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I'm developing a small android app, which is regional independent. I'm curious, which language should I try to support? At the moment I'm only sure to support the languages I speak fluently. This is German and English.

But what about French, Spanish or Japanese...? Are there any statistics out there to help determine which to support?

P.S.: Should I use maybe crappy automatic translation, if I don't know a native speaker, or should I forget about it otherwise?

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Regarding your PS - auto-translation is extremely hit or miss, some languages (like East Asian languages) have a lot of contextual components and grammatical rules that make them strange to translate, and malformed input (like wrong grammar/punctuation) can possibly throw them off. Also, check this out: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… - not directly useful to you, but good numbers to know. –  birryree Mar 8 '12 at 18:08
Thank you that really helped –  otakun85 Mar 11 '12 at 15:54
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Building off Ek0nomik's answer of "it depends" -- which is true! -- here's some additional information.

If your internationalized application is ready for localization, prioritization often goes like this:

  1. European languages such as German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese (although many go for Brazilian Portuguese first).
  2. Asian languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean (CJK).
  3. Whatever your user population dictates.

You'll note that leaves a lot out, and that's where "it depends" comes in to play, such as OS usage, relevance to the region, etc. (See also: What languages do you support when localizing?)

The question in your PS is pretty important, and here I'll put a plug in for crowdsourced translation services. I know several open source projects that use services such as Transifex. There are others (search "crowdsourced translation" in Google), and the costs range from some variation of free to monthly fees that might be out of your budget range. However, a quality localization will win you users while a bad localization (relying solely on automatic translators without quality control) will not only not win you any users, it will "win" you negative press.

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Like most things in life, it depends.

  • Who do you expect to use your application?
  • Who do you want to support?
  • Do you know what percentage of people use Android in various countries that speak different languages? (You can probably find different articles that talk about this) You may not want to spend the time and money translating where there is little to gain.
  • If someone uses your application that natively speaks a language that you automatically translated, would they find it offensive?

    • Do you care if they find it offensive?

It really depends on what your goals are and who your audience is for your application. Once you figure that out, then you will be able to narrow down language specifics much easier.

Viel Glück!

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