Localization Myths – The Truth About Localization

It’s not every day you hear an agency telling you what they do is super easy and persuading you to use fewer of their services rather than more. At Applingua we really want everyone to get localization right, rather than up-sell more languages or persuade you to translate more than you should. We want to tackle some of the localization myths from the wonderful world of apps, to help you make the right choices.

Localization Myths

1. Localization is expensive

There’s truth behind the saying “you get what you pay for”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean localization is expensive. You also have to consider how much of the initial outlay will be recouped by access to bigger markets. More than the cost, it’s worth considering what localization is worth to you. You’d expect to pay more for something that’s better quality, right?

2. It’s all or nothing

If you translate the app, you have to do the website and support site too. While consistency is always good, how many people actually find your app or product through your website? And will all that support text really give you a return on your investment? If you’re new to localization, start with just your App Store descriptions and keywords then move on to the app. Measure how people interact with your company and website and then decide which other resources need localizing.

3. If you localize you’ll have to offer support in every language

Nope! Sure, it’d be nice if you could offer support in every language that you translate your app into, but realistically it’s not always feasible or possible and the majority of your users will understand that. Be up front from the start, let them know that you only offer support in [x languages] and if you’re really nice think about translating an FAQ into the most popular languages.

4. Localization and translation are the same

No siree! We actually wrote a post on this last year but it’s worth reiterating again. Translation and localization are similar but not the same. Do a little research before deciding what route you’d like to go down.

5. Anyone can localize documents if they speak another language

Myth. Myth myth mythy myth. You might speak another language but unless you’re a native speaker you’re not likely to know the intricacies of each language, let alone each niche category within that language. Remember, translation is often a masters level skill. We speak conversational French but if you handed us a medical or law document we’d probably only recognise one word in ten. Hire someone who has the qualifications for the job, you’ll probably thank yourself later!

6. The more languages the better

Translate ALL the languages! There are currently 42 languages available on iTunes, it’s better to be available to anyone who wants it, right? Um. Not really, no. We’re actually doing ourselves out of a job by telling you to translate into fewer languages (we’re funny like that) but it often doesn’t make sense to translate into every available language and the cost would be phenomenal. If you don’t have a significant following in the Ukraine or Vietnam then it’s probably safe to leave your text in English for now and focus on your more popular locations.

7. Google Translate is the same as a native speaker

We’re not going to stop telling you this isn’t true until people stop saying to us “But I can just use Google Translate, right?”. Google Translate is amazing. It’s free, it has a wide range of well used languages and makes a great deal of sense if you’re translating isolated sentences and phrases or want to double check you’re going the right way but can’t quite remember the words right and left when you’re out and about on holiday. It’s not a be all and end all translation tool. Nothing that produces machine translation ever is, really. Saving money in the short run might cost your reputation in the long run, so keep Google Translate for holidays.

If you can think of any more myths let us know and we’ll be happy to bust them! 🙂 Of course if you want to localize (and you should!) then you can get in touch with us via our contact page above 🙂