On this day, 17th May, we are celebrating World Telecommunications Day. As communication specialists, we understand how business correspondence needs to be both accurate and effective. We thus pride ourselves on our creative and proactive approach to international communication challenges.

Traditional telecommunications

The UK telecommunications industry is responsible for ensuring that the country’s over 68 million residents are connected with each other and the world around them. Traditionally, when we think about telecommunications, we might think about home landlines, television and public phone boxes. For many of us, this was our introduction to telecommunications, however, thanks to rapid advancements in technology, telecommunications – smartphones in particular – have reinvented the way people use telecommunications.

Telephonists connecting calls in the 1950's (source flickr)
Telephonists connecting calls in the 1950’s (source flickr)

The mobile era

Phones today empower us to do so much more than just text and make calls. Using our smartphones, we can now take photos and videos, use social media, play games, purchase items online and so much more. There are over 6.6 billion smartphone users in the world, which is equivalent to over 80% of the world’s population owning a smartphone.

The smartphone has quickly become our gateway to the Internet and global communication. The wide appeal of smartphones has meant that developers need to localise their apps and content to make it suitable for the different audiences across the globe. For example, social media giants Facebook and Instagram automatically offer to translate content which is not shared in the users preferred language. So, if you follow a Spanish footballer who prefers to post in Spanish, Instagram will offer a ‘see translation’ button, thus allowing you to have it translated into English (or your preferred language of choice). Facebook translates this automatically without even needing to click for translation.

Localising apps

The increase in national and international communications has generated content and apps from all corners of the globe. With smartphones especially, apps need to be translated and localised when targeting customers abroad. When adapting your app for a different country or language, you need to localise everything, not just the language. It is necessary to focus on the terminology of the app, any culture-specific references, audio content and the user experience.

When localising apps, there are certain things that could trip a developer up. As well as the obvious text and voice being translated, in order to effectively appeal to another culture, you have to look much further.

  • Text
    Translate and localise user instructions, terms and conditions, FAQs, text within graphics, etc
  • Graphics
    Localise images, pictures, and colours for each region
  • Audio
    Ensure all spoken words, music, and sound effects are translated, localised and transcreated, where necessary.
  • Country-specific elements
    Localise currency, date, and number formats for the chosen country
  • Design
    Consider whether the app will need to be adapted for right-to-left languages or languages with different character sets.

Uploading an app on to the iOS and Android stores makes it available to anyone around the world, although there is a considerable difference in scope between global availability and globally accessibility. Even if your mobile app is available in multiple languages, it still needs to be localised to ensure it is user-friendly and offers a pleasant and effective user experience.

How Albion Languages can help

As language specialists, we understand the power of communications. Whether you need help with your voiceover scripts, data processing, text translation and localisation or advice concerning imagery and video, you can entrust Albion with all your communications requirements.

To find out more and speak to a member of our team, get in touch today.