd, shared his experiences in an interview with Global Post:

“In Puzzle Trooper, a game originally intended for western players, a character resembling the wrestler Hulk Hogan got some manga makeovers. When we started doing testing in Asia, we realized that they don’t really like the western art that much, then we tested with some more Japanese-looking art and the response was really good.”

Before settling on the details of your localization effort, it’s helpful to conduct focus-group research with Japanese app users, or to partner with a local design house. That way, you can figure out what parts of your app may or may not appeal to customers in this lucrative—and growing—market.

Learn More

Learn more about which app genres worldwide are localizing—and how your competitors are localizing—in our free data report:


Don’t miss out on localization resources and tips! Subscribe to our newsletter to learn the best ways to go global. 

How Evernote Reached 4 Million Users in China Within 1 Year



It’s a million-dollar question: how can tech start-ups gain access to China’s huge market? That’s not an easy question to answer. China is culturally unique, and its Great Firewall, along with the rapid proliferation of cloned products, can trip up even the smartest companies. Google and Groupon are two notable examples of companies that have failed to establish a foothold in the Chinese market.

Still, there are success stories. Take Evernote. After just one year in China, the popular note-taking app now has four million Chinese users. In this Localization Insight post, we’ll dig into the story of Evernote’s localization efforts in China, and draw out some key lessons for bringing apps to the world’s largest country.

(Photo: source)


An Easy-to-Recall Chinese Name

Evernote launched its localized service in China in May 2012. In a blog post announcing the launch, Evernote unveiled its Chinese brand name, Yinxiang Biji (印象笔记), which means Memory Note or Impression Notes.

Instead of translating its name based on pronunciation—as Google did (Gu Ge 谷歌)—Evernote chose to base its Chinese name on the app’s actual function. This makes it easier to relate the product to its uses. As a bonus, Evernote built a memorable pun into its Chinese brand. The second character of the brand name, 象, means “elephant”—which just happens to be the logo of Evernote, making the brand name easier to remember.

In another savvy move, Evernote chose a name that’s easy for Chinese users to pronounce. In general, “L” and “R” sounds are difficult for native Mandarin speakers to say (which means that “Flipboard” needs to take more efforts on its Chinese brand name). Yinxiang Biji, however, is easy for Mandarin speakers to say, and easy for them to remember.Chinese characters

(Image: source)


An Overseas Data Center in China

Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote, has noted that the most common request from users in China is for faster, more stable, and more compatible customer service. But because of the Great Firewall of China, Chinese users who want access to overseas networks have to deal with slow connection speeds. So, because data centers are often located outside of China, synchronization can be slow and frustrating.

As part of its effort to win customers in China, Evernote established its first overseas data center there. Apparently, the best solution to the terrible connection speed between China and the U.S. is to host the service inside the Great Firewall.


Security and Privacy for User Data

A common concern among Chinese technology users today is limited security and privacy online. When Yinxiang Biji was launched, its China team wrote an open letter to potential users, highlighting that they would adhere to the three laws of data protection developed by Evernote CEO Libin: user data would be personal, protected, and portable. The company has emphasized its dedication to securing the privacy of user data since the very beginning. Furthermore, users can still freely choose between Yinxiang Biji and Evernote International if they feel uncertain about Yinxiang Biji’s security.


Original Features in the Localized Version Can Be Accessed Quickly

After the launch of Evernote China (Yinxiang Biji), users complained that many features supported in Evernote’s international version were absent, such as Share (shown in the image below), the IFTTT Feature, and Toolbox. In response, after just a month Yinxiang Biji started providing applications like Evernote Food, Evernote Hello, Evernote Clipper, and Evernote Peak. Now, Yinxiang Biji supports almost all of Evernote’s integration.A screenshot of China's Evernote

(Yinxiang Biji supports Skitch, Penultimate, Web Clipper, Evernote Hello, Evernote Food, etc.)


Tailor-made Features and Integration in China

Besides including features that Evernote already has in its international version, Yinxiang Biji has localized its product with features and integration that are tailor-made for China. Since access to the 3G network is still expensive in China, Internet users prefer accessing mobile applications through WiFi. Accordingly, Yinxiang Biji includes a “sync only with WiFi” feature for users in China.

Just a few months after launching, Yinxiang Biji released its API for integration with local apps. The Yinxiang Biji app store, launched in December 2013, doesn’t just target international apps such as Pocket and IFTTT. It also integrates with local apps such as Weibo, Duoguo (a restaurant guide website), and UC browsers.

