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MacRumors
Apr 12, 2013, 08:13 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/12/apple-asking-developers-to-localize-apps-opens-chinese-support-forum/)


AppleInsider is reporting (http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/04/12/apple-asks-devs-to-localize-apps-opens-chinese-support-communities-in-international-push) that Apple has contacted app developers via its iTunes Connect program to ask them to localize their apps in multiple languages and to market that their apps and books are localized.
In the letter to iTunes Connect members, Apple noted that the App Store and Mac App Store are available in 155 countries with support for 40 languages, saying that "it has never been more important to localize your app and marketing material."Apple also rolled out a Chinese Support Communities forum (https://discussionschinese.apple.com/index.jspa), which would give speakers of various Chinese languages the opportunity to help out fellow Apple users in their native tongues.

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/04/itunesconnectletter.png
The move signals how important China has grown to Apple in the past year, as during a quarterly results call (http://www.front.macrumors.com/2013/01/23/apple-sees-highest-growth-in-china-revenue-up-67/) in January Apple revealed that revenues in China were up 67 percent. iPhone saw its most significant growth come in the country as well, up more than 100 percent year-over-year.

Apple has recently had to deal with controversy in China over criticism (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/03/25/chinese-state-run-press-slams-apple-over-warranty-criticisms/) about its iPhone warranty policies in the country. In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an open letter (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/01/tim-cook-posts-letter-chinese-apple-customers-announcing-changes-to-iphone-44s-warranty-policies/) and Apple Senior VP of Operations Jeff Williams traveled to China (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/10/apples-jeff-williams-reportedly-in-china-addressing-pr-fallout-from-iphone-warranty-controversy/) to deal with the public relations fallout.

Article Link: Apple Asking Developers to Localize Apps, Opens Chinese Support Forum (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/12/apple-asking-developers-to-localize-apps-opens-chinese-support-forum/)



komodrone
Apr 12, 2013, 08:23 PM
no worries, I'll spend the rest of my life learning these languages.

ScottishCaptain
Apr 12, 2013, 08:32 PM
That's nice.

So who is going to pay for the translators to translate my stuff into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic "just to start"?

Is it even worth it? I get sales from China and Japan all the time. A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.

It would be nice if Apple offered some kind of statistics on what I can expect in return for localizing, since doing so is neither straight forward nor cost free for me as a developer. It costs me enough of my own time to produce an english only application. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 different languages and keeping those localization files up to date across application updates with UI tweaks.

-SC

troop231
Apr 12, 2013, 08:39 PM
That's nice.

So who is going to pay for the translators to translate my stuff into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic "just to start"?

Is it even worth it? I get sales from China and Japan all the time. A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.

It would be nice if Apple offered some kind of statistics on what I can expect in return for localizing, since doing so is neither straight forward nor cost free for me as a developer. It costs me enough of my own time to produce an english only application. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 different languages and keeping those localization files up to date across application updates with UI tweaks.

-SC

I agree with you; I've toyed with the idea of localizing, but it seems like it's a real pain to do, and probably isn't worth it in the long run anyways.

dlewis23
Apr 12, 2013, 08:55 PM
A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.

I've had the same thing happen. Japan is actually my #2 country after the US for app sales and I haven't had single request for translation of any kind.

I figure if you design the app properly you don't really need to translate anything.

gnurf
Apr 12, 2013, 09:05 PM
Translating the app is probably only necessary for specialised things, while most games should be fine. A translated iTunes info page can help, though.

a0me
Apr 12, 2013, 10:47 PM
Is it even worth it? I get sales from China and Japan all the time. A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.
I've had the same thing happen. Japan is actually my #2 country after the US for app sales and I haven't had single request for translation of any kind.

I figure if you design the app properly you don't really need to translate anything.
The reason that these users didn't ask about translations is that their English skills are good enough that they can use the English version of your app. They also represent a very tiny fraction of the market; in terms of English proficiency, Japan ranks latest in the 35 nations classified as "advanced economies."

