Why All the Hottest Brands Are Translating Apps

Your app already has global distribution—users worldwide can find it, download it, and review it. However, is your application global-ready? Has it been properly translated and localized by experts? Are you in a position to make changes as required and on demand? While effort spent translating apps may seem time-consuming and potentially overwhelming, the world’s biggest brands are already on board. Here are 10 key statistics driving this trend:

1. Going Up!

According to the new e-book “Must-Have Stats for Global Mobile Marketing,” there is no stopping mobile device adoption. Right now, there are almost 7 billion mobile subscriptions across the globe, which amounts to 75 percent of the world’s population. By 2016, this number will reach 8.5 billion—and then keep rising. Big companies and small startups are on a level playing field in this new app market. New users emerge every day, and the right app localization tools can make sure your application stands out from the crowd.

2. Keep Things Flowing

As noted by a recent GALA blog post, language is often described as the “new oil.” The piece notes that without properly translated and localized content, “everything grinds to a halt.” This is especially true considering the bulk of mobile growth is occurring outside of English-speaking regions. For example, by 2016, Africa and the Middle East will overtake Europe as the second-largest region for mobile subscribers. The bottom line? Without multi-language app support, companies will be left high and dry.

3. App-Specific

Beyond global shifts in mobile device adoption, there is also a trend in developing nations to skip landline phones and broadband connections in favor of mobile-enabled devices. This means applications may be the first and only way brands can communicate with potential consumers in these nations. As a result, great localization is key.

4. On the Way Down

Smartphone sales are still strong in North America, but International Data Corporation research indicates while the worldwide price of mobile devices is falling—down to $265 by 2017—users in Asian markets will pay significantly less. Meanwhile, Americans will have to shell out twice the average global selling price by 2017. In an already saturated market, this points to a significant slowdown. In other words, if you skip translation in hopes of grabbing more North American market share, time is running out.

5. Get Simplified

Big brands are already reaching 1.3 billion more people by translating apps into simplified Chinese. This is a separate written form of language used in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Mainland China. Adding simplified Chinese support to your app instantly widens your potential market.

6. No English

If you’re looking for another 1 billion smartphone users, consider Indian language localization. While there’s a common misconception that most people in India speak at least some English, that only applies to 150 million of the country’s total population. Instead, opt for support in Hindi, Telugu, Bengali, or one of six other popular dialects.

7. The Same, but Different

Meanwhile, in Brazil, it’s tempting to translate apps into Portuguese and hope for the best. However, the variety of Portuguese spoken in Brazil is different from that of Portugal. By adapting to local language idioms, you can reach up to 200 million more consumers.

8. By the Numbers

Sure, translating sounds like a great idea, but does it really pay off? According to a Distomo study, absolutely. For example, localizing iPhone application text prompted a 128 percent increase in downloads per country, and companies enjoyed a 26 percent revenue boost in each of these locations—all in under a week after translation.

9. Don’t Get Fooled

It’s often tempting to think that free translation apps such as Google Translate could be viable substitutes for robust translation software options, but according to The Independent, that’s not the case. While free apps are great for reading menus or carrying on basic conversations, they will “never pick up the nuances, the cultural references, or the humor,” according to Ariane Bogain, a senior lecturer of modern foreign languages at the University of Northumbria.

10. Time Is Running Out

One year ago, the average company translated apps into three languages. Now, the number has doubled to six. With countries such as Nigeria boasting 522 spoken languages and a rapidly growing mobile device market, this number will only increase. The message? Big brands aren’t waiting to localize using great software and expert translators—and you should follow their lead and get your app global-ready.

Worldwide mobile statistics tell the tale. Apps that aren’t translated won’t perform. To go global, you need to get local. Learn more about how your company can increase its global app impact.

Image source: Bigstock

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About Doug Bonderud

Doug Bonderud is a freelance technology writer with a passion for telling great stories about unique brands. For the past five years, he's covered everything from cloud computing to home automation and IT security. He speaks some French, is fluent in Ancient Greek and a master of Canadian English — and yes, colour needs a 'u'.