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Apple asks developers to localize apps, opens Chinese Support forum in international push

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
In what appears to be a move toward further internationalizing its Internet services and app ecosystem, Apple earlier this week issued a letter to developers requesting they localize their apps, and launched a new Chinese language version of its Support Communities forum.

Connect Letter


Apple's App Store and iBookstore teams contacted content creators through iTunes Connect this week, sending out an email touting the advantages of app and marketing localization. In addition to the software and e-book efforts, the company debuted a localized asset of its own with the new Chinese language Support Communities.

In the letter to iTunes Connect members, Apple noted that the App Store and Mac App Store are available in 155 countries with support for 40 languages, saying that "it has never been more important to localize your app and marketing material."

According to AppleInsider reader Gregg, the emails were sent out on Wednesday. "The App Store editorial team is always looking for great apps that are localized." - from Apple's letter to developers

One day prior to the letter drop, Apple rolled out access to a Chinese Support Communities forum, giving Chinese speaking users a chance to help each other using their native tongue. As can be expected from a service that launched just days ago, the forums are still fairly empty, with only a handful of members signed up to dish out advice. This is likely to change, however, just as the original Support Communities, itself an upgrade to the old Apple Discussions board, grew to support thousands of users since its launch two years ago.

While mere speculation, the introduction of the Chinese language forum may be linked to an hours-long Support Communities outage that occurred late last month. The downtime was chalked up to routine maintenance as no changes were discovered, though Apple could have been modifying the service's backend to support the new portal, as the Chinese language site appears to be using the same Apple.com domain as the English version.

Connect Letter


The two developments suggest Apple is making a move to bolster its international presence. With China being a hugely important market with millions of addressable consumers, the company's actions may be in preparation for an expected boom in iOS device sales.

Currently, Apple is partnered with two Chinese wireless telecoms, but has yet to reach an official deal with the world's largest carrier China Mobile. Rumors that a next-gen iPhone, and possibly a low-cost unit aimed at developing markets, will launch on the cellular giant's network have been ramping up since Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly met with company during a January visit to China. The iPhone has long been expected to debut on the carrier, but a deal has yet to materialize.

Most recently, Apple was the target of an attack from state-run media outlets, which claimed the iPhone maker's Chinese warranty policies were not in line with those offered to the rest of the world. Cook responded by issuing an apology letter explaining the situation and promising reform, a rare departure from Apple's traditionally tight-lipped media policies.

The letter made an impact, turning the Chinese press from vitriolic enemy to supporter in one day.
post #2 of 37
Will those links to 'learn how to localize your app...' bring you to an automated system from Apple, or are you presented with a list of good translation companies? I would assume the latter, for accuracy, and presume only a small percentage of developers will localize (further) as the costs involved could be the number 1 reason why developers haven't localized in the first place.
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post #3 of 37
For many developers internationalization just isn't practical. It is great for those with the resources but many apps are too narrowly focused to generate the income required to support translation.
post #4 of 37
Why doesn't Apple run their own localisation service? Make it as easy as possible for people.
post #5 of 37
I don't have the cash to pay for that... and I refuse to Google-Translate, it looks lame.



/me buys 50 "learn a language in three weeks" books for everyone in company. Let's do this, boyz and girlz 1tongue.gif

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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post #6 of 37

This was one of Apple's key point from last year's WWDC. From my experience, it's definitely worth doing. About half of my sales are from non-English speaking countries.

post #7 of 37
I would also like to see VoiceOver added to more apps for the visually impaired. This is one area that is simple for the developer to implement if they care about the details. In fact, I'm surprised Apple doesn't have a way to interject VoiceOver into Xcode to automate and speed up the process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

This was one of Apple's key point from last year's WWDC. From my experience, it's definitely worth doing. About half of my sales are from non-English speaking countries.

Can you be more specific? For instance, what countries were the highest? What company did you use? How much did it cost?
Edited by SolipsismX - 4/12/13 at 5:29am

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Will those links to 'learn how to localize your app...' bring you to an automated system from Apple, or are you presented with a list of good translation companies? I would assume the latter, for accuracy, and presume only a small percentage of developers will localize (further) as the costs involved could be the number 1 reason why developers haven't localized in the first place.

 

After doing it at the company I work for, I can attest Google Translate is wrong about 70% of the time with Simple Chinese. I don't know any translators outside of work that I could use in my app.

 

When I received this email yesterday, I was scratching my head. I'm supposed to use one of these vendors that Apple lists: https://developer.apple.com/internationalization/#vendors

 

I'm an independent developer on my own apps, not sure I have the resources to pay these guys. Then again, maybe I do. Anyone know the average pricing for this?