China's Evernote version

(Yinxiang Biji’s Trunk: link)

Yinxiang Biji has also integrated with Weibo and WeChat in an innovative way. Yinxiang Biji users can save their clipped content through their Weibo and WeChat accounts by simply creating an integral account. Outside of China, Evernote had offered this feature for Twitter users, but the tool was unpopular, and Evernote phased it out. Since it’s very popular to use messaging apps in China, though, Yinxiang Biji’s developers made sure to include this feature.

Screenshots of Evernote clipped in phone message app

(Images of storing article in Yinxiang Biji via WeChat: source)

Although Yinxiang Biji’s integration with local social media isn’t perfect—for instance, it does not yet support the sharing feature for social media—developers have been proactive in creating apps for local use.


Localized Marketing Strategies

Yinxiang Biji also has marketing strategies tailored to the Chinese market, with an official blog and Weibo, and with content that is specifically targeted to users in China. For instance, Yinxiang Biji has invited users to write about how they use Evernote to make traveling easier. That content is sure to be popular in China, where traveling is all the rage.a screenshot of customer's review of Evernote

(Travellers Using Evernote Campaign: link)


Localized Customer Service

Evernote also takes pride in its customer service. As mentioned, people in China are heavy users of messaging apps. To better serve its Chinese users, Yinxiang Biji supports real-time customer support on local social media. While international users won’t always get a response from Evernote’s official Facebook page or Twitter account, users in China will consistently get a response when they communicate with Evernote’s official Weibo and WeChat accounts. That kind of localized approach to social media and customer service ensures that Evernote will be more attentive to the needs of its customers in China.

China Evernote screenshot

(Yinxiang Biji’s official Weibo account: link)


How to Run an App in China

Edith Yeung, VP of Business Development for Dolphin Browser, recently told TheNextWeb that culturalization is the key to success in new markets. Entering new markets is not just about translating a language—it’s about having relevant content and relevant services that are attuned to the culture of a particular country. That approach certainly characterizes Evernote’s strategies in China. What they have done goes far beyond a simple English-to-Mandarin translation.

From watching Evernote closely, we’ve come up with four major lessons for anyone trying to enter the Chinese market.


1. Think Global from Day 1

According to Libin, Evernote’s leaders have wanted to reach out to China since their early start-up days. Thinking globally for your app from day one is important, both in terms of product design and business development. Bringing your product to the world shouldn’t just be an afterthought.


2. Localize, Don’t Just Translate

Translating your app is just the first step in reaching out to new markets like China. You have research the new market, understand the environment, and develop integration strategies that are suited to a given culture.


3. Know that Chinese Users Are Chat App Addicts

In China, there are many issues you have to cope with: censorship, new user habits, competitors, lax copyright enforcement, and so on. But, as Evernote demonstrates, a few clever strategies, based on a careful observation of customer preferences in China, can help you reach new users. In particular, remember that messaging apps are very, very popular in China—much more so than in the United States. Integrating your app with local social media is a good start in bringing your product closer to Chinese users.


4. Get the Perfect Chinese Translation for Your Brand Name

Brand name translation is not about getting something exotic to put on your logo. Your brand should already have value even before people hear the translated name. And the name shouldn’t just be a direct phonetic translation—it should be something that will be memorable, appealing, and easy to pronounce for Chinese customers. To use a Chinese idiom, having a good brand translation is like getting the dragon a pair of eyes.


Your turn!

Is your product available in China now, or are you planning to bring it here? Do you have anything to share? Feel free leave your comments below!

More Resources

[Analysis] What to learn from @Evernote “China Strategy” & Execution – Another extensive analysis of Evernote’s strategies in China by Chenyu Z. Provides some excellent detail on WeChat-Evernote integration.


Localization Insight is a blog post series written by OneSky that offers cutting-edge insights into localization in the mobile and web application industries. Please stay tuned by subscribing to our blog!


Reference: Geekpark (in Chinese), Techweb

Featured photo credit: Connie Ma

15 Tips to Motivate Your Crowdsourcing Translators

For many crowdsourced translation projects, the most challenging problem they encounter is how to motivate their crowdsourcing translators. To move people’s heart is not easy, but there are some ways that work. In this blog post, we share 15 tips to increase your volunteer’s incentive to engage in your localization project.


