Translation & Localization Blog

Tag: Mobile apps

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 

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:


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Testing Mobile Apps in New Markets



Test the Waters without Spending a Dollar (Almost)

Why do startups hesitate to go global? Two reasons come to mind. One: budgets are tight, and there’s a perception that building a multinational brand will require some serious cash. Reason number two: failure seems all too likely. Startups are risky, and it can be daunting to venture into a new market, especially one with a different culture and a different language.

We don’t think these reasons are especially convincing. Stepping into a global market can offer huge dividends. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, or require reckless risk-taking. With crowdsourcing technology and localized app descriptions, you can test new markets cheaply, and then figure out the best way to turn your app into a worldwide competitor. In this post, we’ll show you two simple, flexible ways to test out new markets for your mobile apps.


Take My Money: Crowdfunding

A good crowdfunding platform, such as Kickstarter, can help you gauge demand in a new market. It can also help you build a loyal customer base overseas—a customer base that feels invested in your app, and that’s ready to help spread the word to other potential users.

One startup that has used Kickstarter’s model to expand its market is Everlane, an online retail brand that sells designer goods such as cashmere sweaters.

In an interview with Makeway magazine, Everlane CEO Michael Preysman explained that his company was looking for an affordable, effective way to expand to a new market—in this case, Canada. They decided to use Kickstarter’s crowdfunding model in order to search out potential customers and get customer input on their products and ideas.

So Everlane launched the #CrowdFundCanada initiative. They built a custom crowdfunding page, set a $100,000 goal, and offered rewards for contributors at different tiers.

(The crowdfunding website of Everlane)

After three days, Everlane had raised $50,000. At the end of the 17-day campaign, that number had swelled to $117,720, sourced from 1,400 different contributors. Crowdfunding didn’t just give Everlane the capital it needed to expand into a new market. It also helped them build a core group of customers in Canada who were both early adopters and committed investors.

Testing the Waters: Localized Product Pages

In a previous post, we talked about the importance of global app store optimization, which provides a quick and cheap way to market your app to customers overseas. You can also use this strategy to test the reception of your mobile apps in a new market. Before you spend time and money on translating the content of your app into a particular language, a localized product page can help you gauge how users in new markets will respond to your app.

App descriptions are short, so localization is cheap. Using OneSky’s translation service, you can localize your app description for the Japanese, German, Korean, French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian markets for just $350, total. It’s an affordable, effective way to test your mobile apps in a new market. For more tips on using Global ASO, including choosing which markets to enter first, and how best to localize your keywords, check out this blog post.

For a great case study of a company that has used Global ASO to test its mobile app in a new market, take a look at AutoCAD 360, a free app for drawing and drafting. For each new market, the AutoCAD 360 team has localized their product page as thoroughly as possible. Every unit of measurement, username, currency, and text label on screenshots has been customized on each of AutoCAD’s product pages.

The result is a product page that will seem natural and appealing—downright local—to users around the world.

When you’re using a localized product description to test your mobile app in a new market, you’ll need some metrics in order to get a sense of how well your app is doing. Otherwise, your campaign won’t be a SMART one. When it comes to metrics, here are your two best options:

  1. Number of downloads. This is the clearest signal of how potential customers are responding to your app in a new market. Once you’ve localized the product’s page, keep a close eye on how many people are actually downloading the app.

  1. When possible, try to see how many people have viewed your app’s product description within the app store. Google offers measurement tools that let you gauge how your localized product description is attracting views. You can learn more about Google’s campaign measurement tools here, and check out the parameters here.

If your metrics indicate strong interest from a particular market, you may have to step-up your in-app translation efforts.

Two final tips: make sure to note in your app description that the app is still in English. Otherwise, non-English speakers are likely to delete your app and post a negative review. You’ll also benefit from keeping a close eye on customer reviews in order to understand the market potential, and to see if there are particular areas in which you might want to improve your localization efforts.


