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Build Mobile Apps for the World

It pays to be multilingual

I mentioned in a previous article that Mobile Apps cross many boundaries... Consumer, Social, Geographic, Language & Business. What I firmly believe this that from this list two stand out in the light more that the others and those are interrelated.. the boundaries of Geographic and Language.

When you look at the areas of predicted massive growth for Mobile in the coming years the geographies of the Far East, Africa and Latin America top the list. What is common for each region, is that English is not the primary language, sometimes not even a secondary language, though widely known to various levels of proficiency.

Historically some technology and applications built for users have standardised on English and have expected those users to fit in to the developers expectations. Nowadays Mobile has become a global phenomena and the companies such as Apple, with iOS and Google, with Android have done a great job in promoting their Mobile OS' for regions that devices are sold into. This also includes the standard Mobile Apps and App Stores, that we all use so readily now and we expect the same experience. One key point of an app, is that the user should find it natural to use and not have to adapt widely to the way that an app performs its core functionality. At an apps lowest base level this means, the way it communicates/interacts and that it should feel natural and instantly understandable to the user.

So my message to Mobile Developers is...  

Localize and Internationalize or be doomed to losing out on massive growth and expansion in the Mobile Markets around the globe.

It now pays to be Multilingual and is expected by the Consumer and for Multinational Enterprises, the Prosumer.

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

More Stories By Ian Thain

As one of the Sybase Technical Evangelists, Ian regularly addresses technical audiences all over the world and his sessions are always very well attended. He also writes education classes, whitepapers, demos and articles for various Sybase products and publishes regularly in Journals such as SYS-CON's PBDJ and International Developer Magazine. He is also the Sybase Unwired Platform & PocketBuilder Evangelist and works closely with the team in Dublin, CA and Concord, MA on new features and demonstrations for the products. In his customer-facing Evangelist role, Ian is very involved with the design, production and testing of Enterprise class Unwired Solutions, that have been implemented using Sybase's Unwired tools for Sybase customers around the globe. In addition, Ian is a dedicated technical expert continually working with Sybase's key partners and clients to enhance the capabilities of the Unwired solutions that Sybase can offer to its customers. Ian can also be found on Twitter @ithain