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How to Reduce App Localization Cost Without Sacrificing Quality

Posted by Chloe G. on July 12, 2023.

Managing app localization costs can be a daunting challenge, especially for smaller companies and startups. The good news is that there are ways to minimize app localization expenses without compromising the quality of your localized content. 

In this article, we will explore effective strategies to achieve cost savings while ensuring high-quality localization results.

#1. Plan ahead to save app localization cost


While it may seem obvious, many people still overlook the critical step of planning ahead for a cost-effective app localization process. A well-structured plan serves as the key to a successful and budget-friendly translation project. 

By giving yourself enough time to prepare and identify suitable resources, you can avoid rushed approaches that may inflate translation costs to 1.5 or even 2 times the normal rate. Indeed, planning ahead not only offers translators sufficient notice but also enables significant cost reduction.

In your localization plan, ensure to include the following key elements:

  • Scope of your project

To effectively manage app localization costs, you can start by defining the scope of your project. Identify the specific content that requires localization and determine the level of translation needed – Translation Only, Translation + Editing, or Translation + Editing + Proofreading. Additionally, you should consider whether Desktop Publishing services or other supplementary tasks are necessary to ensure a high-quality localized app.

  • Number of languages

When planning app localization, carefully decide on the number of languages you need to translate your content into. If you are considering entering multiple markets, it is wise to strategize your approach. You may choose to test the waters by starting with one or two languages first before expanding to other target languages. Alternatively, if the resources and timeline allow, translating all target languages simultaneously can accelerate your app’s global reach and impact. 

  • Volume estimation

To optimize your app localization costs, it is crucial to account for repetitive content within the project. Utilizing translation memory of CAT Tools can substantially reduce the efforts needed to handle such segments. By carefully considering the number of new words and duplicate words, you can accurately gauge the project volume and potentially reduce costs.

Moreover, sharing all relevant information, including any existing Translation Memory (TM), with your translation partner can lead to further expense reduction. By leveraging the existing TM, your translation partner can efficiently handle previously translated content, reducing redundant work and ultimately lowering overall localization costs.

  • Expected turn-around time

The turn-around time for your app localization project depends on several factors, including the metrics of individual translators and the capacity of the translation agency. To calculate a precise estimate, your need to request the following information from your translation resources:

  • Translator metric: This refers to the number of words an individual translator can translate per day. For example, if a translator’s metric is 2000 words a day, and you are working with only one translator, it would take approximately 5 days for them to handle a 10,000-word project.
  • Agency capacity: The capacity of a translation agency indicates the total number of words that a team of translators can handle within a day. For instance, at GTE Localize, we can assign tasks to multiple translators to work simultaneously, resulting in a capacity of 8000 words a day for Asian languages to English language pairs. Consequently, for a 10,000-word project, you can expect to receive the translation within 1.5 business days.
  • Managing translator involvement: It is important to be cautious about the number of translators involved to maintain consistency in the project. Based on GTE Localize’s experience, we recommend limiting participation to no more than 3 translators + 1 editor for projects that require content uniformity, such as websites, user guides, and contracts. This approach ensures a cohesive and high-quality output. However, for projects with unrelated or low-related content, such as random strings from the internet or e-commerce product titles, you have more flexibility. As long as each translator can demonstrate their quality, even 20-30 translators working simultaneously can produce a satisfactory final project quality.

If the initial quotation from your translation partner exceeds your budget, explore strategies for cost optimization. By eliminating low-priority content from the project scope or negotiating discounts with your partner, you can align costs with your budget constraints.


#2. Optimized Source Content


To reduce app localization costs, it is essential to optimize your source content before sending it for translation. Since most translators charge based on the number of words translated, cutting down on unnecessary content can lead to significant cost savings. While this optimization process may require some time and effort, the benefits make it well worthwhile. Here are some tips for creating economical and translation-friendly content:

  • Simplify and shorten sentences: Optimize your content by using shorter and simpler words to streamline sentences. You can avoid wordiness and lengthy expressions by paraphrasing the original text. The clarity and conciseness of your sentences enable faster translations, resulting in reduced costs.
  • Eliminate unnecessary content: Ensure your content appeals to a global audience by removing idioms, jargon, metaphors, and culture-specific expressions. By keeping the content universally understandable, you facilitate smoother translations and avoid unnecessary revisions.
  • Avoid text in graphics: Minimize time and cost in the translation process by refraining from embedding text within graphics. Instead, you can use captions or separate text to allow for easier translation, saving valuable time and resources.
  • Remove code: It is needed to remove code in the source files to help your app translation service provider translate easier and faster.
  • Allow for expansion in length: Account for the expansion of translated content, especially from English to other languages. To maintain the original formatting and visual appeal, you should leave enough white space to accommodate the increased length. This consideration ensures consistency in the presentation and layout of your localized app.