Is there any other country in which you could release a "language pack" for $30 on top of the $60 (http://www.polygon.com/2013/4/12/4217598/tomb-raider--get-japanese-language-support-dlc) you already charge for the multi-language version of the game?

furi0usbee
Apr 12, 2013, 10:54 PM
How do you write I HAVE MORE MONEY THAN GOD AND I HAVE SO MUCH MONEY I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT in Simplified Chinese?

Apple can have *everything* they produce localized. But a small developer? Probably not. Since English is used in pretty much every country by the well-educated, I think it's not of major importance to spend money on all those langs.

jvpython
Apr 12, 2013, 10:58 PM
I'm fluent in French and English if anyone needs a translator :D

thewitt
Apr 12, 2013, 10:58 PM
China is not Japan. Making that comparison is simply displaying your ignorance of the two environments.

If you are serious about selling into the Chinese market, you will release a Chinese version of your app, and figure out how to support that market.

We opened an office in Shanghai and expect app sales in China to quickly exceed the total sales in the rest of the world.

dwhittington
Apr 12, 2013, 11:10 PM
407575

a0me
Apr 12, 2013, 11:40 PM
Since English is used in pretty much every country by the well-educated, I think it's not of major importance to spend money on all those langs.

This is probably the reason why the whole world gladly pays for the English version of most of their apps, games, movies, books, etc...
Oh wait, they don't.

Localizing your app won't guarantee that it will be a success in all markets, but not localizing your app guarantees that it will never be.

ScottishCaptain
Apr 13, 2013, 12:04 AM
Localizing your app won't guarantee that it will be a success in all markets, but not localizing your app guarantees that it will never be.

Who is going to pay for it?

It will cost you about $450 for 2000 words. In 12 different languages, that's $6000 per app. Granted this is on the high side, but the point is that localization is NOT FREE. You better be damned well sure your app is going to sell before you invest that kind of money into it.

IMHO; Apple shouldn't have sent this email out at all. Localization is not our problem but they're acting like they're going to make it our problem in the near future by throwing up roadblocks to force developers to localize.

And why should we localize? So Apple can sell more stuff in that country and push more hardware. Why am I footing the bill of making Apple's stuff popular all of a sudden? Why isn't Apple offering a program to me where if I make more then $12,000/year off any given app, they'll have it translated for me? Why don't they even have a web page somewhere with some statistics that I can look at (which update weekly) and say "If I localize for country XYZ, I can generally expect to make 50% more then what I'm making off this app now"?

-SC

Snowshiro
Apr 13, 2013, 12:15 AM
Pretty much agree with a lot of the sentiment here, but one important thing to add, is that Apple woefully underestimates what "localization" actually means.

Many countries, in particular Asia, often have radically different cultural practices and customs to the west. Localization can often mean understanding the culture itself and adjusting your output accordingly. A famous example would be games removing all imagery of bones, or skeletons as Blizzard had to painstakingly do when they launched World of Warcraft in China. No mean feat in a game where skulls are liberally sprinkled throughout the entire gaming environment.

I've worked in Japan as a software developer for over 10 years and remember once emailing a foreign developer of a school timetabling application (actually it was PC desktop software rather than an app) to tell them that they needed to add an option to add classes on a Saturday, because a large percentage of Japanese schools are open 6 days a week.

Then you have the problem of support. If you offer an app in Chinese, people are going to assume that they can email you in Chinese. Do you want to just ignore communications that come in? Should you answer emails sent in English, but provide a lower level of support to some customers simply because they don't speak the same language as you?

Apple just sending out "go and translate your apps" emails helps no one really. It just makes them seem out of touch with the limited resources that small developers have.

Nermal
Apr 13, 2013, 12:28 AM
Localization can often mean understanding the culture itself and adjusting your output accordingly.

This story (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2010/08/17/10050774.aspx) from the Windows 95 days is a bit technical but it's something that I wouldn't have even thought of!

flottenheimer
Apr 13, 2013, 12:59 AM
That's nice.

