Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have the "user's side" of the story, I think they want it better if it's on Spanish. But, what about the programmers? Do you make your programs multi-language? Why? Why not? Who translate your software? Are you ok with paying somebody to translate your app or you prefer doing it yourselves? Is the benefit bigger than the costs?

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by MichaelT, Dan Pichelman, Bart van Ingen Schenau, jwenting, Kilian Foth Jul 14 at 10:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
wouldn't that depend entirely on the target market? –  jwenting Jul 14 at 9:51

4 Answers 4

I believe one should also consider the negative consequences of providing localizations.

  1. People will be offended by bad translations, especially if they could use the English version before and now they are auto-detected and forced to use the translated version.

  2. Users of languages left out will feel offended if you provide a translation for another language, especially again if you force them to use it through regional/linguistic match.

    • French <-> Belgian Dutch
    • Simplified Chinese <-> Traditional Chinese
    • European French <-> Canadian French
    • and many more
share|improve this answer
3  
+1 Never force a translation of any quality on users. Whenever possible, let them override the autodetected language. –  Andres F. May 5 '12 at 1:35

Often not, for a couple reasons:

  1. If the English is simple, it's often best to leave it as-is. Computer users are generally quite tolerant of having English here and there. Japanese people live with having English on our computers all the time, and our English education is notoriously poor.

    Unless you expect to target a not-very-English-tolerant sector of the Spanish market, you may be able to get away with having no translation at all.

  2. When something goes wrong or when we get lost, it's often better that the labels and error messages are all in one language so that the user can find help more easily.

    For instance, I'll get more helpful results on Google if I query for "An unhandled exception has occured" than if I query for "キャッチされていない例外が発生しました".

I think the general rule of thumb is that if your app is targeted to techies or otherwise relatively internationally inclined people, you can save yourself some time and money by not translating.

share|improve this answer

If you are selling a reasonable number of units already and you have no reason to believe that the app would be any less applicable to Spanish speakers, then I think it's probably worthwhile to give it a go. If you are using the Android strings.xml resource to separate the text from the application, it is straightforward to add more languages.

There are online translation bureaus (such as this one) that will do translations for a few cents per word. I haven't tried them yet, so I can't vouch for them, but it's something I'm considering.

Unless you have a very wordy application, you can probably get it translated for less than $50, in which case you'd only need a modest increase in sales from Spanish-speakers to make it worthwhile.

In my own modest Android sales, 95%+ of orders come from English-speaking countries (over 90% of sales are from just the UK, US and Australia). That massive skew suggests to me that I would sell more if the apps were available in French and German too.

share|improve this answer

There's really only one question you need to answer:

Is there a demand for the application to be translated into one (or more) other language?

If the demand is there then you need to look into translation. There may be political (both with a lower case "p" and upper case "P" - bilingual countries like Canada spring to mind), social or ethical reasons that need to be considered as well as the cost.

As to the methodology - when I worked on software that was translated we got our German and French distributors to do the translation. The benefit of this is that you are using someone who knows the product and will (hopefully) choose the most appropriate translation when more than one is available.

If you don't have distributors familiar with the language then there are services available that will do the translation for you.

Failing that there's always Google Translate :)

share|improve this answer
    
A poorly translated app or game always makes me want to scream. Never ever use Google Translate unless you want your app to seem amateur :) –  Andres F. May 5 '12 at 1:33
2  
@AndresF. - I would have hoped the smiley indicated I wasn't being serious there. –  ChrisF May 5 '12 at 22:07