Preparing files for translation

Translating your app can seem like a massive undertaking, but can actually be a quite-painless task—if your prepare your project the right way up front!

In general terms, the process of localizing an application on any platform involves extracting the text to be displayed to the user and storing it in a separate file.

Once the file of text strings has been prepared, it can then be easily translated into as many languages as necessary. The translated strings files can then be packaged with your application. If done properly, by simply setting the proper "locale" on their device, your users should instantly see your application's text in their own native language.

So what goes into preparing an app for translation?

Because there are so many ways to make an app these ways, it would be impossible to create a single, definitive guide for cross-platform app localization. However, we have compiled a list of resources below that should help you find how to prepare your app's text.

Once you have completed the steps below, you can upload the text strings to Ackuna in one of ten supported formats. Your markup and comments will be preserved so that the Ackuna community only sees the text to be translated. When the translation is finished, you can download the completed, merged translation file with all of your original markup intact!


The App Translation Process

  1. Translate your app's description (as seen in the iTunes store, Google Play, etc.) to gauge interest.
  2. Prepare your app for localization and translate your app's strings.
  3. Optional: determine which languages are popular for your app and invest in professional proofreading.
  4. Test your app thoroughly. Character sizes and word length can change drastically between languages, which can greatly affect layout and other design elements.

Select the platform you are developing for below for localization resources.

  1. Apple / iOS Applications

    Applications developed for various Apple platforms can be prepared by extracting the text into a .strings file, as detailed on our supported formats.

    Apple provides a detailed guide to internationalizing apps on their website: https://developer.apple.com/internationalization/

  2. Android Applications

    Google Android applications can be prepared for localization by extracting the text into an .xml file, as detailed on our supported formats.

    Google provides a detailed guide to localizing apps on their website: http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/resources/localization.html

  3. Blackberry Applications

    Applications developed for the Blackberry can be prepared by extracting the text into .resx files, as detailed on our supported formats.

    RIM provides a detailed guide to localizing apps on their Blackberry Developers website: http://docs.blackberry.com/en/developers/deliverables/12002/Localizing_BlackBerry_Application_projects_655976_11.jsp

  4. Java Applications

    Java applications can be prepared for localization by extracting the text into .properties files, as detailed on our supported formats.

    Sun provides a detailed guide to internationalizing Java apps on their website: http://java.sun.com/developer/technicalArticles/Intl/ResourceBundles/

  5. Ruby Applications

    Applications developed with Ruby can be prepared by extracting the text into .yml files, as detailed on our supported formats.

    The official Ruby on Rails guide to internationalization can be found here: http://guides.rubyonrails.org/i18n.html

  6. Windows 8 Applications

    Windows 8 applications can be prepared for localization by extracting the text into .resw files, as detailed on our supported formats.

    Microsoft provides a detailed guide to internationalizing Windows 8 apps on their website: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh694557.aspx

  7. Microsoft ASP.NET Applications

    ASP.NET applications can be prepared for localization by extracting the text into .resx files, as detailed on our supported formats.

    Microsoft provides a detailed guide to internationalizing ASP.NET apps on their website: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/fw69ke6f(v=vs.80).aspx

  8. Other Applications

    Additional information on other formats is forthcoming.

If you have additions or corrections for this guide that you think may be helpful for other developers, please contact us and we'll add it if we think it will help!

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