App localization can be overwhelming. You have so many decisions to make! What languages to translate your app into? Which service provider to choose? Professional translation services might seem pricey. However there are some good reasons to invest into them.
In this post I will discuss these reasons and provide some tips on how to find an experienced translator, who can help you launch your app successfully in the new market.
Reasons for providing high-quality translation for your app
1. You only have one chance to produce the first impression
This is commonplace but it is often overlooked. Asking your friend, who learnt Spanish at high-school, to translate the description might seem a good idea, but it almost never yields the results you’re looking for in terms of presenting your app. Using Google Translate can bring more harm than good because of low quality.
2. It increases the number of downloads, your app customer rating and its Google Play or App Store ranking
Have a look at this case study to see the dramatic change a good translation can bring. Here’s a couple of questions you can ask yourself: which app would you choose — the one that has a clear and engaging description and interface in your native language, the one that has no translation at all, or the one with an incoherent gibberish produced by Google Translate? Are you sure that a no-name person who will pick your task on a people-powered translation platform will do a good job?
I bet you’ve made your app to help people. You were trying to solve some kind of problem that they face and make their lives easier and more fun. Bad translation produces an impression that the only thing you care about is the number of downloads.
4. Good translation converts better
You’ve heard what they say about good design, haven’t you? “Bad design shouts at you, while good design is the silent seller.” Guess what? The same applies to translation.
5. You make this world a better place
Do you want to know why I strive to provide the best quality for my clients? Because I believe that this is the way to make our life better. I want to be surrounded by beautiful things. And beautiful words.
6. It allows you to save your most prescious resource — time
Investing in good translation from the start will let you achieve the success you deserve faster. The case study I mentioned earlier proves just that. Don’t waste your time (and money!) and get it right the first time around.
7. It might improve the English description
Few people will read your app description as attentively as your translator. We easily spot any typos and inconsistencies, because that’s our job — we do it daily while proofreading our own translations. We’ll point them out to you and help you make your initial description even better.
8. It shows that you believe in your product
Going an extra mile to find a good translator shows that you think your app is worth it and that the investment will pay off. It makes the product more appealing in the eyes of other people.
I come across dozens of badly translated apps in Google Play. The same goes for App Store. And I’m pretty sure that the situation is somewhat similar for any language. Besides there are a lot of apps with similar functionality. So make quality translation your unique selling point.
10. It lets you focus on other aspects
I know for a fact that users delete badly translated apps. Sometimes they tell you that this is the problem, but most times they don’t. If you’re sure about the quality of the translation, you have one thing less to worry about and can find out what is wrong faster.
11. It helps you build your reputation
Reputation is something that is hard to gain and very easy to lose. You’ve worked hard to make your app the best you can, so don’t go and ruin it all by using unprofessional service providers.
Where to find a translator
So, where can you find a professional translator who can deliver the result that you’re looking for? Here are some tips for you:
Word of mouth is a great way to find good service providers. After all people usually recommend those who proved to be efficient when solving their problems. However, make sure that your quality standards match.
If someone can only give you the contact details of a translator who translates into a language you don’t need right now or doesn’t do app localization, this can still be useful. Usually translators are happy to recommend a trusted colleague, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Check out boutique translation agencies specializing in app localization
They usually offer a more personalized approach than big translation companies. The teams are smaller and the project managers can choose the best translators for your project.
Go to translators associations sites
Professional translators associations like ATA, or sites like ProZ.com and TranslatorsCafe.com offer large databases of translators. You’ve got to be careful, though: not all translators included in the databases offer quality work. Be sure to check out customer reviews. ATA and other professional associations with paid membership are certainly a safer choice.
Approach translators on Twitter
Many professional translators are on Twitter. Their bios often provide a link to their website where you can find information about their areas of expertise as well as customers testimonials.
Try to find translators by searching for hashtags #t9n (translation) #xl8 (translate) or #l10n (localization). You can also tweet about your project, so that an interested translator could find you.
Search on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is widely used by translation professionals to network with colleagues and potential clients. Their profiles contain information about their language pairs, areas of specialization, background and clients testimonials. You have to be a registered user to conduct the search.
Questions to ask a translator
Finding a good translator is difficult, because you can’t really evaluate the quality of their work. One thing you can go by is testimonials. You can also ask several questions to determine whether the person you want to hire is a professional. Here’s a list of these questions:
1. Do you translate into your native language only?
Usually a real pro translates only into their mother tongue. There might be exceptions to this rule. However I would only take the risk, if someone recommended me this translator.
2. What are your areas of specialization?
There’s a widely spread myth, that a good translator can translate any kind of text. In reality, the fewer areas of specialization a translator has the better. Just think about it: to translate something into another language a person needs to have a deep understanding of the subject. How many of your acquaintances know chemistry, programming and French Art equally well?
3. Do you use any CAT-tools?
CAT stands for ‘computer-assisted translation’. These tools help to provide consistency throughout the translation. They also allow to speed up the delivery.
4. Do you subcontract work?
You have spent a lot of effort and time to find a translator, so you want to be sure that they won’t give your project to somebody else. A professional would never do this without discussing it with you first.
Bonus: other services offered by professional translators, that you might find useful
What seems quite ok to users in one country might be absolutely inappropriate to users in another country. It’s good to know about such things. A professional translator will give you a heads up if anything in your app might seem offensive to your users in a new target market.
Proofreading by a second linguist
Two pairs of eyes are better than one. This is especially true when it comes to apps with sophisticated text or app descriptions for app stores. If you want everything to be perfect, you might find this option useful.
ASO (app store optimization)
This is of vital importance, if you want to get the maximum return on your investment (and I bet you do). You can try to do it yourself (here’s an article describing the tools you can use), or you can ask your translator, if he or she offers this service.
Translators’ work doesn’t finish when they send you the final file. I strongly recommend that you send them an installation package with the translation, so that they could check if everything looks ok on all types of devices. That way you’ll be able to provide a better user experience.
Some translators have a trusted network of colleagues working with other languages and are happy to provide project management services for you. Such groups of freelance translators are a great alternative to translation agencies. You get all the advantages of working with a freelancer without the problems connected with managing the whole translation process yourself.