3 Ways to Save Localization Cost for Your Apps

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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)

Patrick Yip

Patrick Yip is the former Head of Marketing at OneSky. Heavily attracted to any brilliant growth strategy, well-crafted content and the idea of making the Internet globally accessible.

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1 Response

  1. migrationtranslators.com.au says:

    To be accredited in Australia you need to demonstrate proficiency in the language pair that you are working with.

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