If you want to break into a new market with your app or game, then it needs localization. Localization is the process of adaptation into a different language, for a different culture.

It goes beyond just translation of the words involved, adapting everything necessary for your game or app to make sense to your new target audience, and take your new market by storm.

It’s well worth the investment, with revenue generated by localized versions often surpassing revenue generated by those who use the game in English.

But if you’re new to the world of localization you might be a little confused about where to start, and about how it all works.

So I thought I’d share my top tips that anyone getting involved in a localization project should always bear in mind.

1. Think about localization from the beginning

If, during the development stage, you already know that your app or game is going to be localized down the line, then that’s something you need to take into account from day one.

Sometimes, it’s the things you least expect which are offensive in another culture. But a lot of things that could cause problems are fairly predictable, like sex or violence.

Different languages might read right to left, or their alphabets might not work with your formatting.
As you can imagine, anything to do with wordplay can also cause big problems when it comes to localization.

Different countries use different measurement systems, and some have basic cultural differences like not starting the week on a Sunday.
Bear all this in mind throughout the process and you’ll save yourself some headaches when it comes to the localization stage.

If in doubt about what languages it’ll be translated into, assume you’re going to translated it into every language in existence, just to be on the safe side.

2. Make sure you’ve thought the details through

Is the font you’re using compatible with the characters you’re going to need to use in the language your app or game is being translated into?

Will it be a problem if the translated text is longer or shorter than the original – which it’s very likely to be?

Do you have any graphic texts in the game that that will need localizing too?

Be careful about assuming that another language works in the way that yours does, as you might get some nasty surprises. Flexibility is key.

3. The better the original, the better the localization

As a general rule, the better your original app content or game script is written, the better your translation is likely to be.

A badly written original will of course affect your success in your home market, but it can also mean that a translator struggles to understand meanings.

Proofread it properly so that there’s no ambiguity or mistakes.

4. Give the translator all the information they might need

Files should be sent to translators in formats that are easy to work with, so that they’ll be compatible with translation software. Organize them in a way that helps the translator to understand how the whole thing fits together.

Provide them with as much context as you can, going into more detail than you’d think necessary, and making no assumptions about what they already know. Take the time to explain the choices you’ve made.

The more background information and context they have available to them, the better able they’ll be to produce the best results. Make this information detailed but easily readable and scannable so the translator can refer back to it.

A preview of the game or app in the original language can also make a huge difference, if you’re able to make one available.

It might take a while to compile all this information, but it’ll pay off many times over when your game or app are translated sensitively and reflect all the hard work you’ve put in.

5. Allow enough time for the localization stage

Some people treat localization as a kind of afterthought. A last-minute extra that they don’t allocate much time for.
But if you’ve put huge amounts of work into your app or game, then it’d be a real shame to rush the translation and end up with poor results or bugs.

Plan ahead and maybe even book ahead to work with the best translators, and make sure you set enough of the budget aside to cover the investment.

When you’re in the localization stage, be available to answer any questions to keep things moving forward.

And last but not least, leave enough time for thorough testing by native users so that any inevitable mistakes can be picked up on and corrected before the big launch.

With plenty of time, commitment and hard work, your localized game or app will soon be sweeping the floor with the competition in your new market.

If you’re wondering which market you should target next, find out why Brazil is the next market you should move into.

But if you’re already up to speed on why Brazil is the right market for you, then get in touch to find out how I can help with your localization project.