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Mobile App Localization: 10 Strategies for Multilingual Support

  • By Hidden Brains
  • May 24, 2023
Mobile App Localization

Mobile app localization – What it is, why it is important, and how it works? Probably these are your first question if you are entering into the app development process. 

But more importantly, why mobile app localization has become a central topic of discussion among businesses? 

In today’s interconnected world, mobile apps have become a vital tool for businesses looking to expand their reach and engage with a global audience. However, to truly connect with users from different cultures and regions, mobile app localization is paramount.

But the central question is what is mobile app localization?

Mobile app localization refers to the process of adapting an application to meet the linguistic, cultural, and functional requirements of specific target markets. It goes beyond the translation, taking into account nuances in language, user interface, design, and even local regulations. 

By investing in app localization, businesses can unlock a world of opportunities, allowing them to cater to diverse markets, increase user satisfaction, and ultimately drive greater success in the global marketplace.

Before you hire a mobile app development company in the UK, you must have doubt in mind that how it will affect your app’s success. Let’s get a quick answer…

How Does Mobile App Localization Impact Your Apps’ Success?

Mobile app localization plays an important role in driving the success of your app, both from a technical and business perspective. Before that, let’s check out the quick video.

Let’s discover the Technical standpoint…

  • Mobile app localization offers a seamless user experience by presenting content in users’ native languages and adapting to their cultural preferences. 
  • Furthermore, a report by App Annie revealed that localized apps have significantly higher user retention rates, with users spending 2.4 times longer in apps that are available in their preferred language. 
  • This not only enhances user satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of positive reviews and recommendations, leading to organic growth.

Now let’s jump on a business perspective…

  • A mobile app localization opens up new market opportunities and boosts revenue potential. 
  • By localizing your app, you can tap into these untapped markets and gain a competitive edge. The App Annie report highlights that localized apps generate 120% more downloads as compared to apps available in a single language. 
  • This increased visibility and accessibility result in higher user acquisition rates and improved monetization prospects through in-app purchases, subscriptions, or advertising.
  • Moreover, mobile app localization demonstrates a commitment to global users, fostering trust and credibility. According to a survey by CSA Research, 56% of consumers consider localized content as more important than price when making purchasing decisions. 
  • By customizing your app to different regions, you demonstrate a genuine understanding of users’ needs and establish a stronger connection with your target audience. This ultimately leads to increased user loyalty, positive brand perception, and higher user lifetime value.

It’s no doubt that mobile app localization can deeply impact the app’s success, but the caliber of its implementation can have a major effect on the success and profitability of the app. Since app localization is a complex and continuous process, it makes sense to hire a software development company in the UK that can help you right from the beginning of the project. 

While developers usually aim to launch an app quickly, in various marketplaces to gain a competitive edge. But to successfully gain the advantage, businesses need to implement top mobile app localization strategies from the very start. 

Top Mobile App Localization Strategies for Internationalization and Multilingual Support

If you are looking for ways to expand your reach in global markets and want to enhance user experience, then it is worth looking at these top mobile app localization strategies…

1. Plan The Localization In Advance

Planning to incorporate mobile app localization is not always required to plan in advance. But when localizing it for internationalizing and multilingual support, you need to determine whether your text will grow or shrink in the future.

Different regions required different language support and need different spaces in the design. For instance, an app translating text from the English language into French or German can result in a 25-35% text expansion. On the other hand, converting text English into Swedish can result in a 25 to 35% text contraction. 

Mobile App Localization

Image Source: lokalise.com

So you need to plan well in advance what regions you will be targeting. To simplify your research you can hire app developers in the UK that help you identify target markets, languages, and cultural preferences, and plan for necessary changes in code, design, and content to accommodate multilingual support. 

2. Modify The Codes To Suit the Different Needs of Different Locals

Adapt your codebase to handle the variations in language, date formats, number formats, and other regional requirements. Implement dynamic formatting and localization functions to ensure a seamless user experience across different locales.

There are a wide range of localization tools that you can use to easily make changes in the coding such as:

  • ICU (International Components for Unicode) – An open-source library that offers APIs for handling text, date and time formatting, number formatting, and message localization.
  • gettext: It helps extract translatable strings from the source code, manage translation files, and handle runtime translation lookups. It supports various programming languages like C, C++, Python, and more.
  • Android Localization Framework: If you’re developing an Android app, you can directly hire an Android app development company in the UK that uses open-source Android localizing frameworks to handle multilingual support.

These tools help simplify the process of modifying code to accommodate different language requirements, handle localization-related functionalities, and provide a seamless multilingual experience for your app users. 

3. Using 4-Letter ISO Codes To Implement Localization

Consider using a locale, including 4-letter ISO codes, rather than just language codes, to account for regional differences and provide a more tailored experience.

For instance, suppose you specify “en” for English as the language code but fail to consider variations between English-speaking countries. 

What if you want to display different content for customers in the United States (en_US) and the United Kingdom (en_GB) to align with their cultural preferences?

Mobile App Localization

Image Source: phrase.com

Similarly, if you want to display USD as the currency for customers in the United States and GBP for customers in the United Kingdom, incorporating locale settings becomes crucial. 

By using 4-letter ISO codes, such as (en_US) and (en_GB), you can easily customize the content and currency without needing to change the language setting.

