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Good to know:

Localize your app to get more users.

The Apple App Store is now present in more than 150 countries and in 40 languages. Developers should benefit from this global audience and prepare their app to reach new users.

Localize App

Apple presents a few customer cases of companies who developed a successful internationalization of their app. Among them, Eurosport has localized their app in many languages.

`In only two years, Eurosport.com’s apps for iPhone and iPad have been downloaded over 4.7 million times. This success is partly thanks to their content and interface being available in 10 languages versions, for this allows our apps to transcend national boundaries and to engage a truly global sports fanbase.` said Arnaud Maillard, Eurosport’s New Media Director.

To localize your app, you need to adapt it to a country and its language.

To do this includes the translation of your narrative, using the correct date and time formats, and providing the correct keyboard (Apple provides 50 international keyboards).

Guest post by Olivier Verdin (AppTweak)

App Store Optimization

Adapting your app to a new language and culture is only the first part of internationalization.

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a must if you want to reach new users in foreign countries.

You should first adapt your title and description. Then, pick out the best keywords in the new language to increase your visibility. Video trailer and screenshots may also require updating their texting.

Title and Description

The description is the easiest part since a simple translation of your current description may be satisfactory. Nevertheless, we suggest that you give some freedom to your translator to adapt your description in a new language.

You should take special care when choosing a title. It is a good practice to add a few important keywords in your title. You should do the same for your title in a new language.

Therefore, it is very important to select the best keywords and to add the most important ones in your title.

What languages should I translate into?

When it comes to localization, the first question is always Where should we go? On app stores, the top languages include European Spanish, French, German, European Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Latin American Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese.

But, instead of rushing to translate your app description into the most popular languages, it helps to think a bit strategically.

Basically, you want to consider three big things: the language demographics of your current users, the potential size of a given language group, and the competition in any given market.

What do your current users speak?

Even unlocalized, your app may be especially popular in Germany, or tend to do well in South America. Based on the user data, you can choose markets that seem especially promising.

How much profit potential does a given market have?

Tuyen Nguyen from Google suggests that two metrics are useful in estimating which language groups are a priority for localization: (a) the top languages spoken by web-users; and (b) the top countries by paid app installs. Market potential matters, too. Who’s growing fastest?

Should I translate my app title?

It depends. In the interest of producing a consistent global brand, some developers prefer to keep their app name untranslated.

Sometimes, though, adding a localized element to the title makes it easier for people to find and engage with your app. After all, on the search result page, only the app title pops up. You may keep the brand section of the title untranslated, but go ahead and translate the rest.

Flipboard, for example, uses the word “Flipboard” in every language market, but translates the descriptive part of its title (“Your News Magazine”).

Why App Localization Matters

Here are several reasons why app localization is important:

There are nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, accounting for 95.5% of the world population.

More than half of the world’s mobile subscribers (52.1%) are located in Asia Pacific.

By 2016, Africa and the Middle East will overtake Europe as the second largest region for mobile subscribers.

Just 14 countries account for more than 61% of the global mobile subscriptions. China is #1, followed by India, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nigeria, Germany, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Mexico.

What’s the return on investment (ROI) for app localization?

A study, “The Impact of App Translations” from Distomo showed that localizing iPhone application text resulted in significantly more downloads – 128% more per country, in fact.

Not only that, but companies saw a 26% increase in revenue for each country added via app localization. What’s more, these results were achieved within just one week of offering a localized app.

The “app localization effect” on app downloads is striking. App developer David Janner ran an experiment with app translation. He found that 76% of the total app traffic came from English-speaking countries prior to app localization. And after? English-speaking users made up only 10% of the total, while the total volume leaped from 3,000 downloads per month prior to app localization to 23,000 downloads per month post-localization – or 767% more downloads.

Pay attention to character limit.

App descriptions come with limits (4,000 characters, for example, on Google). Be aware that some descriptions might get longer once they’re translated. Text translated into Brazilian Portuguese, for example, tends to be about 30% longer than the original English.

A few tips to avoid exceeding length limits:

Prioritize. Let you translators know which content is most important to the consumer—and what can be cut or trimmed down.

Ask for backward translation, if necessary. Backward translation—in which the translators turn the localized content back into English—lets you see how and what the translators might have done to slim down your app description.