App Localisation Tips

There’s a useful new article by COBE on how they use Google sheets and the same keys to provide for localisations across iOS and Android. While the article is useful, here are some comments from past experience:

  • When using common keys, remember there will always be some error cases, and hence messages, on iOS and Android that aren’t on the other platform.
  • Localisation of strings without knowing their context can lead to misunderstandings. Review all changes in the UI, preferably by someone who is fluent in the target language.
  • Localisation sometimes hits problems with fitting strings to tight UI locations when strings are longer than expected. This tends to be where texts have been justified centre or right to fit.
  • Think about graphics that might also include text.
  • On giving clients or product owners the power to change the strings files, this relies on them correctly matching strings to locations in the app. Also, incorrectly specified special characters and hence characters codes in the strings will break builds.