 

 

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The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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The reason why they are analysts is because they failed at running businesses.

 

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post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Can you be more specific? For instance, what countries were the highest? What company did you use? How much did it cost?

 

I'd love to but that would be breaking customer confidentiality. Let's just say that you'd be pleasantly surprised about the sales from countries with a reputation for piracy.

post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

I'm an independent developer on my own apps, not sure I have the resources to pay these guys. Then again, maybe I do. Anyone know the average pricing for this?

Sorry, I don't know. The software company I used to work for was a global one, and they had their own Language Center. They were paid over € 50k/y and their manager raked in € 170k/y. But this was 1998-2003 so I don't know what the current situation is.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

I'd love to but that would be breaking customer confidentiality. Let's just say that you'd be pleasantly surprised about the sales from countries with a reputation for piracy.

Well, no sarc tag, so I read it that people are willing to pay for your app(s). Good for you sir.
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post #11 of 37

This is nothing new. I first received recommendation from Apple on how to localize apps in May of 2011 (there might even have been earlier messages). There is nothing in this latest email (which I didn't receive - what's up with that!) that "requires" localization.

post #12 of 37

I got that email as well few days ago. I also remember getting it few times in the past. Using AppViz I have noticed that more than 70% of my apps are being bought by English speakers. Beside, my app is very focused on specific to certain field in engineering. So I will not be spending money on localization for now.

post #13 of 37
FYI: I'm offering Wingding translation services for all apps at a reasonable price. Support the Wingdingery community.
Edited by SolipsismX - 4/12/13 at 7:39am

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #14 of 37
I released one of my apps to China in Simple Mandarin and had 0 downloads a day at .99. When I offered it for free, sometimes 500 plus downloads. The problem is that some cultures like the Chinese, don't believe in paying for software. Extend iAds to China and then it will be worth our time and resources to localize.
post #15 of 37
Originally Posted by Brasco View Post
The problem is that some cultures like the Chinese, don't believe in paying for software. 

 

In before "That's racist". 1oyvey.gif

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #16 of 37
We just translated our game Hit Tennis 3 to 14 languages, and got great results. Case study here: http://www.markj.net/translate-hit-tennis-3-iphone-game/
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

FYI: I'm offering Wingding translation services for all apps at a reasonable price. Support the Wingdingery community.

 

 

Nice try. We all know Wingding is a font and not a language. Ha!

post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

In before "That's racist". 1oyvey.gif

i wouldn't define that as racist. He specifically mentioned culture without an implication that the Chinese people are evil or wired that way yada yada yada. The problem I have with that statement is that he's stereotyped the entire nation without any consideration for differences that would after why people are more likely to pirate in certain countries. The only common thread I've noticed seems to be in regard to their average wealth/poverty levels. If we use a scale that measures who is most likely to pirate a 99¢ app, those that each $100 per month or those that earn $10,000 per month we're likely to see it fall more heavily on the former.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Originally Posted by Brasco View Post
The problem is that some cultures like the Chinese, don't believe in paying for software. 

 

In before "That's racist". 1oyvey.gif

Actually, it's stereotyping. Or, in this case, it's just inaccurate.

post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


Nice try. We all know Wingding is a font and not a language. Ha!

Shhhh!

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #21 of 37
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post
i wouldn't define that as racist.

 

Exactly!


Originally Posted by stelligent View Post
Or, in this case, it's just inaccurate.

 

He doesn't find it so.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by markofjohnson View Post

We just translated our game Hit Tennis 3 to 14 languages, and got great results. Case study here: http://www.markj.net/translate-hit-tennis-3-iphone-game/

 

Interesting stuff. Thank you for sharing this with us.

post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by markofjohnson View Post

We just translated our game Hit Tennis 3 to 14 languages, and got great results. Case study here: http://www.markj.net/translate-hit-tennis-3-iphone-game/

Blimey! That's an addictive game. And one that I'm actually good at. I beat Jesse. Thanks!
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post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

 

Originally Posted by stelligent View Post
Or, in this case, it's just inaccurate.
 

Exactly!

 

He doesn't find it so.

That doesn't make it not so. 

post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

That doesn't make it not so.

So he does do¿
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post #26 of 37
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post
So he does do¿

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

This is nothing new. I first received recommendation from Apple on how to localize apps in May of 2011 (there might even have been earlier messages). There is nothing in this latest email (which I didn't receive - what's up with that!) that "requires" localization.

