Should I Translate My App Name?

Translating your app name is easy, but the question isn’t whether you can and is more whether you should. We often get asked this important question by our clients so we decided to share our advice with you.

Don’t weaken your brand

The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether you think your app’s name will become a brand. There’s only one Hipstamatic, there are a hundred other similar camera apps. Don’t localize your app name if you’re heading for the big time with your unique name, you may be in danger of weakening your brand.

Think about your current user base too. If you have many existing users internationally, they will be carrying its existing name. They will be your best marketers when you translate your app, so let them keep a name they are familiar with.

In general, unique names usually do better here. The more unique a name, the less language specific it is. We’d recommend names like Pixelmator, IncrediBooth and RapidWeaver, especially considering their extensive existing user bases, remain unchanged.

The flip side are apps with more descriptive names. These could be called “SEO” names, those that tell you what the app does rather than create a brand. Good examples of these include: Sleep Talk Recorder or RemoteSnap. We’d suggest these names were translated (in fact, RemoteSnap does!), so search engines and users can find them more easily.

It’s all about discoverability

There are over 600,000 apps on the iOS App Store alone. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a big marketing budget or are picked out by Apple, it’s not easy being found by potential users.

App names are indexed by search engines and the App Store, so descriptive names can often help users discover your app. Imagine how users will search for you app in other languages. If it’s a utility they don’t know about yet, it’s more likely they’re going to search in their own language.

Helping users out is key. So if translating your app’s name makes it easier to find, then definitely consider it, but if you already have considerable amount of users abroad or your app name is “different”, then we’d say keep it the same across all stores.


Robert Lo Bue

Rob is CEO of Applingua. With over a decade's experience, he is at the forefront of tech localization.