Is Translating Your iOS Game Cost Effective?

Is it cost effective to translate your iOS game from english to other languages? For us the answer has been a clear yes. For example, here is a graph showing our downloads and revenues in Japan for a month before and a month after adding the Japanese translation. sales graph

That improvement in both downloads and revenue per download is due to the translation to Japanese. We had similar results in one other country, more modest improvements in others. When we translated to simplified Chinese we had a very big increase in downloads but hardly any increase in revenues.

Localization can improve:

  • Chance someone will tap on your app listing when browsing (if you translate the app name)
  • Download rate (if you translate the app name and screen shots)
  • Amount of fun a customer has with your game (if you localize the app itself)
  • Chance they will buy an IAP. (if you localize the app itself)
  • Chance they will recommend to their friend. (if you localize the app itself)
  • Chance of getting Apple promotions in non english markets. (if you localize the app itself)

Thats a pretty good list of potential benefits for a modest investment in time and money. If your app is performing well in its native language markets, and there is another market with a different native tongue where you are starting to get downloads, try localizing for that country and see how it goes. We've tried a couple of companies to help with translation, and the one that we like and recommend is Tethras.com. I like their pricing (which takes into account translation updates for app updates), they have great tech and a workflow that makes it convenient to move translations to and from your codebase, and they've been a helpful and supportive vendor.