Translate your apps

Discussion in 'App Store Business, Legal and Marketing' started by monsieurpaul, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    Hello all,

    I would like to know what are the solutions you're using for translating your apps: Good translating agencies ? Crowd sourcing ? Google translate :) ?
    And what about chinese ? Is it feasible to translate your app in chinese when you don't know a thing about theses languages ?
  2. dacapo macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2010
    Not sure about agencies or what-not, but my general sense is that localizing may not really pay off in many cases, especially if you are looking to translate into Chinese. While people tout the size of the Chinese market, it seems like the # of downloads do not correspond to $ earned in many cases.
  3. Greencardman macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2003
    Madison, WI
    You might want to try App developers have posted in other forums that they seem happy with it. I've heard localization is one of the least talked about ways to boost your downloads, especially overseas, so I would go for it. Depending on how many menus you have, it seems a pretty cheap way to go about it.
  4. monsieurpaul thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    Thank for the link.
    I'm native French speaker so I localize my apps in both English and French. True, French versions account for a tiny percentage of sales. However, one thing I have noted and that is confirmed by others with much much more sales is that German seems to be the second language of the App store.
    IMHO, you should have your app localized in German. However, the main problem is not so to localize the app but more to localize the App store page. Google Translate is clearly not good enough for that as some customers told me :)
  5. dejo, Jul 27, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014

    dejo Moderator


    Staff Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    The Centennial State
    It's not. If you don't have the ability or the staff to translate for you, you really need to consider hiring a translation service. But you need to consider the return-on-investment also.
  6. Greencardman macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2003
    Madison, WI
    I agree. We saw our downloads pick-up after localizing our keywords. We can't localize our app so we didn't bother with descriptions, but if you can localize your whole app then I've heard it can really make a difference to get your keywords and descriptions in the App Store localized as well.
  7. dacapo macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2010
    That makes sense. In our traditional enterprise software company, the 2 countries that we are concerned most with are Japan and Germany. The other countries/languages have either not been enough $ or as concerned about localized UIs.
  8. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Unless you personally know people who fluently speak the languages in which you're interested, you usually get what you pay for. Free online translations can be horribly funny, as well as unprofessional looking.

    I've heard of a few local developers who used , a commercial service (no affiliation), and had reasonable luck.

    What language translation have English-speaking developers had the most luck with in terms of boosting app revenue? I've heard that Japanese, French and German do better than typical; but Spanish not so well, and Chinese only for Free apps.

    Any other languages of note for apps?
  9. Greencardman macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2003
    Madison, WI
    There are studies of the biggest app store markets developers can look at to decide where they should localize next. South Korea is usually on the list as one of the bigger markets. Also, developers can look at their download stats and see where their biggest markets are and try localizing in those markets to see an improvement.
  10. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Countries where customers already read English well enough to buy and use lots of your app already may not see as much improvement as countries where apps in general sell, but your app is not selling there because no one can read your description or app controls.
  11. samdev macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2011
    Cheap Chinese translation for $5 dollars:

    Although, I would probably find a professional service with native Chinese speakers that do
    "human" translations.

    Because you never know if you're gonna get scammed by some English guy doing "computer" translations
    with Google. :)
  12. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    This is for the Mac App store, but I thought worth mentioning:

    I had an app hovering around number 80 on the top grossing Chinese utilities list while it was making me about US $2/day from China alone. It's not localized at all. I'd say 80-90% of the apps that ranked higher than mine on the list were localized. If their ranking curve resembles the US one, I imagine you could be bringing in $100+/day by being at the top of their lists, and it looks like having a localized app will help you get there.

    The reason I ended up on the list at all is because a Chinese company contacted me (in English) and told me they had dozens of Macs that they were going to deploy me app to (I guess each purchase of my app allowed 10 installs? So a purchase or two per day to set up 10-20 computers per day?)... so apparently someone at the company knew English well enough to know my app was what they were looking for.

    Kind of neat knowing that some businesses are deploying my app... wish they had to pony up more for it, but the ego boost is nice anyways.
  13. heyadrian macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2011
    I'd personally say that the only apps which really need any form of localisation are those which are 'mission critical'.

    Examples would be:

    -Accountancy Software
    -Development Software
    -Reporting Software
    -Productivity Software
    -Project Management Software
    -Social networking Software (if it's aimed at particular regions)
    -Drivers (which need to log error messages and pop up alerts etc...)
    -Helper Applications (i.e. for the blind, deaf etc...)
    -System Plugins (As they have to remain uniform with the system language)
    -Preference Panes (As they too have to remain uniform with the system language)


    But a site like is great.. For several reasons:

    1) It's cheap
    2) Generally, the people offering the translation for $5 are from the country in question and speak it fluently
    3) It helps the person translating for you have something good on their CV. I mention this as mainly students use fiverr. I like the idea of using my company name to bump up someone's CV for good work
    4) It's non-commercial, i.e. they don't have hidden charges as you would have in a professional translation/transcription agency that surprise you!
  14. MisawaSoftware macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2014
    My company has used sites like Elance & to hire locals to do human translation. You have to be picky about who you hire, but localization has always paid for itself. If you've got a few apps you can usually get them all translated along with the Appstore pages.

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