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A Basic Guide To App Localization Service For Asian Markets

Posted by Chloe G. on July 19, 2023.

When Western enterprises venture into the Asian market through e-commerce stores or useful applications, they encounter a critical imperative: mobile app localization services. This process surpasses the translation of words from one language to another. It involves delving into legal, cultural, linguistic, and various other factors that shape a buyer’s purchasing journey and influence their decision to choose your brand.

Therefore, effective mobile app localization services become an indispensable component of your business development. It has the power to unlock a treasure trove of opportunities in an entirely new market. Conversely, if executed poorly, it can lead to distancing yourself from your intended audience. 

This blog post explores the best practices for mobile app localization services that are fundamental to achieving success in your businesses. Let’s embark on a closer review of these practices for the Asian markets.

Consider Legal and technical aspects 

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When embarking on app localization services, it is crucial to consider the legal aspects of your project. It is important to note that certain countries, like China, have their own primary search engine, Baidu, rendering Western search engine optimization (SEO) tactics ineffective. Therefore, your first step should be optimizing your mobile app specifically for Baidu. However, this presents another challenge: mobile optimization. Since a majority of Chinese consumers access the internet through their smartphones, it is essential to optimize your website for mobile usage to capture and maintain their attention and interest.

Furthermore, China has implemented the “Great Firewall,” which blocks many APIs commonly used in Western applications.  To address this, you will need to explore local alternatives such as Youku, Baidu Maps, WeChat, and other similar platforms. But there’s more to consider. When it comes to internet hosting, it is advisable to host your website locally to achieve faster site loading speeds. However, this requires obtaining an Internet Content Provider (ICP) license.

Notice culturally sensitive design and content

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After addressing the legal and technical aspects, the next step is to proceed with mobile application localization. However, this process can present challenges, particularly when it comes to adapting user interfaces, enhancing user experience, and adjusting images, icons, fonts, emojis, and colors to cater specifically to the Asian market. Below, we have outlined some of the essential considerations you need to incorporate when localizing mobile apps or conducting mobile app localization services.

To achieve effective mobile app localization, it is important to recognize the significant role of images in shaping the customer experience. These images must be culturally sensitive. For instance, in many Asian cultures, a preference exists for a greater amount of text compared to the minimalist approach commonly found in Western sites. Additionally, gestures and images are not universally understood. A prime example is the Western depiction of a parent putting their child on the head.

In numerous Asian cultures, touching someone’s head or shoulders is considered inappropriate and should be avoided. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of cultural symbolism. Another aspect related to images and symbolism is the significance of showcasing lifestyle photos that depict individuals enjoying your products, rather than relying solely on text to convey the product’s main features or benefits.

1. Colors

Colors hold significant cultural significance, particularly in China and the East Asia region, and should be carefully considered during mobile app localization. For instance, specific meanings are associated with various colors. Red, for example, symbolizes happiness and prosperity. Purple holds imperial connotations, while white is traditionally associated with mourning in China, unlike the Western association of mourning with black. Yellow carries multiple connotations, including associations with adult content, various Chinese emperor dynasties, and even nourishment. Therefore, the usage of yellow should be approached with caution to ensure appropriateness in context.

2. Icons and emoticons

In many Asian brands, the inclusion of mascots or cartoon-like characters with a humorous and adorable appeal is common. Therefore, incorporating such elements should be considered as part of the mobile app localization service process. Furthermore, it is important to note cultural variations in symbols and their meanings. For example, while the gear symbol is commonly used in the West to represent settings, in many Asian regions, the wrench symbol is preferred. Similarly, the interpretation of arrows on a website differs. In Western contexts, arrows often signify map directions or links, whereas, in many East Asian countries, they convey a sense of “explore” or “discover” more. Taking these cultural nuances into account will enhance the effectiveness of your mobile app localization efforts.

3. A single page for all your content

Another crucial aspect in the process of mobile localization service is the practice of consolidating nearly all of your website’s text onto a single page. This applies regardless of whether it may appear cluttered by Western design standards. Why is this necessary? It is because there is a strong preference in many Asian cultures for having all the information readily available on a single page. Although this approach differs from the Western design philosophy, it holds significant meaning in terms of connecting with your target audiences. By embracing this preference, you can effectively engage with your users in the localization process.

4. Fonts

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Font selection is another important consideration in mobile app localization. It is evident that many Asian languages consist of thousands of distinct characters, which can pose challenges when it comes to embedding fonts. Consequently, options such as using bold or italics to emphasize specific words may not be available. Additionally, the compact nature of these characters often results in densely-packed writing, requiring careful attention to maintain readability and avoid overwhelming the user interface.

5. Honorifics

Lastly, we must acknowledge the significance of honorifics in Asian cultures. Respect for elders and seniors holds immense cultural importance, and there is a moral perspective that should be considered as well. Moreover, decision-making processes often occur collectively rather than individually. Therefore, when crafting your content, it is essential to take these cultural nuances into account, where relevant. This ensures that your mobile app localization reflects and respects these cultural values, fostering a stronger connection with your target audience.

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Reach target audiences with trustworthy mobile app localization services 

Mobile app localization service is a crucial component of effective translation techniques. Neglecting to localize mobile apps can have detrimental consequences for your business. Consider the Chinese consumer market, for instance, which is projected to experience consistent annual growth of around 12% and generate billions of dollars in sales.

To tap into this significant market, it is essential to engage trustworthy and high-quality mobile app localization services. Ignoring these factors could jeopardize your business’s expansion efforts in the East. Conversely, when executed correctly, mobile app localization services can endear your business to customers, allowing you to quickly build a loyal following by addressing their unique needs.

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As one of the best translation agencies on GoodFirms, GTE Localize is your ideal app localization service partner for achieving your app localization goals with unparalleled expertise. With a wealth of experience in app localization services and a team of highly qualified app translators and experts, GTE Localize is equipped to provide top-notch services in the field.

Let’s get in touch with our team today.

To get a detailed guide for the Asian languages and markets, let’s download our white paper: Insightful Tips For Localization Into Asian Languages (56 Pages)