Some Added Benefits

The beauty of crowdfunding and localized app descriptions is that they let you reach early adopters. The people who are likeliest to join your crowdfunding campaign, or check out your localized app description, are likely to be well connected and tech-savvy. They’ll be inclined to give you feedback about your app, and, if they like it, to tell other people about your product. Crowdfunding campaigns in particular can turn customers into collaborators: people who feel invested in your app, and want to help you spread it to a new corner of the world. Ideally, these early adopters will become vocal evangelists, ready to spread the word about the quality of your app.


Your Turn!

How have you tested apps in new markets? What strategies have you found effective to help your product reach customers overseas? Let us know in the comment section. We love to hear from you! And, if you want to keep up to date on the most effective tools for bringing your app into a multilingual marketplace, please subscribe to our blog.

Reference: Make Way, TheNextWeb

Feature photo credit: Nat Finn

Global App Store Optimization: High ROI Mobile App Marketing

A Guide to Global App Store Optimization

Many People Forget that App Stores Are Worldwide

When more than 60% of consumers find apps via app store search, high visibility in app store search results is a key to success.

While everybody knows about the importance of App Store Optimization (ASO), many developers neglect a simple fact — app stores are not only local but also global distribution channels. Right now, the two largest app stores in the world, the iTunes App Store and Google Play, are available in over 130 countries and support over 30 languages (Much to our excitement, OneSky just became a recognized 3rd party localization vendor by Apple). Imagine what would happen if your app ranked #1 in every single app store in the world. Irresistible, right? In this post, we’ll show you how to master the process of global app store optimization.

icons of world maps

Global ASO: Cheap and Fast, with a Huge ROI

Global app store optimization lets you connect with your international users, while optimizing your search results in app stores across the world. If regular ASO seems magical—after all, the benefits can be extraordinary—then global ASO is nothing short of miraculous: cheap, quick, and with a huge ROI. It offers you access to markets all over the planet.

Quick and Cheap

App descriptions tend to be short, and, because you don’t need to translate a lot of words, global ASO is pretty cheap. You can localize your app store product page for a few different languages without breaking your budget. Short descriptions also mean fast turnaround. Both crowdsourced and professional translation solutions should take less than a week to translate your app product page.

Huge ROI

A high return on investment for international ASO is just about guaranteed. Most of the world’s mobile users don’t speak English, and global app store optimization makes you visible to the crowd. Make App magazine recently found that keyword localization could increase the download of an app by 767%.

And, even if users do speak English as a second language, they’re likelier to read and respond to things written in their native tongue. A recent survey from Common Sense Advisory found that 72.4 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product with information in their own language. Global ASO allows the awesomeness of your app to come across naturally and fluently in a multilingual market.

How Do You Get Global ASO Done Right?

In order to optimize your app for a global audience, you have to localize a few key elements of your app store product page.

Localizing Your App Title

Localize your app name if you think it’ll help users understand your app better (users might only see your app name instead of the whole app description in search results). However, some developers might prefer to keep the app name untranslated for branding issues. You can accompany your the name with a catchy, translated phrase that’s embedded with localized keywords. That way, searchers will know how great your app is from the very first look.

Localizing Keywords

Keywords are short, but they are critical to ASO, so you need to make sure that they are translated as accurately and strategically as possible. When it comes to keywords, be sure to hire reliable translators, and make sure that they have a good sense of your app. They’ll need some context in order to do the job right.

The best way to localize keywords is to make use of ASO analytics tools. These tools automatically suggest optimized keywords for your app. Fortunately, some ASO analytics platforms cover international data as well. Sensor Tower, for instance, is a company that offers ASO tools for iOS app developers. They also have tools for international keywords research. These tools allow you to keep track of which localized keywords your competitors are using, to optimize your keyword lists, and to check the difficulty of your localized keywords. For more information, check out this Sensor Tower blog post on global app store optimization.

Sensor tower logo

app data search traffic chart


Search Man is another ASO company that offers keyword suggestions for both iOS and Android app developers. Their market research tools contain app store data from the iTunes App Store and Google Play in the UK, US, and Japan.

A screenshot of Facebook app


Localizing Your App Description

Your app’s description plays a key role in ASO, because that’s where you’ll actually use the optimized keywords. The best way to localize your app description is to give the set of optimized keywords to your local copywriter or translator, who can then write an attractive app description in his or her native language.