So who is going to pay for the translators to translate my stuff into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic "just to start"?

Is it even worth it? I get sales from China and Japan all the time. A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.

It would be nice if Apple offered some kind of statistics on what I can expect in return for localizing, since doing so is neither straight forward nor cost free for me as a developer. It costs me enough of my own time to produce an english only application. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 different languages and keeping those localization files up to date across application updates with UI tweaks.

-SC

Well, for what it is worth I've just been on a 16 day vacation in Tokyo and I can assure you that at least 90% don't speak english at all. They will get OK, yes, no and Coca-Cola. But that's all.
And oh, around half — that's 50% : ) — were using an iPhone.

Just ask your App users for some help. I just did a Danish translation of Little Things Forever for free, because I wanted my kids to be able to play it. I'm sure there are a lot of people willing to help out.

PS: Sad to see that Danish is not on Apples 'important languages' list. It's a small country, but iPhones and children with iPhones are everywhere.

dennno
Apr 13, 2013, 01:49 AM
The rest of the world is learning English and most likely already know basic english, which is all that's required for a great app (those that use universal gestures/UX).

It's unfair for Apple to expect indie developers or even small studios with limited resources to spend them on localization. I'd much rather spend time polishing the app to perfection instead of attempting to localize the app with what would likely be terrible translations in the first place.

Let's see I speak another language fluently and I'd much rather have a polished app in English than a localized one lacking quality.

thelookingglass
Apr 13, 2013, 03:01 AM
As an app developer, why would you NOT want to try and localize your app in a few key languages? I can understand that cost might be a concern. But that would be outweighed by potentially a huge boost in sales

szw-mapple fan
Apr 13, 2013, 03:02 AM
That's nice.

So who is going to pay for the translators to translate my stuff into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic "just to start"?

Is it even worth it? I get sales from China and Japan all the time. A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.

It would be nice if Apple offered some kind of statistics on what I can expect in return for localizing, since doing so is neither straight forward nor cost free for me as a developer. It costs me enough of my own time to produce an english only application. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 different languages and keeping those localization files up to date across application updates with UI tweaks.

-SC


Make it intuitive enough and you won't need other languages.

Mr.damien
Apr 13, 2013, 07:32 AM
Apple fix your **** (icloud, imessage, iTunes, etc...) then you will be allowed to ask dev something about their jobs.

Until then, shut up and fix ...

Compile 'em all
Apr 13, 2013, 07:43 AM
Make it intuitive enough and you won't need other languages.

This isn't true. I have recently released TodoMovies 2.0 (http://www.taphive.com/todomovies/) and it is localized in 15 languages (+English). The App is simply content heavy, and no matter how intuitive it is (i did my best to make it so), you need to localize the text in there. Take a look at the screenshots.

michal.poland
Apr 13, 2013, 08:09 AM
Is it even worth it? (...) Not a single person asked about translations
-SC

I haven't heart anything so stupid in a long time. I's always worth to translate into major languages apart from English unless your application is about English-specific language jokes ;)

I've got iPhone 4, my wife 4S. I spend a hundred or so $ on apps every year. My wife not a dime. Why? I want to show her a great/useful app, but she says: "In English only? No, thanks."

She DOESN'T CARE to write to developer to translate their apps. She just ignores them having been ignored by them earlier (by their not providing localized versions).

kas23
Apr 13, 2013, 08:10 AM
Geez, Apple is doing everything possible to whore themselves out to China. This has nothing to do with "localizing" your app, but everything to do with adding Chinese language support.

rmwebs
Apr 13, 2013, 08:41 AM
If Apple wants my apps localised they can pay for it. It's not worth my time and effort, and have never had anyone complain about any of them only being in English.

a0me
Apr 13, 2013, 09:10 AM
Well, for what it is worth I've just been on a 16 day vacation in Tokyo and I can assure you that at least 90% don't speak english at all. They will get OK, yes, no and Coca-Cola. But that's all.
And oh, around half that's 50% : ) were using an iPhone.