Love Cannot be Forced

The mechanisms of crowdsourced translation are love and loyalty. People do not engage in your project for monetary rewards, but for their fondness. However, it is difficult to turn your users’ love into concrete and solid contribution.

Free Rider Problem

This is a classic Economics 101 issue. As with all public goods, people are tempted to await for the release of native language support without translating a single string.


To solve the problems, it is important to know the psychology of motivation. There are, in general, three push factors for people to engage in things without monetary rewards:

  •  Recognition
  •  Growth
  •  No hardship



Recognition is a basic human psychological need. People want recognition and positive feedback from others to acknowledge the contribution of their work. Otherwise, people may feel that their efforts are wasted or doubt its meaningfulness.


Knowing things are growing, whether it is their project or themselves, is good sign for people to continue their work. It shows that there is some prospect in their piece of work that is worth putting effort into.

No Hardship

People tend to avoid pain and hardship, especially when they are working as volunteers. Make sure the atmosphere is not filled with boredom and bitterness.


Here we offer fifteen ways to improve participants’ incentive based on the three push factors mentioned above.


#1 Show Genuine Need for Their Help

When you establish a localization campaign, you should set your goal clearly (what languages you want to translate, why, and by when). Arouse the compassion in your users’ hearts. Show your need for them.

#2 Set Up a Leaderboard/Hall of Fame

Create a publicly accessible page on your site where people can see how much your volunteers have contributed. Sort them accordingly. This can promote an atmosphere of playful competition (see #14), as well as recognize volunteers’ contributions.

(source: facebook)

#3 Thank Them Regularly

A leaderboard is only a static page. No one knows who is topping the charts without clicking on the link, so you also need to thank your volunteers regularly by sending e-mails or making announcements. Tell them that this project won’t be making progress without their contributions. You could also highlight the contributors of the month and show your gratitude.

#4 Announce the Progress Regularly

In addition to making e-mail announcements about progress, you can announce progress publically. Tell the public how your translation project has gone so far. Celebrate the achievement of any milestones of your campaign.

#5 Write Their Stories

Another way to recognize your contributors is to write stories about them. Interview them. Listen to their experiences with your product. Hear their motives and joys of translating your product. Your translators should be bilingual/multilingual users, and they may come from diverse backgrounds.

#6. Give Them Unique Branded Gifts

You may also offer your translators some branded products that are unique to the campaign. Lovers of your product would also love to receive a mug or t-shirt printed with your product’s logo.

#7 Adopt the Contribution Rapidly

It is a strong positive signal for users to see their contribution published. That’s the biggest recognition of their work. So apply contributions more rapidly. Sometimes you don’t even need to release the translation upon completion.


#8 Use a Progress Gauge

A progress gauge can be used to show the percentage of work that has been done to date, and how much is still needed to meet the goal. Update the progress gauge regularly to let your users know how things are going.

(photo: source)

#9 Quantify Their Contributions

Use point system to turn translators’ contributions into quantifiable indicators. They can view how much they have done each time they login. It is a growth parameter for them.

#10 Promote Dedicated Contributors

Make the job of volunteer translator like a career path. Grant some special access rights to those contributors who are very devoted to your project. For instance, give them the right to approve the final translation before it is released. You can even promote them to be the community managers who have the authority to approve new registrations, set policies and norms, and resolve disputes. People love to have increased impact on a community that they care about.

#11 Offer Official Certificates

Offering certificates may benefit the career development of some of your volunteers, such as translators and interpreters. Send them official certificates from your organization with the details of the nature and the quality of work they have contributed. Certificates should look highly professional. This solution can attract users from the translation profession.

No Hardship

#12 Ask Them to Vote

This tactic allows a variety of involvement in your crowdsourced translation project. Some of your users can be passionate readers, but they dislike translation work. To bring these users into play, have them vote for the best options of translations, as opposed to actually translating material themselves.

(photo: source)

#13 Make your translation UI more tempting

Some users may hesitate to help if they see a myriad of strings to translate, since they may prefer making a few translations only. You can still use these volunteers by making your translation UI contain fewer translation strings. The best format would be simply an original string and a box to place a user’s translation. Once they have started contributing at a pace that is comfortable for them, they may be more open to contributing more.

#14 Set Up a Competition

Competitions and games can add a little fun to your crowdsourced translation project. You can make use of suggestions #2 and #5, sending gifts to the best or most prolific contributors in the game.

