5 Things To Remember When Translating Your App

by Taskworld Blog Team / October 27, 2015

Yes you may now call us Le monde des tâches or Aufgabenwelt. Our European friends asked for it and we are happy to announce that Taskworld is now available in French and German!

We take great pride in our multicultural team. And we believe that different languages enrich our Workspace. So it was only fitting to add more languages to Taskworld Enterprise.

The cool thing about the whole process is that we translated the entire app completely in-house. Everyone in the team was passionate about seeing their own app in their native language. This experience was rewarding not only because it gave us immense satisfaction but it also provided us valuable insights.

So if you are looking to translate your app into another language, here are a few of our five key learnings that might help you.  

1. It will take longer than you expect

Oh yes it will. Translating an app is a lot more than it appears to be. The overused iceberg analogy is still perhaps the best way to describe it. Don’t plan your workload according to the tip. App translation opens up a can of worms. Treat it as a big project and create your schedule with ample buffer time.

2. Capitalize on in-house resources

App translation is straightforward yet complex at the same time. Straightforward because you have limited text and you know exactly what the intended action is. Complex because it requires deep knowledge of the app and its features.

If you have people in your team who have native proficiency in the language you are translating in, don’t shy away from allowing them to work on it. The fact that they understand the app inside out is priceless. It’s something that even professional translators would struggle with. Another advantage is that it will give them a feeling of ownership of the product which is always great for motivating people. In our case, Patrick, VP of Marketing personally took the challenge of translating Taskworld into German. 

"It was a challenge to translate technical words like Task or Checklist into German. One recommendation I can give is to spend an hour to check related sites and see what vocabulary they use. It's also important to check the translation in a staging environment once it is finished. Some sentences might not make sense once deployed."

 

- Patrick

Only someone who understands the app well can notice if a word accurately conveys the right meaning.

Our interns Laurent and David translated the app into French and our Web Developer Putti and Business Development Executive Namwan helped in Thai translation.

3. It’s not just the app


Although it may vary case by case but for most SaaS companies, translation doesn’t stop with just the app.  With that you’d need to translate Web pages, email communication, in-app messages, onboarding and the user guide. In order to extract the complete potential of another language, you will have to translate the entire experience. Of course this brings its own share of challenges. One of them is discussed next.

4. Know when to bring experts

Like we discussed before, app translation is fairly technical and doesn’t require creative writing. The same can’t be said for other things though. The essence of communication in any language is lost in literal translation. Therefore when you translate user communication (website, emails, in-app messages), it requires a complete rewrite. It’s much easier said than done though. You not only have to ensure that the message gets across, but also that it gets across in a voice that falls in line with your branding guidelines.

"English is an incredible language that allows you to say many things with few and short words. Sometimes you have to make tough choices and sacrifice better translations for translations that look better on screen but are still meaningful."

 

 

- Laurent

This is where professional translators can help. Discuss your ideas and messages with an expert and let them take it from there.  

5. Prepare your support team

Having your app in another language will introduce you to a new set of users. Users who don’t prefer communication in English. This is definitely a challenge. However that doesn’t mean that supporting them takes a backseat. Make sure that your Support team is able to handle tickets in all the languages supported by your application. Only then you can consider you app translation complete.

Taskworld is now available in English, Thai, French and German. More languages are on their way! If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments.

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