Exactly. I've been living here for almost 15 years, and the vast majority of people can't even hold a basic conversation in English.
If your app isn't localized in Japanese, 99% of Japanese users won't even look at the app's description on the App Store. When you know that in Japan, iPhone is the top-selling phone - not just the top selling smartphone (http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/09/iphone-top-selling-japan/), not localizing your app results in ignoring a large part of the market.

Of course, as an app developer you have to ask yourself if it's worth the cost, but it's an outdated idea to think that you don't need to localize your content for being successful in foreign markets.

gnasher729
Apr 13, 2013, 09:21 AM
If Apple wants my apps localised they can pay for it. It's not worth my time and effort, and have never had anyone complain about any of them only being in English.

Of course you will not get complaints. People will just not use your app, they won't bother complaining.

Superhai
Apr 13, 2013, 09:55 AM
I can't see that Apple require you to translate your app, only suggesting it to increase your market. Apple is just showing what resources they make available, and it is of course also in their interest to see popular apps in other languages.

So, I see many asking who should pay for the translation? Of course the one making the money out of it, meaning the developer (team). If you have an app people are willing to pay for, then investing in a translation will in most cases pay off. If not then either your app is lousy (sorry to say it) and shouldn't be out anyway or you provide it for free (no ads) and in that case rather use your users to help you. If you can get 1000 more customers and getting 70 cents for each your effort has already paid off.

It is usually wise to prepare the app for localizing even if you think you will not do an actual translation and some ideas is try to use figures and pictograms instead of written text wherever it is possible (there are some caveats here however, like people being offended or not understanding certain images - I would not worry much about that however). Try to use certain imperatives or single words instead of long sentences when applicable.

When actually translating, use preferrably professionals or natives in the language. Machine translations require some profience in the language, especially with the different subtleties, negatives and similar words with entirely different meaning. Usually it is an idea to use some translation company in the country or area you target. Except for Japan and some western-european countries they are usually cheaper.

If you are developing free apps or you can't afford the risk of translating (certain speciality apps) reach out to your audience for help. Especially free no-ad apps will easily fins someone. For certain translators or linguists who just finished education or are un-employed, it is something they can put on their CV and will have benefitted even when you did not have to pay a dime.

So do people know english? Most people don't. Many have some basic understanding of simple words, but anything more complicated and they will give in. Even those who knows will know people who don't, and if they are to help them they will suggest to them an app in a language they know. Also for me I use iPhone in my native language and an app who are properly translated will be part of the same experience. However this is more noticably on the Mac or a PC. On the mobile devices the apps are rarely integrated, but especially hooks from other apps do look akward when you have two different languages. So you want to avis these apps.

Which language to translate? I suggest starting with one of the big ones first, then you will experience the pitfalls and if it works for you. Chinese covers most of China of course, Taiwan and also many Southeast-asians (however they will most likely also know some english) Russian is known by Russia and former Soviet Union countries, Spanish and Portuguese covers Latin-America and Spain and Portugal as well as some parts of the Caribbean, Arabic in the middle-east as well as french in certain countries. All these areas have rarher poor English knowledge. South-asia is another bag however and those who are literate knows written english fairly well and all the languages there are written in different scripts as well, so I would put them lower on the list.

When you find a translation company try to make some agreement for updates as well, you want them translated also. If you are translating, do it properly in all aspects of the apps. Poor and lacking translations may end up counter-productive.

Last I wish Apple would make some provisions for bi-/multilinguals as it is a pain to write English with a foreign auto-correct - which also pollutes that one.

rmwebs
Apr 13, 2013, 10:13 AM
Of course you will not get complaints. People will just not use your app, they won't bother complaining.

Maybe so, but for most developers there is next to zero benefit in paying to localize an app. For a very basic app you're looking at a minimum of $1500 per language. This isn't taking into account things like repeat translation work, time to implement translations (which if your app isn't already localised, may as well be a rewrite), etc.

