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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,665member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Why doesn't Apple run their own localisation service? Make it as easy as possible for people.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member
    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 :p
  • Reply 5 of 39
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member


    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.

  • Reply 6 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.

    richl wrote: »
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 39
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,402member

    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?

  • Reply 8 of 39
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    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.

  • Reply 9 of 39
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,435member
    emig647 wrote: »
    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.
    richl wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    ankleskaterankleskater Posts: 1,287member


    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.

  • Reply 11 of 39
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member


    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.

  • Reply 12 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    FYI: I'm offering Wingding translation services for all apps at a reasonable price. Support the Wingdingery community.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    brascobrasco Posts: 5member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    Localizing an app can be a great way of getting thousands or even millions new paying users worldwide. And as you know, the more you sell, the more money Apple makes. No wonder they're trying to push this forward ;).

    If you need help translating an app, its marketing content and/or e-mails and press releases into basically any language, I recommend you go to http://TurboTranslations.com/apps.html - fast, easy, reliable & affordable translations online :).
  • Reply 15 of 39
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    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". image

  • Reply 16 of 39
    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/
  • Reply 17 of 39
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    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!

  • Reply 18 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    In before "That's racist". :no:

    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.
  • Reply 19 of 39
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member

    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". image



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

  • Reply 20 of 39
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    stelligent wrote: »

    [SIZE=10pt]Nice try. We all know Wingding is a font and not a language. Ha![/SIZE]

    Shhhh!
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