But, what if I tell you that I am also a developer of a successful Android app called Floating Apps? For many years, the app is still the most successful one of its kind on Google Play, has reached over 10 million downloads to date and its growth was fueled mainly by my localization efforts.
My journey with Floating Apps is where I learned how to get it translated to more languages for free, get contributors and volunteers - well, how to get hundreds of them. And that there is more to it if you want to get your app translated the right way.
In this article, I describe my very own experience that I gathered through the course of almost seven years. As much as possible of this process, we automatized in Localazy, so don’t worry, it’s not that hard, and it can bring you enormous amounts of new users.
I’m not going into details about preparing your app for localization from the technical point of view. (You can read more about this here). But I want to urge you to prepare your app for localization before you go out into the wild to get new contributors and volunteers. Why?
When you get your first volunteers that want to become contributors, they want to help you right away, make an impact, and their time may be limited. You have to be ready to get them in the process immediately, if possible. They want to help you for free, so remove obstacles out of their way.
By having all your app’s strings in localizable files or even better, managed by a translation platform such as Localazy, you are ready to go in seconds.
This may be an obvious piece of advice, but if you want to recruit contributors/volunteers, just ask your loyal users first. That’s essential. Do you have a “Help us translate the app” option in your app’s main menu? No? Fix it.
I experimented with several ways of how to do it. The very first and fast implementation was just to ask my app users to contact me via e-mail. They did eventually, and I ended up manually handling XML files. Time-consuming and error-prone, but I managed to get my app translated to the first three languages with a few other contributors waiting for me to get back to them.
After this first-hand experience with translations using the back and forth sending of XML files, it was time for a change. I wrote a quick and straightforward form-based app to help me manage translations faster. It worked for a while, but I received a lot of feedback about missing features that would make the translation more efficient and comfortable. Whenever it wasn’t clear how to translate the phrase, the translator had to contact me via email. Handling XML files was still partly involved, and I soon realized that my form-based solution is not prepared for ever-changing source phrases.
The definitive solution I continue to use to this day is to ask users for help and point them directly to Localazy.
Localazy removes obstacles, it’s easily accessible, and anyone willing to help can start instantly and learn quickly how to use it.
An effective way to ask for help is to use language selectors. It allows you to present available languages and ask for help in a natural way.
A great tip is to show whether the given language is fully translated or not - it incentivizes your potential contributors even more.
Localazy can help you with this as you can automate the process and save your precious time.
Contributor motivation was one of the primary reasons behind Localazy ShareTM. It’s here to help you to translate your app to more languages - at least partly. Why? Because once a part of your app is already translated, it’s easier to ask people to help you finish the translation.
It helps you open the “we support your language, but your help is appreciated” type of conversation with your users.
That’s where you should start right now. Get your app on Localazy if you haven’t yet, navigate to the reviews, and carefully go through ShareTM suggestions for key languages. It’s the first step. Try it now and see how quickly you can get parts of your app translated.
Also, you can use machine translations to create better motivation - It’s free with Localazy.
What if you added new features that need to be translated, made a mistake, or used inaccurate wording? You need your translators again. It’s an ongoing process, and you need to stay in touch with them.
Also, there is nothing like a finished translation. Even with your users’ best effort, the context may not be specified well enough, or the user misunderstood the meaning, and another user may come later to fix the translation. Your contributors are not just about one per language… And so you need a solution to manage this comfortably, or it will drive you crazy soon.
Localazy handles all this stuff automatically, provides extra context information, and automates communication with contributors. You don’t even have to think about it 😉.
Whenever you add or update strings in your app, you should immediately upload them to the localization platform, so your contributors can work on them when they have time.
I bet that you are eager to release the new version of your app as soon as you are done with writing the code. If you only upload strings at that moment, you need to wait for your contributors or release the version without the translation.
Uploading changed strings regularly helps to avoid or mitigate this problem.
With Localazy, this is a matter of seconds, and you’ll never feel like it’s a bothersome task again.
Some loyal users love your app, and will gladly help you. But there are also random users that, for a reason that I still don’t understand, come just to harm your app and damage existing translations. That’s a good reason for reviewing all contributions. So do it and manage your contributors with care.
Also, even if the user is doing their best, the translation may not be accurate enough. Commonly, placeholders are missing or misspelled. So, review your translations. It’s important.
All these features are already built into Localazy to make the process as simple as possible for you.
Award your best contributors with extra perks - mark them as trusted translators, so they see that you trust them and can make notable progress.
Also, from time to time, you can find people that are likely to become more than just contributors, but rather your teammates. Those deserve your trust and can help you with reviewing phrases or managing other contributors.
There’s everything you need for your user management contained in Localazy.
It’s simple to localize your app! There’s a lot of topics in this article, but don’t be afraid. It’s simple with the right tool, and many tasks can be automatized or are just as simple as a few clicks.
Everything we learned during the last seven years is available in Localazy for you.
Some parts of this article might not be accurate. This article mentions the ShareTM feature, which we've updated later. Learn more about the Localazy ShareTM improvements in this article.