It's all well and good Apple saying 'localise your apps' but realistically, its a pointless and expensive move for developers with virtually no way of making a reasonable return of investment. Sure, for 'big' apps that are regularly in the charts, it's a worth while expense, but given that over 90% of apps will be fairly low volume (in comparison to the top 100), its not worth even looking at.

biel
Apr 13, 2013, 10:50 AM
hey guys, i can help you translate your app to Brazilian Portuguese... just send me a message!! :)

firewood
Apr 13, 2013, 11:27 AM
Has anyone seen any statistics or other analysis on how much Internationalization of an average app (previously English only) will increase sales, preferably per each major language? e.g. Which language will likely provide the most "bang for the buck"?

Getting multiple new translations done for every app update can get pretty expensive.

etrinh
Apr 13, 2013, 11:38 AM
Wow. People have really bad attitudes. You need to think about it more constructively. Hypothetically, If spending $1000 gets you $4000 vs spending $500 gets you $1000, as a developer what do you choose? Of course you factor in maintenance costs and other issues with app development but you are willing to give up on potential sales/profit because from what I am reading it's: 1) costly 2) a pain to manage 3) Apples problem?

Superhai
Apr 13, 2013, 12:15 PM
Has anyone seen any statistics or other analysis on how much Internationalization of an average app (previously English only) will increase sales, preferably per each major language? e.g. Which language will likely provide the most "bang for the buck"?

Getting multiple new translations done for every app update can get pretty expensive.

Statistics is not always telling, as it depends on the app. A popular app with just a few simple english phrases, will propably not gain as much as a more complicated one. But it also comes to the description in the app store, it is part of your advertisement, and if the user don't understand why it should buy your app he or she won't.

What Apple could have provided was templates for different legal licensing and privacy texts, and translate and let developers use them. Because those are the most costly as they should be proofed by a lawyer or similar. They are also almost similar, but could really help smaller developers.

Other than that you will find that a translation is much cheaper than it seem many are thinking here. Just shop around.

firewood
Apr 13, 2013, 12:57 PM
Wow. People have really bad attitudes. You need to think about it more constructively. Hypothetically, If spending $1000 gets you $4000 vs spending $500 gets you $1000, as a developer what do you choose?

Most apps do not produce a lot of revenue. The risk that the vast majority of developers face is spending $500 or $1000 on some translations, and then seeing only $400 or less in increased International revenue over the life of an app or app update. Money down the drain.

seyo
Apr 13, 2013, 01:19 PM
where the hell is the new Mac Pro???

flottenheimer
Apr 13, 2013, 02:17 PM
If Apple wants my apps localised they can pay for it. It's not worth my time and effort, and have never had anyone complain about any of them only being in English.

It is presented as a reminder of an opportunity to you.

Translation for many apps represents a relatively small amount of work in comparison to the many, many, many hours of work that has gone into a polished app of almost any kind.
If you ask for translation help — and perhaps even offer a promotion code, I'm pretty sure you could find people willing to do the translation for you. The internet is filled with people willing to help.

----------

This isn't true. I have recently released TodoMovies 2.0 (http://www.taphive.com/todomovies/) ...

Great work. Really nice looking app!
...and PS: Was your ad shot in Copenhagen?

bushido
Apr 13, 2013, 05:23 PM
i can see that it may be hard work but to be honest i have yet to see an app that isnt in german on my iphone

JosephAW
Apr 13, 2013, 05:30 PM
Right now Apple is asking for localization. Eventually it will be required just like iPhone 5 screen support and retina display support. But don't worry. For an annual fee they will help you translate as long as you keep paying in. If you cancel they will pull your app.

And even it you localize your app will all countries allow your app in there store? There are apps from other countries that you can not download because I use the American iTunes Store and their governing rules are different than ours.

gnasher729
Apr 13, 2013, 05:55 PM
Maybe so, but for most developers there is next to zero benefit in paying to localize an app. For a very basic app you're looking at a minimum of $1500 per language. This isn't taking into account things like repeat translation work, time to implement translations (which if your app isn't already localised, may as well be a rewrite), etc.