#15 Double Your Rewards Near Completion

If you are looking for a last resort to boost the progress of your project when you are near your goal, you can double the points or rewards for translation of the remaining 10% or 20% of content. It can boost volunteer  engagement, especially when combined with competitions (see suggestion #14).

We would love to know if you have any comments or any tips to share with us. Please leave your comment below! 🙂


Feature Photo Credit: opensourceway

The Secret of Monetizing Messaging Apps by Localizing Emoji

Craving for emoji globally

Did you not use any emoji in your online conversation today?

Emoji have spread around the world while it began as a Japanese phenomenon (Thanks to Apple’s introduction). Asian chat apps like Line and WeChat prove that selling emoji stickers can be a highly profitable business. Western rivals such as Facebook are also joining the craze in the past few year. Although selling

Although selling emoji stickers seems promising, there are other localization challenges that we have to avoid, especially if an app is going global. Read this blog post to learn more.

The little things that make huge money

Emoji are not just for fun. It is a killer feature that can make millions of dollar.

In 1990s, the creator of emoji and Japan’s largest mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo produced a series of best-selling pagers after they introduced a heart symbol in their messaging function. Nevertheless, its core customers were gone soon after NTT DoCoMo removed this feature in newer models.

Heart emoji – the first emoji in history

The Japanese messaging app Line monetises sticker as one of its major revenue channels. In Line, some of the stickers are for free, but others may cost around 170 yen (about $1.75) for a pack of 40. The total delivery of these sticker messages is tremendous. Line says now its users send more than one billion stickers per day. The sales of sticker alone have contributed around $10 million in revenue to Line. Line has become one of the fastest-growing messaging apps in the world with more than 230 million users internationally.

Line achieves so much success with emoji stickers

The making of sticker also creates a lot of business opportunities in collaboration with artists and businesses, including Sanrio and The Walt Disney Company Ltd, and attracts more users and fans.

The emoji craze is due to the attractiveness of image-led communication. Performics shows that photos is the most engaging type of media on social media. Tessa Mansfield, senior vice president at research firm Stylus, suggests that communicating via emoji has created a kind of “digital slang” and “personalized conversation” for young teens.

Localization errors in emoji that even Line and Apple made

Confusing content to particular cultures

However, if an emoji is not well localized, the content may lack user’s sensibility, and lead to low usage.

Some emoji, like heart icon and smiley, are universal. But for many of them, their content is still biased towards Japanese culture. It tends to confuse many non-Asian users.

For example, a popular sticker pack in Line which is called salaryman, consists of pictures about the daily routine life of a typical white-collar businessman in Japan. This set of emoji works well in Asian contexts, where crazy working hours and commuting are not rare, it lacks sympathy in North American or European contexts.

Line stickers are popular in Asia, but look confusing to some westerners.

Low respects for ethnic diversity

Cultural sensitivity and respect for ethnic diversity are important in a globalized world. We all understand that.

But even Apple made mistakes on it. In the collection of 800 emoji in iOS, there are only two emoji portraying non-Caucasians. One is a turban and another looks vaguely Asian. None of them are black people.

Apple’s emoji set lacks Black people

There’s a petition on Do Something asking Apple to introduce a more diverse roster of emoji for the iOS7 emoji keyboard update. It calls for at least four characters with darker skin tones in the next update.

How to localize emoji right

Localization is not just about translation. It is also about adapting into local culture to meet local need.

That’s why cultural sensitivity in localization is important. Cultural sensitivity refers to the comprehensibility and cultural appropriateness of a product. There are four ways to improve cultural sensitivity.

Be diverse

Emoji are human-like images or icons. We should deal with emoji’s cultural issues as how we do for human photography or filmography.

Discrimination against gender, ethnicity, sexuality and even impairment should be eradicated when designing emoji. Check the number of emoji and stickers about different social groups and make them more balanced.

Study communication cultures

Understanding of local norms is the key to localization success.

Facebook discovered that the way Asians use emoji is not simply to express emotion. The context where the emoji is placed is also important. For example, a face on a beach with the sun glaring means they are happy, but not that they are attending to beach.

In US, however, only the emotion of the face on the emoji matters, not surroundings. So more explicit tone of emoji is needed in Western context.