If you’re using OneSky’s translation platform, you can make use of the “glossary” feature to assign keywords. You can define all your optimized keywords as glossary terms and explain the priority of these keywords. Check out this blog post to learn more about our glossary feature. A screenshot of OneSky's glossary

Which Languages Should I Start with?

After learning about global ASO, you’re probably wondering, “So where should I go first, China or Japan?” Instead of picking your target languages based on a gut feeling, we suggest that you try out two approaches to prioritizing your localization efforts.

Competitor Driven Approach: Sensor Tower Internationalization Scorecard

For iOS apps, you can use Sensor Tower’s internationalization tool to compare your progress in internationalization with your competitors. The list made by Sensor Tower shows whether an app’s description, title, language support, and keywords are localized in specific countries. You can compare your app’s internationalization with a specific app, a specific category, or all apps for a country. Sensor Tower also provides the distribution of the user bases in countries. You can compare your global efforts with other apps to see if your move into a new market has been successful. A screenshot of Sensor Tower, Angry Birds data

Cost-effectiveness Driven Approach: OneSky Localization Grader

Another approach to prioritizing localization is by cost-effectiveness—pay the least money to reach the markets with the greatest potential. For both iOS and Android apps, you can use our localization grader tool to calculate the cost-effectiveness of localization. This tool also assesses the localization progress of your app description.

A screenshot of OneSky localization scorecard of Angry Birds


We let you analyze the cost-effectiveness of localizing your app description by showing you both the cost of translation and the size of the potential user base. We group the countries in which iTunes App Store and Google Play are available into three tiers, based on 5 criteria – number of mobile users, download volume, tech-savviness, preference for local language and willingness to pay. Tier 1 countries are usually early adopters with mature markets, and they don’t require serious marketing efforts. Tier 2 countries are those with huge markets, such as the BRIC countries, that may require more marketing efforts to gain access. Localizing your app into Tier 3 countries implies that your localization is a full-fledged global effort.A screenshot of Onesky's localization scorecard


What It Means to Go Global

I hope you’ll keep exploring the magnificent potential of global app store optimization. The earlier you start to go global, the more successful your app will be. There’s also something deeply satisfying about expanding to new markets and coming into contact with brand new customer bases. Localization lets you become part of a culture of innovation and global connectedness that’s changing how the world works. Iris Shoor, established Autocad 360 and now a co-founder of Takipi, shares her excitement about app localization of Autocad 360, on TheNextWeb:

Some of the most exciting moments I experienced in my startup were interactions with users I never imagined I would be able to reach. Hearing about how my app is used to build a school in Honduras, preserve a historical site in Xian or redesign a village in Russia meant the world to me.

I think your app can do the same. Let’s change the world!

Other Resources about Global App Store Optimization

OneSky offers some other guides to app description translation in stores other than the iTunes App Store and Google Play. Check out these links for more info:

How to add localized app description to Google Play?

How to add localized app descriptions using iTunes Connect?

Reference: TheNextWeb, Sensor Tower Blog, MobileDevHQ Blog, Mobithinking

Feature Photo Credit: PhotoAtelier

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 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)

Amazon has begun its expansion of the Appstore in China

In April, Amazon announced that its Appstore would expand internationally to support nearly 200 countries and developers can submit their apps for distribution in these countries to reach millions more active Amazon customers. And it looks like Amazon has begun this expansion in China already. You can visit Amazon’s China Appstore here.

If you would like to distribute apps on the Amazon Appstore, simply sign up by visiting the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal.

Wondering what apps are already utilizing the Amazon’s China Appstore and what apps are popular there? App Annie, a mobile app analytics company, has recently added China to their Store Stats ranking for Amazon. There, you would be able to view the top free apps and top paid apps for China on the Amazon’s Appstore.

Amazon Appstore in China

Translating your apps is important to success in China

As discussed in a previous blog post on the effect of localization, mobile apps users in China have a strong preference for their local language (Simplified Chinese). So a key to success for your mobile apps to enter the China market is to translate your apps.

By looking at the chart below that summarizes the importance of localization in different countries, you can see that in many countries, the app top charts are dominated by apps that offer local language support. This applies to both free downloads and revenues generated by apps.

