multimedia localization Archives - Into23

A brief guide to mobile app translation

Working on a mobile app and want to have it translated? Here’s what you need to know to get started. 

Did you know that 84% of the world’s population owns a smartphone? Smartphones have transformed our lives, and a large part of that has come down to mobile apps that have been created to make our lives and customer and business interactions easier, more efficient, and more convenient. If you’ve got an app that you want to take global or reach a new target audience in a different language, mobile app translation or app localization is a feature and service you should look into. Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips to get started in translating your mobile app. 

Why app translation is important

Cartoon app store UIs – Photo by 200degrees on Pixabay – Caption –“Mobile applications are now a part of our daily lives. Apps are more likely to be used if they are in the native language of the user.”

Apps are used for just about everything now, with the average smartphone user using around 10 apps per day and around 30 apps per month. If you do business in any other language other than English, getting your app translated is an effective way to increase your business within a set market. A study by Distimo in 2012 found that translated apps saw a 128% increase in app downloads and a 26% increase in paid subscriptions for those apps that had them. Now, these stats from 2012, imagine how much more these numbers would be in 2022. 

While mobile app translation may sound as simple as translating content from one language to another, there is much more to consider. 

Can I just Google Translate my app?

You could, but there are many good reasons why you shouldn’t. While machine translation in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s missing an essential part of any quality translation, which is the proofreading and copy editing that comes from a human translator. Machine translations cannot consider cultural nuances and can still make obvious grammatical errors that can ruin any good mobile application. 

Related: Why Google Translate Isn’t Effective Enough for Business

Mobile App Translation and Localisation 1

So, what should you do if you want to translate your mobile application effectively?

Application localization

Mobile app translation is a necessary part of entering a new language market. However, translation in and of itself is very limiting. This is where mobile app localization steps in. Localization transforms and translates your product so it carries the same meaning and tone in the language it’s being translated into. It considers the cultural, geographical region, beliefs, local regulatory standards, and values of the target area in the translation process. It’s an adaptive review of your product to make sure that every aspect of the platform is suited to its new region. 

Here are a few areas that are often included in app localization,

  • User interface and general design
  • The tone of content and general appearance
  • Customer support base and contacts
  • Multimedia translation and localization, including images, audio, fonts etc.

Tips for simplifying the translation process

Mobile App Translation and Localisation 2

Photo by Elf-Moondance on Pixabay – Caption – “If you’ve never localized an app before, here are some important factors to consider.”

The first step in translating any app is to know your target markets thoroughly. This includes knowing your target users and their behaviour, along with proper market research. It will also require a substantial amount of project management and setting clear goals and outcomes of what you expect from the translation of your app. Here are some tips and suggestions to get you started on your software translation.

Separate translatable resources


Resources such as text, images, audio etc, that have executable code should be outsourced. This makes it so that content can be changed efficiently without having to change the base executable code of the app.

Keywords and SEO

Just like with websites, keywords and SEO are important for apps too. When you’re localizing, you need to consider your keywords, too and determine what words will work best in the regions you’re looking to enter. This localization of keywords will give you better rankings in app stores. So be sure to perform local word searches and know who your competitors are, along with what words, tone, and strategies they’ve used. 

Related: Why website translation and multilingual SEO optimisation are important for your online business

Text expansion and/or contraction


Depending on what language you’re translating into, text expansion and contraction are necessary for apps since they’re often used on small-screened devices. For example, English to Mandarin Chinese contracts by up to 20-50%, while the opposite occurs from English to German, with the text expanding anywhere from 10-30%. Not taking these factors into account when translating your app can result in serious user interface issues.

App store optimization


If you’re looking for an additional reason to localize your mobile app, both Google Play and the iOS AppStore can detect if you’ve localized, which can increase your app’s ranking. Further, by optimizing your app for the app stores, you’re increasing your chances of your app being successful. For example, when people are looking for an app, the first thing they see is the app name, meaning it’s important to have an app name that is descriptive and attractive. Both app stores also allow for a short description following the name, so use this to increase your ranking in app store results.

Quality assurance testing is a must


Having a linguistic QA specialist do proper QA testing on your app after the localization process is essential for a seamless app launch. QA testing ensures that your app works on all devices and platforms and that the translation work you’ve put into your app is flawless. QA testing ensures a better ROI, especially since users are less likely to use and engage with a glitchy or buggy app.

Work with an app localization service

If this guide has shown you anything, it’s that there are a lot of considerations, extensive planning and research that are needed to go into a successfully translated mobile app. To get the best out of your mobile app investment, it’s important to work with a language translation technology company that can take you through the translation process.

Into23 offers multilingual translation services for mobile app localization, software localization services, website localization and more. With international experience and a specialization in Asian languages, Into23 can help you mitigate risks and increase your ROI when entering the global market on any translation project. Contact us today to find out how we can meet your translation and localisation requirements.

The 6 keys to effective eLearning translation in Asia

The eLearning industry is projected to be worth 181 million USD by the end of 2025, with an annual growth rate of 12.26% per year. Driven by the widespread adoption of eLearning platforms by educational institutions and employers around the world, as well as the increased popularity of online course providers, eLearning made the jump from supplementary service to primary platform in 2020.