Collaborate with local brands or artists

Collaborating with local businesses and artists is a short cut of localization success. Line, for example, is proactive in this aspect. To consolidate its 15 million user base in Spain, recently Line scored a

To consolidate its 15 million user base in Spain, Line scored a partnership with Spanish football clubs FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. After installing Line and connecting with specfiic accounts, you will receive stickers featuring the two football clubs for users for free.

Sticker of Messi on Line

Allow customizing emoji

If a chat app has open culture in code, it may also allow users to customize emoji. Remember what MS Live Messenger did for emoticons in the old days. Let local creation meets local demands.

Corporate messaging app Slack is doing it right. It allows users to customize emoji that is unique to their user group. It helps add humor and localness among work communication.

There are apps that let users create emoji. MyEmoji Creator allows users turn photos into emoji in messages as well as share them via social media.

But again, customization can be a two-sided blade. Remember to do the best practices in preserving cultural sensitivity when allowing customization.

Build a killer chat app by doing localization right

Nowadays, 80% of Line’s users are from overseas markets, including 18 millions in Thailand and 17 million in Taiwan. Mr. Morikawa, chief strategy and marketing officer of Line, attributes its global success to its localization efforts. As mentioned above, collaboration with local firms is important to Line’s development of emoji and stickers.

After all, native content is king. The more local emoji is, the more successful the messaging app is in the local market.

What’s your take on localizing emoji? Any funny example that you came across? Please feel free to let us know below!

Feature Photo Credit: Gizmodo

3 Ways to Save Localization Cost for Your Apps

Save Money

How to save on localization cost

Imagine that you are a taking a cab to sightsee in a foreign place. You tell the cab driver where you want to go. When the bill meter keeps beeping, your mind keeps worrying. Finally you get there, pay the bill, and just realize that you want to go a little bit further. But then the driver tells you, “sorry you gotta pay again”. What words come into your mind? Stupid, or…?

Some developers may share such experience when they attempt to get their apps localized. They feel like paying too much when they submit their string files, as they are not familiar with the target language and the process itself. Particularly when developers have to modify their product, localization becomes a recurring task to them. A penny saved is a penny earned. Here we share some tips to save your translation cost, especially for start-ups at their earlier stages of business.


During product design and product development

#1 Use placeholder

Placeholder refers to an expression or a symbol where substitution may take place by some literal string. For example, a website might want to display “Welcome back, John” to the user whose name is John whenever he revisits the website. In the code file, you’ll see something like “Hi %s”. The symbol “%s” then serves as the function of placeholder. Since placeholder is simply a dummy variable, it would not be translated throughout the process of localization.


With good use of placeholder, you can save the cost rapidly.Here’s an example. If you would like to translate the following text

“You just jogged for 30 minutes. Keep it up!”;

“You just jogged for 25 minutes. Keep it up!”;

“You just jogged for 25 minutes. Keep it up!.”;


If you use a placeholder to merge the three sentences into the following string, you can save up to 66% of the translation cost.

“You just jogged for %d minutes. Keep it up!”;


Before string submission

#2 Eliminate duplicated strings

Before submitting the resource files to your translation solutions, you may have to check your string deliberately to avoid strings being duplicated. Translation agents are like cab drivers – they only count the quantity of words for pricing. If you submit the same string twice, that means you have to pay double. So the advice to lower your cost is to check your strings again before clicking the “send” bottom.

Nevertheless, be cautious when you are checking the duplicated strings because the same text may contain different meanings. For example, the word “italian” may refer to a language, a form of culture or a nationality. Therefore, you also need to take a look at the usage of the duplicated strings upon checking.


For future updates

#3 Use translation memory

For future updates or revision, you may look for translation service provided with a feature called “translation memory” to reduce the translation cost. Translation memory is a solution that auto-detects the new content of the updates. Repeated phrases can be kept and remain consistent across all translated content. By doing so, you can save the translation cost and reduce manpower to check duplicated keys.

(Reference: Wikipedia) (Photo: source)

3 Tips to Localize Your Mobile Apps


It is no doubt that mobile apps localization can reach out markets in different languages and thus boost downloads. With the help of professional translation and localization solutions, app developers do not have to learn any foreign languages to localize their mobile apps (just to know the whole localization process and a few technical reminders and more).

However, to localize a mobile app does not simply mean to turn words into other languages. Developers also have to make sure the user experience is up to the standard when their apps are in different languages. Here we offer some localization tips on mobile apps usability.