#3. Make the Most of Technology


Leveraging technology is a key strategy to reduce app localization costs while maintaining translation quality and efficiency. Embracing modern tools and solutions can significantly streamline the localization process, optimize workflow, and minimize human intervention. When selecting a language service provider, ensure they have the following technologies integrated into their workflow:

  • Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Tools: An ideal language service provider should utilize reliable CAT tools equipped with translation memory and terminology management capabilities. These tools store previously translated segments and suggest relevant translations to translators, ensuring consistency and reducing repetitive work. Translation memory not only saves time but also lowers costs, as you only pay for new or modified content.
  • Machine Translation (MT): To minimize the app localization cost, a language service provider can utilize Machine Translation to handle large volumes of content or initial translations. While MT may not provide perfect translations, it significantly speeds up the process and lowers expenses. Post-editing by human translators can further refine the output, striking a balance between cost savings and translation quality.
  • Translation Management Systems (TMS): An efficient language service provider employs Translation Management Systems to centralize and automate the entire localization workflow. TMS solutions streamline project management, facilitate vendor management, and offer cost control features, leading to better resource allocation and reduced expenses.


#4. Choose Translation Resources

Selecting the right translation resources is a critical step in managing app localization costs without compromising on quality. Careful consideration of translators and translation agencies ensures that you receive accurate and culturally appropriate translations while optimizing your budget.

  • Working with translation agencies: Translation agencies offer a comprehensive solution with a dedicated Project Management (PM) team, handling all coordination tasks, and ensuring a smoother localization process. Simply sending them the files suffices, and they will deliver the translated versions. However, it is important to note that their rates are generally higher than those of freelancers. Translation agencies are well-suited for projects with no strict budget, requiring translations in multiple language pairs, and encompassing various services within the localization process.
  • Working with freelance translators: Freelancers often offer lower rates, making them an attractive option for projects with limited or tight budgets. However, working with freelancers involves finding suitable translators, conducting tests, and coordinating the project yourself, which can be time-consuming. They are more suitable for smaller to moderate-volume projects with one language pair and a relatively simpler localization process.

Ultimately, the decision depends on various factors, including your budget, the number of languages you need translations for, the complexity of services required, the project volume, and the timeframe. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so carefully evaluate your project’s specific needs and consider the pros and cons of each approach before making your decision.

For more in-depth information on the advantages and disadvantages of working with freelancers and translation agencies, you can read further here.


#5. Prepare a Translation Guideline


The success of a translation project depends not only on translators or translation agencies but also on the preparation and guidance provided by clients. A well-structured translation guideline is essential to ensure a smooth and high-quality translation process, avoiding mistakes and reducing translation costs. Here are key components to include in your translation guideline:

  • Style Guide

A comprehensive style guide should cover various elements, including:

  • Punctuation and spelling preferences (e.g., comma usage, British or American English spelling).
  • Date and time formats (e.g., dd/mm/yyyy or mm/dd/yyyy).
  • Numeric conventions (e.g., metric or imperial system).
  • Acronyms and abbreviations.
  • User interface specifications (e.g., monolingual source, monolingual target, or bilingual).
  • Writing tone and styles.
  • Terminology, Glossary, and Do-not-translate List

To ensure consistency and accuracy throughout the project, provide a glossary of frequently used terms, glossary, and their preferred translations. Translators can also propose translations for approval. Additionally, include a list of words that should not be translated, such as product names, people names, technology terms, addresses, or website URLs.

  • References

For achieving a consistent tone and writing style, share references or examples of previous documents or existing translations. This helps guide translators to align with your brand’s voice.

  • Other requirements
  • Technology usage: Specify if you want translators to use CAT Tools to enhance efficiency and translation quality. Mention the preferred CAT Tools, such as Trados, MemoQ, Memsource, or others, to streamline management and quality control. Ensure all translation management technologies, like content management systems (CMS), APIs, and CAT environments, are connected for a smooth workflow.
  • Design and layouts: Include details about the desired final file types and layouts, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF formats. Specify any specific font, word size, indent, spacing, or other design requirements.



Reducing app localization costs without compromising on quality necessitates meticulous planning and strategic execution. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively manage your localization project and achieve a cost-effective, high-quality outcome.

If you are searching for a dependable and experienced partner for your app localization needs, look no further than GTE Localize. 



Here are several reasons why GTE Localize stands out:

  • 100% native translators: As one of the best translation agencies on GoodFirms, GTE Localize boasts a team of over 1200 experienced and certified native translators from around the globe. Their expertise enables us to provide high-quality app localization services that accurately capture the nuances and cultural intricacies of the target language.
  • Lifetime warranty policy: Our lifetime warranty policy is a testament to the skill of our team and our adoption of cutting-edge technology in the localization industry. This policy ensures the quality of all localized content, offering you peace of mind that your content will be accurately translated and localized.
  • Cost-effective services: Through the strategic use of technology, such as Translation Memory and CAT tools, we optimize our work processes and reduce app localization costs for our clients. 
  • Transparent pricing: We provide upfront pricing with no hidden charges or surprises along the way. You can trust that the quote you receive accurately reflects the scope of the project, allowing for better budget planning and cost control.

Contact GTE Localize today for a free consultation, a complimentary 300-word test, and a detailed quote tailored to your app localization service project. 

Additionally, if you are interested in SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) localization strategies, you can download our white paper here for valuable insights and information.