The industry has continued to grow in 2021, as workplaces expand their online skills training platforms and commercial eLearning providers more effectively engage their users with gamified app experiences, data driven personalized services, advanced modules, microlearning (short bursts of platform access) and content optimization, including the use of audio and video.

The expansion of the eLearning market drives service providers to offer their programs in multiple markets to reach new audiences, which requires the use of eLearning translation services and website localization. The pace of development in the industry has resulted in increasingly complex platforms with more content, which makes effective translation and software localization challenging, considering the scale and scope of material to adapt.

Machine translation services are ineffective in this context, considering the nature of the application. eLearning translation not only requires attention to detail, but also an extensive level of quality assessment in order to ensure that course materials effectively engage users. Linguistic QA specialists can identify and evaluate the lexical and grammatical options which make the difference between efficient progress through course modules and ambiguity that can challenge users’ patience.

eLearning platform design in any language carries inherent cultural connotations. Everything from curriculum planning to content and the layout and user interface has a culturally specific context in the original language and culture that the module is developed for. This comprises the source language and content. There are six elements which make all the difference between successfully adapting to different cultures and lessons ending up lost in translation.

  • Text
  • Images
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Layouts
  • Graphics

Text: The basis for eLearning platforms and modules

Text is the simplest but most important aspect of eLearning translation and software localization. Opting for simple machine translation  is unlikely to provide accuracy, and while machine translation with post-editing ensures a level of quality and consistency, it does not  provide a framework for cultural context and therefore has limited scope for localization.

Cultural context often accounts for variations within same language. For example, people from Hong Kong use an English transliteration for the word strawberry,  (士多啤梨)  while in other regions it is translated as 草莓.

While Cantonese is spoken in Malaysia, local lexical variations arise from from Hokkien, Hakka and Malay influences, which contribute loanwords like (play) which in Hong Kong is written . There are also considerable variations in pronunciation.

For eLearning platforms,  the most efficient translation and localization solution when faced with cultural variations within a single language is to identify the most important market and develop the eLearning translation accordingly.

It is important to consider which language to use for localization in Asia: most content localized for the Malaysia market is in English. However, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Mandarin are widely used in Asia.

While there is considerable regional variation in Chinese language usage, the cost effective approach is to develop eLearning translation and localization for the most important market.  Articulate Rise is a widely used course authoring tool for eLearning platform developers. Rise 360 is well suited to text-heavy courses, which can be challenging to translate into multiple languages. We can quickly and efficiently process translation and localization for all courses designed with Articulate Rise.

Audio and Video: professional eLearning voiceover services

Multimedia localization in particular requires a solid understanding of regional and cultural context in the target market, in order for audio and video content to effectively supplement the text. Articulate Storyline is a streamlined multimedia content solution for eLearning platforms, and we can effectively process and translate all assets from Storyline 360 projects.

elearning voiceover services and multimedia localization

Localizing the text provides a basis for the eLearning voice over, which should also be developed for the most important market.

Planning, developing and organizing a workflow for high quality translation of text, video and audio between completely different languages requires expertise and experience with  providing localization and translation services.

Images: Visual learning and culture

Visual content in images and video should also be assessed for cultural relevance. While American Football imagery effectively conveys concepts to North American audiences and translates reasonably well in Europe, it may distract Asian learners who are less familiar with the sport and might not intuitively grasp concepts illustrated with quarterbacks and goalposts. Sports like soccer and tennis are more culturally neutral and help make content more easily localized across markets.

Layouts and Graphics: The culture of colour, and how it affects UX

Image and text elements should also be maintained separately, in order to avoid difficulties with translating and localizing images with text. Videos should ideally have captions set up as distinct elements in order to streamline translated versions. The design language for video caption and user interfaces should ideally provide a degree of flexibility, because colours have different associations in different regions and cultures.

For example, the colour red indicates passion in Western cultures, while it is associated with prosperity and luck in Asian cultures. In South Asia, the colour the colour orange is associated with the Hindu religion, while in the Middle East, green is associated with Islam. Streamlining colour configuration settings makes for an efficient eLearning localization strategy. Designing elements with flexibility and configurability in mind is an important step for eLearning platforms to take so that they can effectively translate their content for different markets with software localization services and expert translation services. Another efficient approach is to opt for culturally neutral design elements in order to effectively serve a wider eLearning audience.

eLearning translation and eLearning localization go hand in hand. Unlike legal language translation services, culture cannot be separated from language in an educational context. While marketing transcreation is an essential aspect of adapting an advertising strategy which would certainly enhance eLearning platforms, the scale of eLearning projects are generally best served by cost-effective localization and multilingual translation services with specialized eLearning voice over carried out by experienced professional translators who can optimize your platform and efficiently scale the reach of your services while ensuring they are effective for every user.

Into23 provides comprehensive eLearning and localization services with unmatched quality, speed and value in Asia. Our translation system supports Articulate Storyline and Articulate Rise content, which streamlines the setup of translated and localized courses. We can deliver a complete portfolio of course translations in any number of languages you require, including all audio and video content, in one go. Our clients never have to worry about keeping track of 25 different translations and coordinating launch dates. In Hong Kong’s English to Chinese translation services market, attention to detail and appreciation of cultural context is key to effectively serving markets.

Our experience in the region, global partnership networks and passion for language and culture enable us to develop effective solutions tailored to the scale of your project.