Add Independent “Language Setting”

Some users would like to use apps in non-native languages. The reasons are various. For people working at a multilingual region (like Switzerland, Canada and Hong Kong) or overseas, they may prefer to use apps in different languages for work purposes. Language learners also love to do so for study. So it would add much value to user-friendliness of your apps if there is a language setting option.

Beware of Your App Layout Design

The purpose of layout design is to organize the content of you app in a neat and stylish way. Nevertheless, if you are going to translate a mobile app into another language with different character type or style of spelling, your layout design may be broken and lost some aesthetic value. We have previously talked about which language you should pay attention to and why, so here’re some solutions. (1) The best practice is, of course, to create a multilingual layout design at the very beginning. (2) If it is not an option, you may need to condense your content by lowering the length of your strings. It can avoid translated content from destroying your layout structure. (3) If you still can’t avoid this, you may have to consider creating an alternative layout design for a different language display.

Check Language Consistency of Your App

Lastly, you should also check the language consistency of the translations. Smooth and effective communication relies highly on consistency. If an app is translated badly, inconsistent wordings may create opaque reading and even miscommunication to your users. To improve the language consistency, you should keep a glossary for your apps and hire translators who have worked with your before. You may also want to consult your translation service provider for advice. Remember, bad translation is worse than none.

If you have other tips to improve the user experience in mobile app localization, feel free to let us know in the comment section!

(Photo: source)

Localization – a way to become a featured app on iTunes

You are a small team of developers and wondering how your app can beat those top developers’ apps and appear on iTunes App Store as a featured app? Carrot, a new productivity app that just got into the featured list, may have some insights for you.

Carrot, developed by Hong Kong startup Innopage, is an app where you can track and reward yourself for achieving your life’s to-do, goals and endeavors. Just like many of the developers out there, the next thing to do after shipping your app is to think of ways to attract more downloads and to climb up the different country top charts.


Downloads increased by 800% after localization


After reading researches showing that a lot of country top charts are dominated by apps that support the local language, Innopage decided that localization was the way to go to capture more international downloads. To begin with, they translated their app into 6 languages other than English, including French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.

The result was very encouraging, just a few days after adding the above translation, downloads increased by 800% and the overall rankings in the above countries jumped significantly.


Became a featured app on iTunes after localization


Localization did not only help Carrot increase its downloads. Just a few days after adding the localized versions, Carrot became a featured app in iTunes App Store for 48 countries!

App featured on iTunes after localization

Keith Li, the CEO of Innopage, said “I will imagine that we, as a very small team based out of Hong Kong, wouldn’t be possible to get featured worldwide unless we do all those translations”.


Translating your app is easy with OneSky


Keith mentioned that the whole translation process was much easier than he expected. Using OneSky, all he needed to do was to upload his .strings files, choose the languages and our system would automatically parse the file to extract the human readable text and send them out for translation. With OneSky, you can forget about all the time-consuming file format conversions and you don’t have to worry whether the translators can handle those complicated code files.


auto-parsing of resource files


“Another reason why we like OneSky is that there are many built-in features that help ensure translation quality. For examples, I can create a list of glossary terms and attach screenshots to provide more guidelines to translators. There is also an automatic placeholder validation system to ensure our translation contains no missing / misspelled placeholders. And the platform makes it very easy for me to communicate with the translators to clarify issues,” said Keith.

The whole translation process took less than 2 days to finish and Innopage could simply download the completed translation in ready-to-use resource files format and plug them into their app directly.

 With this promising result, Innopage is now planning to translate their app into more languages. Love the app and would like it to be translated into your language as well? Send us an email at and we will forward your voice to them!

More about Innopage

Innopage ( is a multi-award winning, fast growing and leading Mobile Applications Developer specialized in iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Smart TV applications development.

Innopage is a member of Hong Kong Cyberport Incubation Programme, and had received support from Hong Kong government’s Innovation and Technology Fund.


More about OneSky

OneSky ( is a cloud-based translation management platform with the mission to become the easiest way for companies to go global. We offer advanced technology to streamline the localization process for websites, mobile apps, softwares, social media & documents.

  • Professional translation service for 40+ languages

  • Manage your own translators & collaborate easily with our web-based translation editor

  • Crowdsourcing solutions to engage your users in the localization process

Translation made easy – our simple yet powerful promise to you. Contact us at for more info.