Mobile Localization: Why it Is Important

by | Jun 26, 2020

Today, businesses are expanding their reach like never before thanks to the digital tools that consumers are using, including mobile devices. When you have a geographically diverse organization, localization of your website is crucial to achieving international success. However, consumers in many countries are using mobile over desktop, so it is also essential to focus on mobile localization. 

  • Localization is not the same as translation. Translation is merely a linguistic tool and a subset of localization. Localization breaks down cultural barriers and speaks to people in ways that they understand.
Mobile Localization: Why it Is Important 1

Who Is Using Mobile Devices?

More and more people across the globe are using mobile phones. Currently, it is estimated that this number stands at over 5.19 billion, with user numbers up by 124 million (2.4 percent) over the past year. Mobile now accounts for more than 50 percent of total internet use.

In 2018, China led the way with more mobile users than any other country (over 850 million). India came in second, although it has less than half as many mobile users as China. These two countries will continue to top the smartphone user rankings because their growth potential is enormous due to a relatively low smartphone penetration rate.

Mobile Penetration as an Economic Indicator

The smartphone penetration rate serves as one indicator that can be used to measure how advanced the economy of a country is. For example, a penetration rate of more than 70 percent is common in countries with highly-developed economies. Outside the United States and Western Europe, smartphone use is highest in South Korea, Israel, and Australia. More than 80 percent of the population in these regions is using a smartphone. 

Benefits of Mobile Localization

In many developing economies, many people do not have access to desktop computers. However, these consumers are accessing the internet and doing so via their mobile devices. So, if you are aiming to reach consumers in countries where mobile is the preferred way to connect with the internet, you must pay attention to effective mobile localization. The following are the benefits that will be reaped:

Global Reach

A majority of the world’s population does not speak English. Moreover, even where English is spoken, some people understand the language only with difficulty. Thus, if you ignore mobile localization with respect to language, your market size will be reduced drastically. 

Happy Customers

Nothing gives your business more of a boost than great customer service – customers value companies that value them. When you customize and deliver content that appeals to your target consumers, it increases trust in your brand. Mobile localization will show your customers that you respect them and are willing to go that extra mile to meet their needs. Happy customers make for great business.

Better Marketing

A single marketing campaign for a group of different countries cannot encompass the linguistic and cultural differences of all your intended customers. Phrases and words in one language can mean something else in another. This also applies to brand names.

  • Example: In the 1980s, Fiat decided to name its latest model Uno based on what the word means in Spanish, namely Number One. However, Uno in Finland means idiot, which did not inspire the Finns to purchase the car. 

Reduction in Costs

Localization should be carried out alongside the development of your website and your app, not after. Developing your app all over again because you just thought of your Japanese, French, or German customers will be tedious, time-consuming, and expensive. Setting aside a small portion of your app development costs for mobile localization will turn out to be profitable in the long run.

Return on Investment

Your investors will be pleased if you show them a positive revenue growth indicating that your business is on the right track. Mobile localization leads to an increase in app download volume because customers can use it in their own language. More downloads mean more revenue, and more revenue means more investment. It’s a win-win for all stakeholders.

Appeal to the Locals with Mobile Localization

It might seem that releasing your app in an overseas market is simply a question of making sure that the text is translated correctly. However, the reality is that app preferences in different regions of the world will differ. Also, your target customers will place more value on experiences that feel personal, so an app that’s just a translation may not translate to success. So, it’s important to realize the value of taking that extra step to localize your app for each new market. Here are six steps that will help your app connect with users in a variety of markets.

  1. Choose the Right Markets – Do your research to uncover the best possible markets for your app. You need to concentrate on data, such as mobile usage, revenue from apps, and payment methods.
  2. Consider the Culture – Cultural differences will impact the way people interact with their devices – e.g., for shopping, social media, gaming, or banking. Tailor your app to match local behavior patterns.
  3. Customize Your App – Evaluate your app’s design with respect to graphics, style, colors, tone of voice, functionality, and payment methods. Depending on the market, connectivity issues could also be challenging.
  4. Be Aware of Language Preferences – Countries as diverse as Canada and India have more than one official language. Other languages, such as Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic, have distinct regional dialects.
  5. Test Before and After Launching – After you’ve translated and localized your app, have residents in your target area test it with devices that are in everyday use. Look for any errors in your text, formatting, and presentation.
  6. Pay Attention After Launching – Keep on eye on your post-launch ratings and stay on top of any issues that you discover are affecting users. Pay special attention to reviews, and don’t let any problems persist.

Automate Mobile Localization

At Localize, we understand the challenges associated with mobile app translation. That’s why we make it easy for you to translate your mobile app without the hassle of managing strings and spreadsheets. Book a consultation with us today to see how we can help you with your mobile project.