5 Common Technical Problems & Solutions for Mobile App Localization

Technical Problems & Solutions for Mobile App LocalizationLack of experiences to internationalize, you will not have certain localization process and will feel the growing pressure of development when you want to promote your app to the overseas. This article will describe 5 common technical problems in mobile app localization together with right tools and methods to resolve them easily. Once your app is well localized, you will get more app downloads. Now, read the following to learn the details.

Mismatch between translation and interface layout

The length of word and the structure of sentences are different for every language, it will varies around 30% after translation during localization by developer. The problem can be annoying to developers because some of the interface cannot accommodate the translated text.

Solution

Summarize the post-translation changes in different languages, provide this information to the translator in advance, and limit word count after translation to limit their content.

More complex plural in some languages

An important step in localization is to ensure that the plural form of the language is correct. Different languages have different rules of use for plural, as an example, English has both singular and plural forms. The singular and plural forms of English seem relatively simple, but it does not apply to other languages.

Technical Problems & Solutions for Mobile App LocalizationOn the contrary, the plural forms of some languages are rather complicated. Russian, for example, a number ending with 1 (except 11), a number between 2 and 4 (except 12 and 14) and other numbers have different linguistic forms.

This means that when translating text into the application, the device may not be able to recognize two things:

  1. Which words are plural?
  2. What is their plural form?

This situation is even more severe in French because the grammatical structure is much more complicated.

Solution

App from different frameworks has different rules to process plural forms of languages. Android and iOS have great amount of code resources in the plural processing that we can use to ensure the translation is in line with the local language.

Android:https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/resources/string-resource.html#Plurals

iOS:https://www.oneskyapp.com/academy/learn-ios-localization/2-format-strings-plurals/

No standardization to extract strings

One of the main problems with extracting strings from products is that there are no standard methods and efficient tools to extract string. It causes great technical challenges for localization.

Solution

Xcode and Android Studio have built-in functions to extract strings for iOS and Android applications. For others, there are tools available such as gettext, l10n.js and Rails i18n.

Lots of repetitive and inefficient work

The localization technical workflow involves a number of manual steps: extracting strings, testing strings, uploading to platform, and integrating into the product. The works take up a lot of time and mostly on steps that are more cumbersome.

Solution

Give priority to platforms that have APIs in place when looking for a translation platform as this helps you save time.

Missing or error in translation

Technical Problems & Solutions for Mobile App LocalizationIf there is an error during string extraction (extraction error or string missing), then we are unable to know whether the validity of the string and ensure correct operations. This process is time consuming and laborious, not to mention manual error detection in the code.

Solution

In general, the industry standard solution is “pseudo-localization”, that is the translation of product content is literal rather than professional to facilitate advance inspection of localization process. It is also possible to discover translatable and non-translatable strings by doing so. Additionally, it can identify design / layout issues that affect localization.

Conclusion

Above are 5 common problems for mobile app localization. In fact, there are many more. Internationalization is one of the future directions for local app developers due to competitive domestic market. The process is not easy and requires developers and translators to accumulate experiences. Furthermore, the focus should be the product itself to be able to fully understand and integrate into the local users’ behaviors, cultural characteristics, language, policy and religion to establish a stable overseas market.

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