A Comprehensive Guide to App Localization and Testing

Localizing websites is excellent, but if you want to expand internationally, you need to carefully consider app localization and, more broadly, application translation. More than 86% of the world’s population uses a smartphone. In the United States, 90% of customers have at least one mobile app loaded on their devices, and half use them daily.

While many worldwide users have a rudimentary command of English, most prefer buying items and paying for services using applications designed in their local language. You are missing out on significant income opportunities if you have not invested in mobile app localization.

Ready to learn more about app localization? Here is a guide that breaks down everything you need to know about App Localization and Testing. 

What is App Localization?

App localization is modifying a mobile application for several languages and geographies. It entails translating language, altering date formats, and customizing material to meet the cultural preferences of various target groups.

For example, if you use emojis to represent an activity or define a function, keep in mind that while they may be innocuous in the United States, they may be quite insulting in another nation. Regardless, these can significantly impact your app’s international performance.

Why is App Localization Important?

While English is commonly considered a “lingua franca,” or universal language that allows for communication between different original languages, research shows that customers prefer material in their own tongue.

For businesses with global aspirations, localizing mobile apps is a no-brainer. There are billions of app users worldwide who cannot be reached by an unlocalized app; localization enables you to target app users in every country and optimize app exposure and coverage.

Some of the business benefits of app localization are:

  • Entering new markets: App localization is the key to expanding the app industry. Consider Airbnb, which started in the founders’ apartment and is now present in over 220 countries globally, with a market valuation of $75 billion.
  • Increasing App Engagement: Users prefer app content tailored to their interests and needs. It greatly influences how people interact and may help you boost engagement and loyalty.
  • Improving downloading apps and transparency: According to studies, app store descriptions written in a local language may increase app downloads by up to 38%.
  • Increasing sales: Investing in localization means that your market share and income sources increase significantly with each country you enter. However, there is no universally applicable localization ROI model, Fortune 500 firms are considered to produce more significant income when they spend in translation.

App Localization: Tips for Success

Converting app content from one language to another stands as a paramount consideration in app localization endeavors. Yet, beyond linguistic translation, adjustments such as adapting default currencies, ensuring accurate time and date displays, and accommodating various writing alignments and keyboard layouts are imperative.

Cultural disparities must also be carefully addressed, as imagery and icons that resonate positively in one region might evoke offense in another. Additionally, a re-evaluation of your SEO strategy is essential. SEO localization is indispensable for optimizing app content titles and descriptions effectively.

How to Perform Localization Testing?

Having covered the process and essential components of app localization, it’s crucial to emphasize the significance of localization testing. This phase ensures the seamless functionality of software or apps across various regions by validating language translations, cultural adaptations, and regional settings. Localization Testing involves rigorously testing these elements to ensure a smooth user experience in diverse locales. Its goal is to pinpoint and resolve any issues about the unique requirements of each target region, thereby ensuring that the product meets local expectations.

Now, let’s delve into the steps for conducting geolocation testing for your mobile and web apps:

  • Start with a Test Plan: Begin by identifying the objectives of the localization testing, such as ensuring correct translations and cultural appropriateness. Describe your test environment, including language settings and device types. Define the test scenarios, the expected outcomes, and the resources required, such as translation services or physical equipment.
  • Simulate the UX: Using emulators or actual devices, simulate the user experience by testing the website or app in their native language, location, device type, operating system, and browser choice. This guarantees an accurate assessment of the site’s functioning and appearance.
  • Initiate High-Level Testing: Perform regional, linguistic, and UI testing, emphasizing identifying translation problems, assuring cultural appropriateness, and validating the customized layout. Check that the translated material preserves the original message, matches the layout, and represents the brand personality to the new audience.
  • Implement Functionality Testing: Check the operation of the website or app across supported languages, including buttons, hyperlinks, and page loading. Ensure a pleasant user experience by recognizing and resolving issues during website interaction or checkout.
  • Documenting the Findings: Compile all testing observations into a single report to share with translators, developers, and other team members. This guarantees that faults detected during testing are promptly identified and resolved.

To accelerate your website and app localization testing, consider using a cloud-based test execution tool to execute localized tests on over 3,000 genuine browsers and devices.

What are some Best Practices for Localization Testing?

Follow these recommended practices while implementing the translation testing process for an international or multilingual website:

  • Finding the Right Resources: Developing a thoroughly localized website or app is a process that takes time. It involves accumulating necessary resources and extensive research by marketing teams into their diverse target audience. A crucial aspect of successful optimization is understanding users. To achieve this, human testers must empathize with users and design test cases accordingly.
  • Early and frequent testing: Avoid postponing Localization Testing for the eleventh hour. It encompasses more than just translations; factors such as text arrangement and the inclusion of products or services should be contemplated early in the development phase. Anticipate that developers will require sufficient time to implement necessary code adjustments. Employing a combination of human testing and automation, utilizing tools like Selenium or Cypress, can strike a balance between efficiency and precision.
  • Real devices and browser testing: Ensure that your website or app undergoes testing on actual devices and browsers. The device fragmentation issue is significant, given the many devices accessing the internet worldwide. To guarantee smooth performance, optimizing for diverse configurations, viewports, and screen resolutions is crucial.

Final Note

Ultimately, your approach to localization can streamline testing, making it faster and more manageable. One method is leveraging automated testing tools. You don’t necessarily have to invest significantly in comprehensive localization upfront. Instead, focus on minimum viable localization, which may entail covering only app store metadata or the app’s core functionality. This approach reduces time to market and boosts ROI. As your user base in specific countries grows significantly, you can expand localization efforts to include everything from push notifications to in-app chats, provided you have global-ready code.


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