Jun 18, 2020

4 Well-Localized Apps To Draw Inspiration From

A decade ago, nobody thought you could buy groceries, pay your phone bill, and consume your favorite content – all with just a smartphone. But mobile apps have made all this possible for us today. Today, app development and marketing form a significant part of every industry. Whether it’s the healthcare industry or the financial industry, everybody wants a piece of this pie.

However, with so many apps available for consumers, your app has a lot of competition in every category. So, how do you ensure your app stands out and attracts more users? You might turn every stone to refine your app to appeal to potential users, but the strategy won’t work unless the app provides them with a personalized experience. Being able to access an app in their native language makes users feel more connected to it.

The following brands took this advice a few steps further and applied it to various features of their apps. They localized the entire user experience to help everyone feel welcome.

App localization waze

1. Waze

Offered by Google, Waze is a community-powered navigation app that is helping people ‘outsmart’ traffic in different parts of the world. Waze’s community collects data and information in real-time to show the users the best way to navigate traffic, construction, police, crashes, etc.

Waze started with one language – English. Eleven years later, the hard work of around 700 translators has helped Waze add more than 50 languages. It boasts of 100 million users who consistently use the app in any and every corner of the world.

Let’s look at some data gathered by the Waze team about their app’s users:

  • Out of 56 languages, 97% of Wazers use one of 12 languages
  • About 55% of users access the app in languages other than English

One of the best-localized features of Waze is its voice guide. A voice guide helps you navigate the route while driving. Waze allows you to choose from a variety of voices – 50% of which have been recorded by its community. These voices provide an authentic experience to users from both linguistic and cultural perspectives. Besides the voice guide, Waze helps users access all live traffic alerts, music, and podcasts in their languages.

Did you know Waze has a dedicated Twitter account to update its followers about its localization efforts?

App localization Runkeeper

2. Runkeeper

Runkeeper is a fitness app that helps you set, track, and achieve your fitness goals for activities like running, hiking, walking, biking, and more. Its features include setting measurable workout goals, choosing a customized fitness plan, taking part in virtual fitness challenges, sharing achievements, and more.

The app is available in 12 languages – English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. Its user-interface, functionality, and features have been localized for each of these 12 languages. However, Runkeeper’s team decided to take their localization efforts to the next level. 

Along with the features mentioned above, Runkeeper also provides users with their fitness statistics via audio. The team realized that while they had managed to offer this feature in different languages, they hadn’t localized it completely. So, they employed a region-by-region strategy. 

Runkeeper’s team got voice actors to help them provide audio in region-specific dialects of languages. For instance, they added a specific dialect for those using the app in Boston, Massachusetts. Also, users can choose to turn on encouraging statements and trivia, which are provided as per their region.

App localization Monese

3. Monese

The Monese app provides a robust banking alternative to all its users across the UK and Europe. From opening a free GBP or EUR account to ATM withdrawals and money transfers in 19 currencies, Monese helps users take a hassle-free approach to all banking processes.

Given its linguistically and culturally diverse user-base, Monese’s team offers its app in 12 international languages – Bulgarian, Czech, French, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish – besides English. The following components are localized for their app:

  • App elements (like in-app messages and alerts) that help users navigate
  • Customer support communication for both channels – in-app and email
  • Currencies and payment methods

What’s unique about this multilingual app is the approach the team took to localize their app. Giulia Tarditi, Head of Localization at Monese, called it – “goodbye, source text.” Usually, app localization involves sharing the source text (all text included in the app in its original language) with the localization service and then asking them to translate it. However, Monese’s team did not share the source text.

Instead, their content team and designers explained the functionality of each element or screen in the app and asked linguists to create their own translations. This exercise enabled linguists to think like the app’s users and create culturally appropriate content.

App localization Evernote

4. Evernote

Evernote is a popular notes organizer and planner app, with 225 million users across the world. This app helps replace all your notepads and whiteboards while enabling you to organize your thoughts and share them with others.

It is available in a wide range of world languages – English, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kabyle, Korean, Malay, Norwegian Bokmål, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Global marketers and localization experts share Evernote’s success story with brands that are looking to expand their business into international territories. Evernote’s team created an end-to-end localization strategy for the app, which helped them provide a culturally personalized experience for every language.

Let’s look at how they localized their app for China.

  • Localized its name for the Chinese market – Yinxiang Biji – which translates to ‘a memory note’ in English. The name clearly defined the app’s function for its Chinese users.
  • Enabled integrations with local Chinese apps like WeChat, Weibo, etc.
  • Provided customer support on messaging apps like WeChat, which are popular in China.
  • Made online payments convenient by integrating with Alipay – a popular online payment app in the Chinese market.

Besides localizing the features mentioned above, Evernote took their Chinese users’ internet data preferences into account. The Chinese version of the app has a ‘sync only with Wifi’ option as a 3G connection is expensive in China, and users prefer to use Wifi to run the app.

Instead of just translating the text in different languages, Evernote’s team took care to localize every little element in the user experience for each market.


56.2% of global app consumers say that the ability to get information in their native language is more important than the cost or subscription of an app. Your user-base seeks an immersive experience wherein everything is simple and easy to access.How have you localized your app? Tell us in the comments below.

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Aarohi Pathak

Aarohi Pathak

Aarohi Pathak is the Senior Content Writer at Translate by Humans. A former English literature student, she believes that the world's best stories are yet to be written. Given a choice, Aarohi happily wears the copywriter's hat and combines words that drive action. She has previously written content for finance and insurance, FMCG, and technology industries.

When she's not writing, Aarohi spends time collecting mugs, reading, and checking TV series off her 'to watch' list.

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