It's all well and good Apple saying 'localise your apps' but realistically, its a pointless and expensive move for developers with virtually no way of making a reasonable return of investment. Sure, for 'big' apps that are regularly in the charts, it's a worth while expense, but given that over 90% of apps will be fairly low volume (in comparison to the top 100), its not worth even looking at.

Well, that's up to the developer, isn't it? If they are capable of writing code in Objective-C, they should also be capable of doing some simple maths. How many apps per million citizens do you sell in the USA and in the UK? How many in France, Germany, Italy? Do you sell less? Do you think it might be because your app isn't localized? Do you have competitors, where you either lose out because their app is localized and yours isn't, or who you could beat by localizing? Estimate how many additional sales you'll have by localizing, and how much additional revenue; compare to the cost of localization. Simple maths.

I can't see what people are moaning about here. Apple reminds people that they might be leaving money on the table. The business decision is up to the developer. Yes, if you made $1,000 from English versions, then you won't recoup a $1,500 investment in a French version. If you made $100,000 from English versions, you will.

And a bit of common sense: You might know someone who is fluent in one non-english language and can do a translation cheaply. So that is one localization that you could try out. Translating into Japanese or German will get you more additional sales than Portuguese, or Icelandic. So you can start with a small investment and see what happens.

SoGood
Apr 13, 2013, 08:05 PM
So who is going to pay for the translators to translate my stuff into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic "just to start"?

Is it even worth it? I get sales from China and Japan all the time. A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.

It would be nice if Apple offered some kind of statistics on what I can expect in return for localizing, since doing so is neither straight forward nor cost free for me as a developer. It costs me enough of my own time to produce an english only application. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 different languages and keeping those localization files up to date across application updates with UI tweaks.

Depending on the quality of your wares obviously and potentially short-sighted. If it's a crappy app, then no amount of localisation will turn it into a commercial success. If it's quality, then localisation will simply expand the potential market space. With the iPhone/iPad penetrating the core societies, there'll be at least 8 potential customers who are more comfortable using a localised app than struggling in English. So if you are seeing thousands out of one local review, then localisation will dramatically expand your market there and sustain it. Without, you'll find localised copy-cat apps quickly take over what should have been your. That's international business and it's a question of whether you have what it takes to capture it.

----------

And a bit of common sense: You might know someone who is fluent in one non-english language and can do a translation cheaply. So that is one localization that you could try out. Translating into Japanese or German will get you more additional sales than Portuguese, or Icelandic. So you can start with a small investment and see what happens.

+1

Further, in many of those countries there are often enthusiastic geek who are willing to offer their language skill for a simple credit. Shuttering oneself of the options available is not exactly wise.

fujitsu
Apr 13, 2013, 09:19 PM
Apple can have *everything* they produce localized. But a small developer? Probably not. Since English is used in pretty much every country by the well-educated, I think it's not of major importance to spend money on all those langs.


I have to agree on you with that one.

Big firms may have the budget to localize their apps but small ones will probably not have the resources for it.

Small developers should find alternative/inexpensive ways for them to translate their app to different languages.

firewood
Apr 13, 2013, 10:31 PM
Small developers should find alternative/inexpensive ways for them to translate their app to different languages.

They have. They use google (mis)translate to produce some near gibberish that they haven't a clue how bad it looks to a native. You can find tons of apps with English descriptions that are just as badly translated in the App store. No idea whether this helps or hurts sales of the typical (doesn't sell in high volumes) app.

LastMinuteMike
Apr 14, 2013, 05:36 AM
Well, for what it is worth I've just been on a 16 day vacation in Tokyo and I can assure you that at least 90% don't speak english at all. They will get OK, yes, no and Coca-Cola. But that's all.
And oh, around half that's 50% : ) were using an iPhone.

