Welcome to the Tethras Blog

We Localize Apps and Blog Occasionally

New Tethras App for iOS Launch

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This week sees the launch of the Tethras app for iOS, the app that gives you up-to-the-minute tracking of your Tethras projects, Push Notifications, and realtime discussions with our team.

As developers, we like to know exactly what’s going on with our projects at any time, wherever we are – Tethras for iOS makes that effortless. You can view all your projects and in real-time you will see status updates as they pass through the different processes in our system. Our new traffic light status system makes it easy to see which projects need your attention before we can continue, and when your project is ready we will send you a Push Notification to let you know.

Tethras app dashboard screenshot

Another great feature of the Tethras app for iOS is the Discussions view; you can quickly and easily see and respond to questions from translators or your project manager without having to dig through your e-mail and log in to the website.

Tethras app discussions

We’ve been working hard on Tethras for iOS and we hope it makes translating your apps with us even easier. There’s more to come, so stay tuned!

For more info and download link go to our Tethras app site.
The new Tethras app

Should I Localize My App Name?

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Your app name, and indeed your Developer, or Company name are all key marketing collateral for your business, collectively they make up your ‘Brand’. As you are localizing your app to unlock foreign language markets, then obviously you want to establish your app, and your brand in these regions. Your first reaction might be to maintain your current brand, however there are a couple of issues you should consider.

If you translate your app name, you are effectively creating a new brand, as your target audience will most likely be unfamiliar with your existing English branding. Even if this is your intention and you want the translated English words to become your new brand in the target language, the English meaning will likely be ‘lost in translation’.

Trying to meaningfully capture the messaging of your English brand in a foreign language is more an exercise in localized marketing than linguistics. So unless your app name and company name have a significantly meaningful connection with the product you are selling, and you are willing to invest in local marketing advice, you should consider not translating your Brand when translating your app.

Once you have reached a decision on translating your Brand, you should consider two other issues before launching your app in foreign language markets.

Wang cares advertisment.

Firstly, you should always localize your brand, even if you decide not to translate it. Now, that is a paradox of a sentence. Let’s take an English to English branding mistake from the 1970’s to emphasize the point. Wang computers ran a very successful marketing campaign in the US with the slogan ‘Wang Cares”, this same campaign flopped in the UK; for the simple reason that the slogan was not localized. If in doubt, say “Wang Cares” really quickly in an English accent. It is always worth having your English brand localized to check for any unintentional local meaning, just to make sure you are not offending anybody, or misrepresenting your intended message.

An example of a localized brand - Ariel

Secondly, you must consider that not all languages use a Latin script. Consider 写真 (japanese for photo) as the name for your photography app, in terms of branding it means nothing to the English reader, it is only memorable and recognizable by its difference. It stands out, good from a marketing point of view, but any other similar sized characters can replace it and your audience will not know the difference. Unless of course you are willing to spend millions of dollars in convincing them that it is memorable. Coca Cola have managed it. What you really should consider doing in a situation where you are marketing your app to a non-Latin script language, is to transliterate it into that language. This will produce a locally acceptable phonetic version of your English brand that will be recognizable to your target audience and can, in time, develop as a true local brand.

Remember, always localize your app name, even if you do not intend translating it, and finally, transcribe your brand into non-Latin script languages for maximum reach.

7 Simple Steps to Improve App Translation Quality

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Many developers worry about the quality of translations that they get back from translators. You invest time and money, toil day and night to develop your app in an effort to provide your users with the best possible experience. The fear is that all this hard work will be undone by poor translation work carried out by a translator that doesn’t know what your app is about or may not have enough contextual information.

So here are a number of simple steps that you can take to dramatically improve the quality of your localized app.