Maybe because they've been following you on AI? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post


So he does do¿

I do find it that it does not have to be so just because he does do find it so.

post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


Maybe because they've been following you on AI? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)


Wow. Argumentum ad hominem?

 

It's this sort of attack which I find particularly distasteful around here. Please stop.

post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


Was Yogi his manager at the time?

post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


Wow. Argumentum ad hominem?

It's this sort of attack which I find particularly distasteful around here. Please stop.

Just reminding you that you were one of those few who would rush to blame a manager in Cupertino for iMac screen-lamination issues in Taiwan/China/Japan/Korea or wherever, without knowing anything about those issues, or the universe of difficulties involved.

Just kidding in your case of course, but maybe they do notice these mutterings in Cupertino. Steve certainly did, with the iPad. They try hard to do something exceptional, and when the rabble don't appreciate it ("it's just a big iPod touch;" "we didn't ask for a thinner iMac") or the inevitable delays happen, the unknowing turn on them. Maybe they don't take it personally. I would, but that's just me—and Steve.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


Wow. Argumentum ad hominem?

It's this sort of attack which I find particularly distasteful around here. Please stop.

In what way did he attacks your motives or character? He make a jokey comment.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


Just reminding you that you were one of those few who would rush to blame a manager in Cupertino for iMac screen-lamination issues in Taiwan/China/Japan/Korea or wherever, without knowing anything about those issues, or the universe of difficulties involved.

Just kidding in your case of course, but maybe they do notice these mutterings in Cupertino. Steve certainly did, with the iPad. They try hard to do something exceptional, and when the rabble don't appreciate it ("it's just a big iPod touch;" "we didn't ask for a thinner iMac") or the inevitable delays happen, the unknowing turn on them. Maybe they don't take it personally. I would, but that's just me—and Steve.


First, I was joking (here).

 

Second, Apple absolutely has to take responsibility when their products are late. Do you knock on Samsung's door if the A5 chip in your iPad stops working?

 

That's just the way the world is. You'll understand when you graduate, or stop working for the government.

post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


In what way did he attacks your motives or character? He make a jokey comment.


Me jokey back. Clearly he didn't attack me and so (I thought) the hyperbole was pretty obvious.

 

Sign .... Didn't someone say Seinfeld wasn't an overnight success? Oh yeah, that was me.

post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post


First, I was joking (here).

Second, Apple absolutely has to take responsibility when their products are late. Do you knock on Samsung's door if the A5 chip in your iPad stops working?

That's just the way the world is. You'll understand when you graduate, or stop working for the government.

First, "(which I didn't receive, what's up with that!)" —it's that petulant little exclamation mark: Apple is at it again, being inscrutable or incompetant, or both, toward developers. ("Where's mine? Me me me . . .")

So you get a joke. Maybe they singled you out for blaming them when the supply of indium gets delayed because of a typhoon and the iMacs are late. Did heads roll at Toyota when there was a post-tsunami Prius shortage?

You don't know why things don't go your way, you blame them, so you get a joke.
post #36 of 37

I localize software for a living and I think that most developers know whether it's the right thing for them to do. You can check iTunes Connect and see if you're getting any downloads in other countries. If you are, then first localizing your app description is a great way to gauge interest in how many people will actually PAY for your software. Most app descriptions are just 200-300 words and cost very little to translate, perhaps $50 on average. That should be a fraction of your advertising budget, and if you're making money in English you can make it in other languages. Only then should you worry about localizing your app, which does take a bit of preparation.

 

Of course if your app is to look up zipcodes in Maine, probably there is no reason to localize, but for most developers who are making at least hundreds of dollars of month in English, localizing into 2-10 languages is a smart idea. The Apple email just goes a little too far. Start slow and simple. Try just the app description in one language for a country where you are already seeing some downloads. Experience tells me that you're likely to see a favorable jump in downloads that will convince you to try more!

post #37 of 37

If you do decide to localize, be sure to find a good translator, especially if the terms are technical.

 

I remember many years ago our group decided to try to sell our handheld software to the Saudi government.  It included lots of buttons and labels with very technical terms.   So we had someone non-technical in our division who knew Arabic translate them directly over.

 

Well, as is not uncommon in technical fields, terms do not always translate directly over.  Instead, they often translate into some type of slang term.

 

Anyway, our poor managers flew over to Saudi Arabia to make a big presentation, and the officials kept snickering the whole time.   Finally, they pointed out that some of the translations just didn't make sense.

 

Lessons learned...

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