4. Comply To Local Laws and Regulations

When it comes to mobile app localization, it is important to follow local laws and regulations. Different regions have different regulations, so to avoid any fines and blunders, it is worth conducting research and adhering to local laws and regulations regarding content, privacy, data protection, and accessibility. 

Ensure that your app complies with the specific requirements of each target market to avoid legal complications and ensure user trust.

5. Code Modifications To Support Right-To-Left Languages

When it comes to mobile app localization, code modifications are essential to support right-to-left (RTL) languages. Unlike regular languages, RTL languages, such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu, have different text flow directions. 

Mobile App Localization

Image Source: rtlstyling.com

To ensure a seamless user experience for RTL users, you need to implement several code modifications that help in adjusting the UI layout to accommodate RTL text rendering, flipping the alignment of UI elements, and adapting navigation controls to work in the opposite direction. 

Moreover, code modifications may involve handling RTL-specific features like mirrored icons, right-aligned menus, and correct positioning of UI elements. When you hire an app development company in the UK, implementing these code modifications becomes far simpler. With this, Mobile apps can effectively cater to RTL users, providing a user-friendly interface and a culturally appropriate experience.

6. Merge iOS and Android Keys

If you have separate versions of your app for iOS and Android platforms, merge the translation keys to ensure consistent translations across both platforms. This streamlines the localization process and improves linguistic consistency for users across different devices.

However, when it comes to merging iOS and Android Keys, there are several keys considers to follow: 

  • Pay Attention to Key Structure: Both iOS and Android platforms use different conventions for defining localization keys. iOS typically uses a dot notation (e.g., “menu.home.title”) to represent a hierarchical structure, while Android often uses an underscore notation (e.g., “menu_home_title”). To merge the keys, you would need to decide on a common key structure that works for both platforms, ensuring consistency and avoiding conflicts.
  • Conventions: iOS and Android may have different naming conventions for localization keys. For example, iOS might use camel case (e.g., “welcomeMessage”), while Android prefers lowercase with underscores (e.g., “welcome_message”). It’s important to establish a naming convention that is compatible with both platforms and reflects best practices for each.

You can effectively merge iOS and Android keys for localization, by addressing these few tips.

7. Use a Tool That Supports Import/Export Functionalities

When it comes to mobile app localization, using a tool that supports import/export functionalities is highly beneficial. Such a tool enables seamless translation and adaptation of app content into multiple languages. 

Choose a mobile app localization tool that supports import/export functionalities, and allows you to easily manage and update translation files. 

This simplifies collaboration with translators and streamlines the process of integrating translated content back into your app.

8. Use a Tool With Automation Capabilities

Manual handling of resource files often hinders the automation of routine tasks. So when you are initiating the mobile app localization process, take such essential steps that may involve standardizing and centralizing the process for receiving, reviewing, and implementing translation files. 

Once this is established, you can set up semi-automated localization workflows by synchronizing your product’s source code (via GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, or Azure Repos) with Lokalise. This allows for the seamless pushing and pulling of translation files, eliminating the need for manual distribution and integration into builds. 

In addition, you can incorporate automation into your workflows to trigger specific actions, such as applying pseudo localization, utilizing machine translation, and receiving automated notification updates. By leveraging automation, you can optimize your localization process and unlock a range of benefits for your company.

9. Separate Content From Code

Extract all translatable content from the source code and store it in external files or a localization management system. This separation facilitates easier translation updates without modifying the core code, allowing for efficient localization processes.

10. Hire Trained Developers On Internationalization Practices

Mobile app localization will have a direct impact on your app’s success so it is worth working with developers who have experience and expertise in internationalization practices. They can guide you in implementing efficient code structures, handling localization issues, and addressing challenges related to multilingual support.

These are the few most impactful strategies for mobile app localization that you need to implement in your codes right from the initial stage.


How Do Hidden Brains UK Can Help You Localize Your Mobile App and Provide Multiligual Support? 

With this blog guide, you may have a list of strategies that help you internationalize your app and offer multilingual support. But, it is not a one-time practice becuase as your user base grows, it needs more modification with time to meet the needs of the locals. If you are also looking to hire a software development company in the UK that will help you localize your app, then Hidden Brains UK can be your trusted platform to collaborate for mobile app localization services. 

By leveraging its vast network of experienced linguists and localization specialists, Hidden Brains UK ensures accurate translations, cultural nuances, and seamless integration of localized content into the app. With their business-centric approach, they prioritize delivering high-quality localization within stipulated timelines and budgets.

If you have any app development and localization requirements, then you can directly book a free consultation slot with our experts. 


What is the difference between internationalization and localization in the context of mobile app development?

Internationalization refers to designing and developing an app in a way that makes it adaptable to different languages, regions, and cultures without making changes to the underlying code. Localization, on the other hand, involves the process of adapting the app’s content, user interface, and functionality to a specific target language or region.

How can I identify the languages to support in my mobile app localization efforts?

Identifying the languages to support depends on your target audience and market research. Consider the countries or regions where your app will be available and analyze language preferences and user demographics in those areas. You can also refer to app analytics data to identify the languages most commonly used by your existing user base.

What are some best practices for preparing app resources for localization?

To prepare app resources for localization, it’s crucial to externalize all translatable content such as strings, labels, and UI text into separate resource files. This allows for easier management and translation. Avoid hardcoding text in your app code and instead utilize string resource files. Additionally, consider using placeholders for dynamic content and avoiding concatenation of strings to ensure proper sentence structure in different languages.

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