5 Important Things To Consider Before Localizing Your Mobile App

by | Mar 8, 2019

Localizing for your mobile app. Image of a mobile phone set on top of a black and white map of the world.

Over 75% of consumers agree that they are more willing to purchase a product that has product information in their own language.

So, the question for you is… Is your app localized and are you leaving money on the table?

If your app isn’t localized, you are definitely leaving a lot of revenue on the table (keep reading). In fact, you’ll be surprised with how much.

Today, we’ll show you what localization is, why you need it, and give you some information on what to watch for before attempting a mobile app localization:

What is Localization?

Localization is a process where you customize your app to work with other languages. Doing this helps to broaden the app’s reach on the internet and draw in more revenue.

According to a study by Distomo, localized apps were downloaded 128% more than non-localized apps and produced more than 26% in additional revenue for each additional region/country added through localization.

That is a great reason to consider localization!

What Is Internalization?

Some have confused localization with internalization. But in reality, they are completely different. Internalization focuses on the design and development of the app, the code behind the app, the ability to adapt to multiple hardware devices, and allowing for the separation of localized elements from the coding and/or content (not hardcoded).

Localization focuses on the language, the numerical dates and time formats, currency formats, keyboard layouts and fonts, symbols, images, icons, colors, and so on.

So, now that you know the differences between localization and internalization, let’s focus on the 6 important things to know before attempting a mobile app localization.

1.     Focus On The Most Profitable Regions/Languages

So, the first thing you need to know before attempting a mobile app localization is that you need to focus on the most common languages on the internet. And according to an article from Statista, the top five common languages used on the internet are:

  • English – Slightly higher than 25%.
  • Chinese – Almost 20%, barely behind English.
  • Spanish – Just under 10%.
  • Arabic – Just under 5%, but is one of the hardest languages to translate.
  • Portuguese – Right above 4%.

Those five languages account for almost 65% of all the languages found on the internet. This is where you should focus your localization efforts the most. In fact, the top three (English, Chinese, and Spanish) should be your absolute priority as they account for 55% of all the languages found on the internet alone.

2.     Find A Trusted, Certified Translator To Help You With The Translations

While Google Translate is a wonderful tool, it should not become your translator. The way you speak structurally may not match up with a region that you are trying to localize your mobile app in.

So, where you might use a subject then a verb, the region you are translating to might use a verb and then a subject. That would read poorly and cause them to question the integrity of your mobile app.

3.     Test The Mobile App With Users For That Localization

When you design an app, you first plan ahead, try to anticipate problems beforehand, and then you test the program. But when you are localizing an app, the flow and wording may not be as clear and concise and you thought they were.

ind users for that region/localization and have them test the program. Have them express every single issue to you, explaining why it is an issue, what can be done to solve the issue, and then rinse and repeat. Do this until all the “bugs” have been worked out.

4.     Watch Out For Cultural Differences

In some cultures, some hand gestures can mean a friendly hello. But, in other cultures, that same friendly hello could mean something more nefarious. As in before, you have to make sure that you have a trusted, certified translator look through all of your images, text, videos, music … everything, and make sure that it will not cause a cultural backlash.

5.     Use A Safe, Secure Web Host To Serve Your App/Users

App developers start out as cheaply as they can, looking a web host that will give them “unlimited” space and bandwidth for pennies a month. And this will work … if your app isn’t popular. But, if your app becomes popular, it may be a one-and-done if you’ve chosen a web host that isn’t safe, secure, able to support all of your bandwidth needs.

Instead, look for a hosting provider which serves your intended locale. If your users are exclusively German, then your host should have data centers based in Germany. If your users are in North America, naturally U.S. or Canadian web hosting services would be the best option. Sometimes this means spending a little more than you wanted to per month. But, it’s worth it if you can handle more users, which will bring in more revenue, which will easily cover the web hosting costs.

A cheap, insecure web host will end up costing you customers and revenues. Bottom line … don’t be cheap, be smart.


As you can see, mobile app localization is truly a must-do for any app developer. From the information earlier, apps that are localized are more likely to be downloaded by a whopping 128%. And, apps that are localized produce 26% or more in revenue for each additional region/country that it is localized for.

Localization is much more than just a simple Google Translate job. It requires planning, resources, time, energy, and money. But, if done properly, localization is one of the best ways to ensure more downloads, more users, more revenue coming in.

So, is your app localized?

Why Use Localize?

While the process of localization itself can seem very overwhelming, Localize can assist in automating a good chunk of the work. Whether you decide to use your own translators, machine translation, or one of our language service providers -out tools are sure to streamline your workload. Check out our Translation Management System and find out how we can help you extend your mobile app’s reach into a global market.