Last update: May 2021

3 mins to read - 2019/07/23

Push Notification Localization for iOS and Android

If you have a robust push notification campaign that’s engaging users and bringing them to your app in large numbers, it can be easy to grow complacent. You might start overlooking alternative markets that could be key for growth. The world is a large place, and it’s worth the effort to look to expand beyond your given boundaries. Of course, in the global marketplace, one size most definitely does not fit all. This is why push notification localization is a key strategy when you’re looking to connect with new, international – or even beyond your own locality – markets.

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push notification localization diverse faces languages


1. Because English Will Only Take You So Far

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking your market begins and ends with users in English-speaking countries. In fact, English is only the third-most spoken language globally, with 360 million native speakers. To compare, there are 400 million native Spanish speakers and a whopping billion native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. Even if you don’t currently plan to market your app abroad, remember there are 41 million native Spanish speakers living in the United States alone.

As we have emphasized before, personalization is key to an effective push notification campaign. And the first step in push notification localization is to compose them in the language appropriate to the user’s region. True, many people worldwide can speak English to an extent. But going that extra step to communicate with users in their native tongue shows you’re interested in forging a meaningful, lasting relationship with them. Plus, you’ll then be able to localize for keywords and metadata. This is the Golden Ticket in terms of brand visibility.

2. Improve Your User Experience

Push notification localization not only expands your marketing funnel but it also improves the experience on the user end. Receiving regular notifications in a language you aren’t familiar in can be frustrating and alienating to the user. They won’t feel appreciated or valued as a customer. As a result, they won’t be motivated to engage with your app.

Of course every good app views user experience as a top priority, localizing your push notifications is a must. If you keep your users happy, then they will come back to your app time and time again. Localization equals customer retention, and higher click-through rates. Everybody wins!

Warning: as any translator knows, localization is not an exact science, and Google Translate is not foolproof (yet). To see an example of this, try typing any sentence into Google Translate. Translate it into another language, then convert it back to English again:

push notification localization google translate jane austen

This is why, for any app that seeks to expand beyond the English-language market, hiring a quality translator is a must.

3. It Sets Your App Apart From the Competition

Mobile apps are a saturated market, and any edge you can get over your competition will be hugely beneficial. If your app distinguishes itself by reaching out to different user demographics, that will certainly be a distinguishing factor. Luckily, OpenBack’s push notification localization feature offers full support for sending notifications in different languages. This makes it easy to ensure that your multilingual messages will make it to the devices you designate.

Harvard Business Review published an article stating:

“72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language.”

These numbers speak for themselves, and it might be a good idea to scope out what other languages your competitors offer. It will be worth the extra effort to ensure that your content is adequately translated – and this means both in terms of literal meaning as well as idioms and cultural connotations. The following video aptly illustrates the cultural minefield it can be trying to speak a language that has different slang terms in every country it’s spoken… so be careful!

Push Notification Localization for iOS and Android

Both Android and iOS have tools to help your app structure its code and UI for localization. Apple offers XCode 11, Apple APIs, Auto Layout, and Unicode. Among other things, these tools can help developers address design and layout of the language your app communicates in: for example, it takes into account languages such as Hebrew and Arabic, which read right to left, etc. Auto Adjust will also automatically let you adjust text layout and dimensions. iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 will even let users choose what language they want any particular app to function in, regardless of device language.

Similarly, Android offers directions for developers to create default and alternative resources using Java to localize your mobile app:

How to create default resources

Put the app’s default text in res/values/strings.xml.

The text strings in res/values/strings.xml should use the default language, which is the language that you expect most of your app’s users to speak.

The default resource set must also include any default drawables and layouts, and can include other types of resources such as animations:

  • res/drawable/(required directory holding at least one graphic file, for the app’s icon on Google Play)
  • res/layout/ (required directory holding an XML file that defines the default layout)
  • res/anim/ (required if you have any res/anim-<qualifiers> folders)
  • res/xml/ (required if you have any res/xml-<qualifiers> folders)
  • res/raw/ (required if you have any res/raw-<qualifiers> folders)

OpenBack Provides Full Support for Push Notification Localization

Once you’ve done your due diligence, OpenBack has you covered with our auto multi-language support feature, in which you can easily send out push notifications in many different languages, right out of the box. OpenBack can automatically leverage data metrics of individual devices, and this includes their default language. On our dashboard, you can then assign the device default language to be the language of the push notifications you send to a particular user. Then you manually enter your content, translated from a high-quality source, into the dashboard. Finally, send out your campaign as you would normally.

This will provide an authentic, human touch to your communications with global users. It will also show your brand is committed to going that extra step to connect with users. Contact one of our experts to learn more.

Calculate how much your revenue would increase per month using OpenBack:

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