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iOS Localisation: Fixing the Last-Mile Problem

It’s the era of the apps. Every stream of life is flowing in the app wave. There is an app for almost everything we can think of. App stores like Apple are evidently showing the boundless potential that right apps have – both regarding adoption, as well as revenue generation.

While most leading app stores will have policy/guidance terms and pointers to help developers navigate this extraordinary pool of opportunities, most developers miss one very vital building block in an app’s journey. No matter how intuitive, UI-easy, need-oriented and agile you conjure your app to be, it will stop just an inch short of reaching its desired segment if you miss iOS localisation.

Yes, iOS developers can release apps across any or many of the 150 countries there with a single click but what about making sure that these countries peel off the product well and are not stuck unzipping the language sleeve? What use is a great product if it lies unnoticed inside the carton? Most of the countries you are releasing the app towards may not have native English speakers, and here, your app would be pointless irrespective of how sturdy, fast and visually appealing it is.

If you indeed want the app to be user-friendly across the full spectrum of a store, first things first, you need to internationalise it adequately. That means your app should be designed with a reasonable level of international compatibility so that areas like date/time/number formats; text input; time zone differences; user interface, output processing, etc. are amenable for use in user’s native language, no matter what that is. The code should be approached with this angle throughout the development phase and not as an afterthought.

Once the code is shaped well for international tweaking, then you should leverage this ability for effective localisation as per a specific user base. That means taking help from translation companies to convert the app’s user interface and core parts into a language that applies to a given user or culture.

It is advisable to undertake the app’s testing for various settings and situations with the use of translation experts, tools and pseudo-localization. Keep in mind that this process is much more than merely exporting some text and giving the app just a shallow-repackaging for a new language. This process should be well under the hood and deeply handled. It can also be done before the app is fully ready so that additional iOS localisation and specific audio-imaging elements can be aligned as the app proceeds.

Expert translation companies can make it possible to do parallel localisation work and import that intermittently into the project and then test the app throughout every language and UI scenario.

If a developer or a software maker can spend a little, proactive attention in this direction and employ the right translation resources, the app can not only garner enviable app-store ranks but will also be an instant favourite among its intended audience.

After all, user experience was and still remains the ultimate test for any app and software’s actual stability and adoption. It is an acid test, and when apps fail to take cognizance of the language aspect in the UI picture, they will, sooner or later, fail this gate eventually. Think about it: why should a great app slip to catch the user’s eye just because it is in a different language – language used to be a big barrier earlier, but not anymore. What’s the use of being in the app economy and the 21st century, if we let language be a speed-bump even now?

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