Investigating App Localization
I’ve been investigating localization of my apps. During my research, I’ve run across a few interesting tidbits:
- Apple does not appear to localize the names of their apps. Pages for example is still displayed as “Pages” when I switch my iPad to Español.
- I’ve yet to find compelling evidence that app developers see a significant increase in sales due to localization. There are a lot of studies showing the growth of Apple hardware sales internationally, and overall app sales growth potential for countries that are not English speaking. Though nothing that shows I started with an English language app with x sales before localization, and saw a significant increase after. I have to wonder if the growth potential is for developers who create apps in their native language, rather than translated ones.
- Localization is a slippery slope. You can start with just an App Store description, but I suspect this leads customers to believe the app itself is localized. If the app itself is localized, are customers also going to expect localized documentation and support?
I can appreciate that users who don’t speak English probably want apps in their native tongue. In theory, localization should only help sales. But there are also implications, particularly for an indie developer. While I’ve been told Apple’s approach to localizing is better than most, I’m finding it fairly tedious to port an existing app. There’s also expense with hiring professional translators, and setting appropriate expectations with global customers.
Do you have experience or insight?