If you are reading this, chances are that you know how tricky mobile app localization can be from first hand experience. Though it is true that many traps wait along the way – from bad translation quality over time-consuming back and forth between engineers and the localization team to being out of sync with release cycles – localization can actually be pretty darn easy. We’ve been working with localization teams all over the world for many years now and figured out the biggest hurdles, and how to jump them.
1. Stop copying and pasting strings
Manually getting strings from the code to excel files that you can then send around to your translators is problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s prone to mistakes, because entries can easily be overlooked or duplicated. Secondly, it takes up a lot of time, and thirdly, it is extremely dull and mind numbing. So why don’t you let a machine do that job for you? SDKs, little helpers that communicate between the source code of your app and an online translation management platform, can find the Strings within the code and magically transport them to a clean online dashboard. Your translators can either translate them right then and there, or export files to their own computers and use any translation tool they fancy to do the job. A task that can take up hours is literally done within seconds. If you would like to find out more about how to integrate such an SDK into your app, I recommend watching this short video.
2. Start providing context for your translators
One of the biggest challenges for translators is to figure out where you intend to use a certain word or phrase. Just as an example, the word “open” could appear as an imperative (e.g. “Open the chest.”) or an adjective (e.g. “The shop is open.”). Without context, it is impossible for your translators to be sure which translation to use their target language. There are, of course, ways to ensure that your translators have a better idea of what context they are dealing with. You could, for example, attach screenshots to each string, with marks on them where the phrase is used on the screen. Imagine how much work that would be though! You might have guessed it, but we have actually found a way to do this automatically. The result will look something like the picture you can see below.
If you would like to see this feature explained in a bit more detail, check out this video . We at Applanga are also quite proud to say that nobody else has figured out a way as elegant and efficient as ours, so make sure to contact us directly for a live demo.
3. Stop relying on engineers for QA
Testing your translations within the actual app is super important, because you don’t want your users to find out about embarrassing errors. Usually, engineers are needed to build a test version of the app that you can then send around for functional and linguistic QA. Wouldn’t it be great, if a little elf could build you that test version so you no longer rely on engineers that are too busy to help you out? To not be forced to send around builds of your app? Remember the little SDK from point one? That guy also allows you, your translators and your localization team to open the app on your own device in the so-called draft mode, enabling you to view translations saved as drafts as if they were already live. Another way to simplify QA would be to use the screenshot feature described above. Simply trigger the automatic screenshot feature for the target language you would like to inspect after you added your translations and screenshots will be uploaded the next moment. That way, even remote team members and translators without the app on their phones can test from right within their browser. This helps you to spot design flaws and linguistic mess-ups easily and fix them right away.
4. Start optimising workflows
Strings appear in an organized manner all by themselves, translators have context and deliver great work, everyone can test like crazy and you can sit back and drink some coffee. As far as we can tell, there is only one thing left that could be annoying: communicating back and forth with translators via email. Let’s say you or a member of your team are reviewing translations and find something that could be optimized – wouldn’t it be great if you could flag that string and notify the person in charge right within the system? This might come as no surprise, but you can. Assigning states such as “needs review” or “rejected” to translations and mentioning the one responsible so they get a notification straight to your inbox will not only save time, but also guarantee clean communication and leave no room for misunderstandings. It’s also a great way to communicate localization bugs back to your developers and makes it easy for them to keep track of them.
Some of our customers have reported to be around ten times faster with their localization processes after integrating our magic little SDK and using our online dashboard for their processes. Imagine what you could do with all that time! Why don’t you get started today and do the same? We are more than happy to give you a live demo with some extra information and personalized tips and tricks. Sign up here or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re looking forward to meeting you!