Just ask your App users for some help. I just did a Danish translation of Little Things Forever for free, because I wanted my kids to be able to play it. I'm sure there are a lot of people willing to help out.

PS: Sad to see that Danish is not on Apples 'important languages' list. It's a small country, but iPhones and children with iPhones are everywhere.

Yeah, I felt like the Scandinavian languages should have been on that list too. Basically everyone and their grandma has an iPhone over here! But I guess since basically 99% of Scandinavians speak English - and we do it pretty darn good as well, Apple thought localization for us isn't as urgent :)

Compile 'em all
Apr 14, 2013, 06:48 AM
Great work. Really nice looking app!
...and PS: Was your ad shot in Copenhagen?

Thank you, good sir! Yes, it was shot in Copenhagen :).

vmachiel
Apr 14, 2013, 10:54 AM
Hmm, rather have my apps stay in English. Somehow when I see apps or games in my native language, I feel they're.... not as good. I'm weird I know:)

gnasher729
Apr 14, 2013, 05:15 PM
They have. They use google (mis)translate to produce some near gibberish that they haven't a clue how bad it looks to a native. You can find tons of apps with English descriptions that are just as badly translated in the App store. No idea whether this helps or hurts sales of the typical (doesn't sell in high volumes) app.

The way that localization works is that every user has a list in which order they prefer localized versions. If an Italian user sets that order to Italian / Spanish / English / all the others in some random order, then without an Italian translation they'll probably get the English one, which they other understand or they don't. So some may become customers, some may not. If you provide a rubbish Italian localization, that's what they see, and they will run for miles.

simonmet
Apr 14, 2013, 07:42 PM
That's nice.

So who is going to pay for the translators to translate my stuff into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Arabic "just to start"?

Is it even worth it? I get sales from China and Japan all the time. A few months ago a Japanese blog/website "featured" my app by writing a nice review out of nowhere, which followed up by a few thousand sales that very same day. Not a single person asked about translations, but I did get several well written emails in english (more well written then most emails I get from english speaking folks, fancy that) asking about future features and tweaks.

It would be nice if Apple offered some kind of statistics on what I can expect in return for localizing, since doing so is neither straight forward nor cost free for me as a developer. It costs me enough of my own time to produce an english only application. I can't imagine trying to juggle 20 different languages and keeping those localization files up to date across application updates with UI tweaks.

-SC

What's your app SC?

thewitt
Apr 14, 2013, 11:33 PM
They have. They use google (mis)translate to produce some near gibberish that they haven't a clue how bad it looks to a native. You can find tons of apps with English descriptions that are just as badly translated in the App store. No idea whether this helps or hurts sales of the typical (doesn't sell in high volumes) app.

Machine translations are worthless.

You need to be serious about offering your app and support in multiple languages if you do nothing at all.

The first time you get a Chinese or Japanese email to customer support, you will understand your folly if you don't have support options in place.

You do NOT need in house staff, however you do need to be ready to pay someone to support your alternative languages.

Manderby
Apr 15, 2013, 02:57 AM
It is not so much the translation which is costly, but preparing the software to support it is cumbersome. Even just preparing your resources for multiple languages costs you one to many hours if you have never done it before. Going through your app and translating all user interfaces and strings costs you days. And when the code did not support Unicode for example (which there can be various reasons for), you are in for a real pain.

And the translation itself is organized in a way that you quickly become dependent on translators. Over and over again.

That said, I did saw some increased sales due to a localized description in the AppStore in my maternal language. Some. But I don't have much to compare with anyways.

Beside that: Localized apps are not always helpful or even better for your sales. Bad translations are bad. And nobody can guarantee you that a translator will produce good translations. Even the translations of some big companies are just facepalmeristic, MS being one of the most amusing sources.

joemod
Apr 15, 2013, 06:47 AM
Machine translations are worthless.

You need to be serious about offering your app and support in multiple languages if you do nothing at all.

The first time you get a Chinese or Japanese email to customer support, you will understand your folly if you don't have support options in place.

