Translating an animation-heavy fitness app like Power 20 into many languages requires significant planning. I made the rookie mistake of building the initial iPhone app without thinking through translation. If I want to translate the app now, I’ll have to recreate many of the designs, which is really expensive and time-consuming. What a waste!

In some ways, I started from scratch to replicate Power 20 for Android. The artwork had to be recreated to work with the many screens used by Android devices. This time around, I was able to strip out all text that was previously embedded in the designs, making it far easier to translate the app into other languages.

The translation process is at once simple and complex. It’s simple because all the words used can be quickly spat out in a long list, or “.strings” file, to be translated. Once translated, integrating the new language is as easy as uploading the new .strings file. However, it gets complicated when trying to translate words like “burpee” into many different languages. You need real humans to do the translations, and tech savvy people who can manipulate the string files. There are services that do this, (some starting at $700 per language), but it quickly becomes an expensive endeavor. The alternative is to use a different freelancer for each language, but that can take a lot of time and frustration. I’m going to start by working with individual freelancers, but I’d appreciate advice on how best to go about this.

Android developers should follow this guide to localize their app. For iOS, here’s a handy tutorial for translating apps. cialis

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  • Anthony G.

    Context is king! While it can be a good amount of extra work, creating a translation “map” with screenshots helps. Number the areas on the screenshots where your translated words will go. Provide the English numbered list (key) along with the map. The map and key will help make sure your translators have a good idea of the context (images and text) as well as how much space they are allowed for each word/phrase. I’ve found some apps just don’t leave enough space for the words a translator may pick. Seeing the available real estate may nudge them toward a shorter word with the same meaning. Also, access to a demo of the app will help.

  • Anonymous

    Anthony – so smart! That’s a brilliant idea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/unpradeep Pradeep U.N.

    On the other hand – isnt the systemic need here the opportunity?
    Create a cloud-app that helps translate Android-iOS-Amazon-Windows from one to the other.
    In most cases the logic, creative media is the same, there are just minor tweaks to libraries to call and interfaces to modify; which i would believe can be automated with some effort and thought.
    But i think a lot of entrepreneurs will be in your shoes arshad, and they wouldnt mind paying for the multi-device translation services; dont you think?

  • Arshad

    You’re right – there is a systemic need to simplify the process of building across multiple platforms and devices, and for the translation services. There’s a complicated but real business opportunity in there.