Localization based on location

  • Hello.

    We currently have an iOS app available in English. We have decided to
    localize it into other languages, but first we wanted to look into how
    other companies are doing it in order to determine what the best
    practices would be.

    When we looked at how Apple localizes their apps we found something
    which we think is very strange. The App Store and iTunes apps
    determine their language based on the location of the user. For
    example, a user in Germany will get the entire apps in German even if
    the rest of the phone is configured to run in English.

    Of course the app content will differ between different countries, for
    example not all apps are available in every country and so on. But we
    are puzzled on why the rest of the app such as navigation buttons and
    labels are localized this way.

    An obvious scenario when this breaks would be an English speaking
    American moving to Germany. It is possible that he or she don't want
    to learn German and therefore keep using the apps in English.

    We fail to see why this would be a good way to localize an app but
    since Apple is doing it we assume that there has to be a good reason
    for it. Is this something that developers should learn from and do in
    their own apps?

    John
  • App Store is simply a starting point...

    On launch we adjust our UI based on the user preferences, a Canadian
    user can be French Canadian, or if close to the border and commutes,
    could choose US English or Canadian.... ad infinitum... our app
    contains all (of our) supported localizations.

    Best,
    M

    On Jun 3, 2012, at 4:24 AM, John Tall wrote:

    > Hello.
    >
    > We currently have an iOS app available in English. We have decided to
    > localize it into other languages, but first we wanted to look into how
    > other companies are doing it in order to determine what the best
    > practices would be.
    >
    > When we looked at how Apple localizes their apps we found something
    > which we think is very strange. The App Store and iTunes apps
    > determine their language based on the location of the user. For
    > example, a user in Germany will get the entire apps in German even if
    > the rest of the phone is configured to run in English.
    >
    > Of course the app content will differ between different countries, for
    > example not all apps are available in every country and so on. But we
    > are puzzled on why the rest of the app such as navigation buttons and
    > labels are localized this way.
    >
    > An obvious scenario when this breaks would be an English speaking
    > American moving to Germany. It is possible that he or she don't want
    > to learn German and therefore keep using the apps in English.
    >
    > We fail to see why this would be a good way to localize an app but
    > since Apple is doing it we assume that there has to be a good reason
    > for it. Is this something that developers should learn from and do in
    > their own apps?
    >
    > John
  • I believe AppStore's behavior is wrong and against Apple's own guidelines, that clearly state, that user's preferences come always first.

    My colleagues, friends, and I filed countless radars about iTunes and AppStore...

    cheers

    g.

    On Jun 3, 2012, at 1:24 PM, John Tall wrote:

    > An obvious scenario when this breaks would be an English speaking
    > American moving to Germany. It is possible that he or she don't want
    > to learn German and therefore keep using the apps in English.
    >
    > We fail to see why this would be a good way to localize an app but
    > since Apple is doing it we assume that there has to be a good reason
    > for it. Is this something that developers should learn from and do in
    > their own apps?

    Georg Tuparev
    Tuparev Technologies
    Mobile: +31-6-55798196
    Twitter: @tuparev
    www.tuparev.com
  • The standard way to localize an app is based on the user's preferred language.
    (on mac os x, the preferred language order of priority/availability )

    Above and beyond that, you might have some case where your app has a reason to enable setting the preferred language at the app preferences level, or some UI elements that need to change live.

    All doable.

    Depends on your needs.

    On Jun 4, 2012, at 3:56 PM, Georg Tuparev wrote:

    > I believe AppStore's behavior is wrong and against Apple's own guidelines, that clearly state, that user's preferences come always first.
    >
    > My colleagues, friends, and I filed countless radars about iTunes and AppStore...
    >
    > cheers
    >
    > g.
    >
    > On Jun 3, 2012, at 1:24 PM, John Tall wrote:
    >
    >> An obvious scenario when this breaks would be an English speaking
    >> American moving to Germany. It is possible that he or she don't want
    >> to learn German and therefore keep using the apps in English.
    >>
    >> We fail to see why this would be a good way to localize an app but
    >> since Apple is doing it we assume that there has to be a good reason
    >> for it. Is this something that developers should learn from and do in
    >> their own apps?
    >
    > Georg Tuparev
    > Tuparev Technologies
    > Mobile: +31-6-55798196
    > Twitter: @tuparev
    > www.tuparev.com
    >
    >
    >
    > ___
  • Am 03.06.2012 um 13:24 schrieb John Tall:

    > a user in Germany will get the entire apps in German even if
    > the rest of the phone is configured to run in English.