You do NOT need in house staff, however you do need to be ready to pay someone to support your alternative languages.

By reading this and one of your previous posts, I understand that you are working in a company with many developers. Such a company must have directors, business plans, an owner who is willing to invest money to open foreign office in order to get more money later.
There are also developers such as Scottish Captain who is probably (I guess so from his posts) working solo. Such developers don't have much time to create localized versions by themselves, so they have to hire others to do this work for them. This requires investment for creating, testing and providing support which means that the developer should also do the business plan of localization. Too much effort and too time consuming in my humble opinion.

Kaibelf
Apr 15, 2013, 07:54 AM
I haven't heart anything so stupid in a long time. I's always worth to translate into major languages apart from English unless your application is about English-specific language jokes ;)

I've got iPhone 4, my wife 4S. I spend a hundred or so $ on apps every year. My wife not a dime. Why? I want to show her a great/useful app, but she says: "In English only? No, thanks."

She DOESN'T CARE to write to developer to translate their apps. She just ignores them having been ignored by them earlier (by their not providing localized versions).

So your wife isn't willing to learn English and yet judges someone who equally chooses not to learn her language? What makes her so special?

WestonHarvey1
Apr 15, 2013, 09:40 AM
Ridiculous amounts of ******** going on here.

Apple is not going to require anyone to localize - not unless they want only a tiny handful of apps from only the largest publishers.

No one is going to waste time localizing an app before they've tested the market for it. If you get zero sales in the US, it's not wise to dump any more money into it, unless you know for sure it would have sold in a foreign market.

Calm down.

coolspot18
Apr 15, 2013, 09:56 AM
Apple can have *everything* they produce localized. But a small developer? Probably not. Since English is used in pretty much every country by the well-educated, I think it's not of major importance to spend money on all those langs.

No, but there is a growing middle class in China and India - in total about 500 - 600 million people. These people have money, but may not have the comfort level in English the elite and well-educated do - this is a market for localization provided your app needs it.

Not every app needs localization - but it's just one way of making your app stand out in a crowded marketplace.

----------

They have. They use google (mis)translate to produce some near gibberish that they haven't a clue how bad it looks to a native. You can find tons of apps with English descriptions that are just as badly translated in the App store. No idea whether this helps or hurts sales of the typical (doesn't sell in high volumes) app.

Might be cute and bring back some (reverse) nostalgia - remember the Japanese games from the 80s?

firewood
Apr 15, 2013, 10:20 AM
Machine translations are worthless.

In general, but not necessarily. I note some apps with bad automatic translations into English occasionally showing up in the rankings.


You do NOT need in house staff, however you do need to be ready to pay someone to support your alternative languages.

Like every thing else, even with support, there's a cost benefit ratio business decision to consider. Even Apple ignores some customer complaints and developer radars for years.

michal.poland
Apr 16, 2013, 03:58 AM
So your wife isn't willing to learn English and yet judges someone who equally chooses not to learn her language? What makes her so special?

First of all, speaking a language (or not speaking) has nothing to do with translating apps. Why?

1) if you can speak e.g. Spanish it doesn't mean you can automatically be a good translator.
2) I'm a native speaker of Polish, have quite a good command of English, can speak some Spanish and German. Nevertheless I wouldn't like to translate my apps if I were a developer, because I wouldn't have time to do that. Depending how much text there is to translate is more convenient and money-efficient to outsource translating.

My point was and still is that my wife (like 95% of non- English population) doesn't care to use English applications, because she doesn't speak it.

BTW, Translatting cost is not as high as many people think provided you think smart. In my country translating 1800-character page of English cost about 40-45zl that is 10-15$. If you want to check if i'ts profitable to target customer in a given language, translate just App Store description (some agencies even give you one translated page for free to help you see their proficiency) - no hard programming skills necessary. If you see increase in sales, go further and translate you app altogether.

Where there's a will (for money), there is a way.

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Apr 16, 2013, 06:25 AM
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