For instance, close to 70% of free downloads in China are from apps that support Simplified Chinese. And if you look at the revenue side, the effect is more prominent – approximately 80% of revenue generated in China are from apps that support Simplified Chinese.


The importance of localizing your apps in different countries


Translating your app can be easy with OneSky, see how.



China overtakes U.S. to become the top smart device market

According to the data released by Flurry, China has overtaken the U.S. to become the top smart device market (in terms of the number of active iOS and Android smart device, including both smartphones and tablets) in the world.

In January 2013, the number of active iOS & Android smart devices were roughly the same in China (221 million) and the U.S. (222 million). But with the much faster growth rate in China, Flurry estimated that China would surpass the U.S. by the end of February 2013.

Flurry also commented that they believed China would continue to take the lead due to the huge difference in population for the two countries (China population is over 1.3 billion while the U.S. population is only over 310 million).


Active iOS & Android Devices, U.S. versus China (millions)


The below chart also shows that the U.S. and China are way ahead of other countries in terms of number of active iOS & Android devices. For instance, the U.S. and China each has over five times the number of active iOS & Android devices when compared to the U.K., which is the third largest smart device market in the world.


Countries with greatest number of active iOS & android devices (smartphones and tablets)


Localizing your app is important to capture the China market

As discussed in our previous blog post, users in China generally prefer apps that support their local language, which is Simplified Chinese. According to the studies by Distimo, roughly 70% of free downloads and roughly 80% of app revenues in China are generated from apps that support Simplified Chinese.

The importance of localizing your apps


Translating your app is easy with OneSky.

  1. Simply upload your resource file (e.g. .strings for iOS apps, .xml for Android apps, etc.)
  2. Select your target language(s) and pay
  3. Download the translation in ready-use resource file format
    • For any subsequent update, simply upload your resource file again and our platform can auto-detect what are new –> never translate the same thing twice!

It’s really that simple! Learn more.


Image courtesy of Deleket at

How to get better translations for your mobile apps

Researches have shown that apps in most countries are dominated by apps that offer local language support (see our previous blog post on the impact of mobile app localization for more stats). So the first step to get more international users is to speak their languages by translating your apps. Getting better translations for your mobile apps is a start and can help you gain international exposure as well.

But whether localization and translation can help you increase download volumes also depends on the quality of your translations. A poorly translated app might give a bad impression to potential users instead of helping you to gain more downloads.

To get high quality translations for your app, there are a lot more to consider other than simply picking the right translation agency / freelance translators. Below is our number one tip on how to enhance the quality of your mobile app translations.


Tip #1 – Provide an easy-to-handle file format for translators


Not all translators are comfortable with translating code files directly.

Even if the translators or translation agency that you’ve picked are experienced in translating code files, most of them would charge you more if you send them the code files directly to compensate for the added complexity.

One way to solve the above problem is that you could ask your developers to extract the text from your code & convert them into easy-to-handle format, e.g. excel. However, this could be a very time-consuming process if your app contains lots of words (don’t forget you still have to copy & paste the translations back when the translations are done.)

To save time, you could use SaaS like OneSky. Using OneSky cloud-based translation management platform, you simply have to upload your resource files (e.g. .strings for iOS apps, .xml for Android apps) and the system can automatically parse your files to extract the text and convert them into easy-to-read strings on the online translation platform.


Auto Extract Strings



Then, translators simply need to translate directly online on OneSky translation platform (you can order professional translation service from OneSky or simply invite your own translators to contribute). And with OneSky’s built-in placeholder validation system, all placeholders would be highlighted for easier identification and translators would not be able to submit a translation if there are any missing / misspelled placeholders.


Placeholder Validation

When the translation is done, you’d be able to download the translation in ready-to-use resource file format.

With the help of OneSky platform, not only translators could work faster and concentrate their effort on the actual translation work instead of dealing with the codes, it also helps to eliminate your risk of getting back a bunch of unusable codes when the translation is done.

“Translation made easy” – the tagline of OneSky translation management platform.



Image Courtesy: Stuart Miles at