    This is not true as far as my iOS devices are concerned. I can switch it to any language and the next app start will show the app in that language (if the app is localized for it)

    > An obvious scenario when this breaks would be an English speaking
    > American moving to Germany. It is possible that he or she don't want
    > to learn German and therefore keep using the apps in English.

    Our apps are localized for 16 languages and always switch to the user’s preference - just using .lproj and NSLocalizedString.
    So your English speaking American can move to Germany and keep all apps speaking EN-US. (But maybe he should then start learning German anyway)

    atze
  • Hi John,

    I am American but I've been studying Spanish for years so I run my Macs and iDevices in Spanish but everything else is American (dates, punctuation, etc.). It really sticks out (in a bad way) when an app is partially localized or, based on my language setting, makes assumptions other than I want the words to appear in Spanish (such as, I live in Spain or use Euros for currency). The apps I am working on use user preferences, standard .lproj localizations.

    As for App Store and iTunes, on iOS 5.1.1 (and as long as I can remember), those apps appear on my phone in Spanish. If I switch my language to English, they will be in English. They don't change depending on where I am and I completely agree that it would be strange (and terrible) if my phone changed its language based on where I am. Just imagine flying from Paris to Moscow!

    Marc

    > Hello.
    >
    > We currently have an iOS app available in English. We have decided to
    > localize it into other languages, but first we wanted to look into how
    > other companies are doing it in order to determine what the best
    > practices would be.
    >
    > When we looked at how Apple localizes their apps we found something
    > which we think is very strange. The App Store and iTunes apps
    > determine their language based on the location of the user. For
    > example, a user in Germany will get the entire apps in German even if
    > the rest of the phone is configured to run in English.
    >
    > Of course the app content will differ between different countries, for
    > example not all apps are available in every country and so on. But we
    > are puzzled on why the rest of the app such as navigation buttons and
    > labels are localized this way.
    >
    > An obvious scenario when this breaks would be an English speaking
    > American moving to Germany. It is possible that he or she don't want
    > to learn German and therefore keep using the apps in English.
    >
    > We fail to see why this would be a good way to localize an app but
    > since Apple is doing it we assume that there has to be a good reason
    > for it. Is this something that developers should learn from and do in
    > their own apps?
    >
    > John
  • On 4 Jun 2012, at 9:44 AM, Marc Respass wrote:

    > As for App Store and iTunes, on iOS 5.1.1 (and as long as I can remember), those apps appear on my phone in Spanish. If I switch my language to English, they will be in English. They don't change depending on where I am and I completely agree that it would be strange (and terrible) if my phone changed its language based on where I am. Just imagine flying from Paris to Moscow!

    It would be the App Store, not your phone, that changes based on your location.

    Apple's problem is that when you're in Moscow, any purchase you make will take place in Russia, and be subject to Russian law, not French. Developers who do not want (or are unable) to distribute their apps in Russia rely on the App Store to prevent such sales, so they need the Russian store to be in control.

    If they have provided their own license agreements, they need those EULAs to be enforceable under Russian law, which (I am sure) requires that the contract be in Russian. If they don't provide their own EULAs, they have to decide whether they can live with the default agreement embedded in the iTunes terms and conditions for Russia; maybe they can't. The same thing applies with how binding are the claims you make in the App Store description.

    Your switch to Spanish, while in the US, changes the App Store language from en-US to es-US, which is the same legal régime. To you, everything looks as though it was simply localized to your preference. In that case, Apple can honor your preference, because the US App Store has a Spanish translation that conforms to US law.

    [This is not legal advice. It is simply my observation of how Apple and my very large employer treat EULA issues.]

    — F
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