    1. Translating the name of your app: Would you like your app name to be to be translated? For some app’s this can increase the download rates however if your app is a brand name app (think Twitter, Facebook, Expedia or Shazam) translating your app name could have implications for marketing your app and maintaining a unified branding strategy and is probably not worth your while.
    2. Should translation tone be formal or informal: Selecting the correct tone for the localized version of your app can have a significant impact on the overall impression your app gives to potential users. Should you use the ‘tu’ or ‘vous’ form in French?.  You should be able to make a decision based on the nature of your app. You may want to use the more personal ‘tu’ form for a children’s game while the more formal ‘vous’ would
      be more appropriate for a business app.
    3. Comment on your UI strings: You can never have enough comments on your source text. The more information provided to translators, the better the quality of the translation for example; Is that single UI term a button or a label (verb or noun)? Do you want someone to “Read” your blog, or is this a list of blogs that you like to “Read”. Try to make your language strings as easy as possible to interpret to prevent mistranslation or time wasting caused by the need for corrections to the translation before it is ready to be released.
    4. Screenshots: As already mentioned, context is very important for a high quality translation. Sometimes pictures paint a thousand words and it can be easier to create screenshots of you app that you can send to your translator or send a link to shared screenshots? These images can completely change the translators perception of the project they are working and can help steer their translations in the right direction.
    5. Placeholders:  Do you have placeholders in any of your strings? Have you provided comments describing what the placeholders mean to the translator? This can be very helpful to the translator in understanding the language strings that surround the placeholder. It  would understandably difficult to interpret a string such as “%1s will %2s at %3s” however it would be a lot easier if I told you that %1s is a flight number; %2s can be “arrive” or “depart”; %3s is a time.
    6. Discussions: Ambiguous terms or strings with insufficient context can cause problems for translators when they try to translate your app. If this happens, the best thing to do for the translator is to raise these discussion points with you. Keeping an open dialogue with the translators throughout the whole process will make the whole localization process easier and will improve the overall quality of your  translations. You may begin to see patterns emerging that will allow you to provide translators with additional contextual informatino during your next translation, minimizing the amount of discussions they need to raise.
    7. String length restrictions: The majority of text strings tend to expands in length when translated. This may cause layout issues within your app however there is an easy solution for this. Restrict the length of the translated text by indicating a maximum character length for all translated text. This can be done on a string by string basis. Caution is somewhat advised here, as restricting the length of the translated text may force the translator to change the meaning of a string in order to accommodate the restriction. In many instances this can work out to  be a good thing, as true localization is not just about literally translating text, but also altering and making the translation culturally acceptable to the target audience while still being visible within the restricted view.
Smartphone App Localization

Smartphone App Localization

Introducing – Our New UI

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New Tethras User Interface

New App Interface


We are excited to announce the release today of our new UI. It represents a complete redesign from the ground up based on feedback from everyone who has used the system over the last 12 months. The main changes are:

  • an improvement process making it easier and quicker to create new projects
  • improved status reporting on purchased jobs
  • ability to download and view previous purchases
  • an improved process for adding and reloading files
  • ability to set purchase level on all files in a language at once

A BIG thank you everyone who sent on feedback on the previous UI. We have taken it all on board and incorporated as much as possible into this release. We will be continuing to work on and develop this UI over the next couple of months. Our objective is to give you the user, as much control as possible over your own projects and translation memory.

Next up we will be adding:

  • ability for you to define your own translation glossaries
  • ability for you to create your own DTD’s for parsing xml files
  • ability to set default purchase levels so that you don’t have to replicate on each language
  • language bundles

We hope you like it, let us know how you get on via Facebook, Twitter or support@tethras.com

Five App-Related Trends to Watch for in 2012

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Tethras App Localization

App Related Trends 2012

The Asian behemoths take over: Current estimates hold Asia’s smartphone adoption rate at a paltry 19 percent. With such large populations however, the number is misleading. China has already asserted itself as the second largest iOS app downloader in November 2011. Even with 20% lower smartphone penetration in the mobile phone market, the Asian tiger also recently surpassed the U.S. in total smartphone volume and has the highest number of users with two or more mobile phones. As Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned in their latest quarterly earning review, China is their fastest growing market, by far. As purchasing power increases countries like China and India will quickly overtake the U.S. as the largest app-conomies.

The rise of app localization: With the rise of Asia and other developing economies, the need for localization will also increase. Consumers in developing countries are more likely to not speak English fluently and will want to buy apps in their native language. Translation and localization will become central to app development teams in the West.

In addition, the dominance of Western entertainment culture throughout the world may continue thanks to apps. Just like Levi’s and Coca Cola, western developers have a once in a generation opportunity to become mainstream household names everywhere from China to South Africa. It’s never been cheaper to do that and there’s never been a more personal experience then being on peoples’ smartphones.

Facebook won’t solve discoverability in 2012: With 500,000 iOS apps and 250,000 Android apps, the app store is becoming unwieldy for discoverability – the market has been waiting for a solution to fill this void, to no avail. Earlier this year, the rumored Facebook App Store showed promise in this regard, but so far web- based apps have had little traction. It will take much longer for a social graph like Facebook to solve the issue of app discovery.

The Next Angry Birds phenomenon won’t come from the Western world: The next mobile app with 100 million users will come from Asia, Latin American or the Middle East. App development has far fewer barriers to entry for those who have the focus and skills to put something together.

2012 will be the year of regionalized and highly contextual apps: Forget countries—expect every politician in America to create experiences relevant to their constituents and ideas. Apps will go beyond just brand and states, becoming increasingly specialized and nuanced.