Finding sound strategies for localization inside of China — regardless if focusing on mobile apps, software, or text and media for web pages — is vital for any foreign business or startup searching for commercial success. By working with Chinese translation services that focus on app, software and website localization, companies can increase their chances of implementing a fruitful digital business strategy in China.
The demand for an experienced translation localization team able to traverse the technical and regulatory complexities that come with a Chinese localization project is booming right now. According to forecasts taken from Statista’s Digital Economy Compass, this trend will only likely increase in the future, as China is set to overtake the U. S. as the world’s largest digital economy.
Understanding China’s Complex Mobile App and Social Media Markets
Three of the most important aspects for a Chinese localization service (as well as for foreign app and software developers) to understand about China’s mobile app, social media and software markets are: the de facto requirement to work with local partners, what app and software platforms local communities favor, and the necessity to stay up-to-date with complex regulations governing the digital realm.
- Work with local partners to gain legal access to Chinese servers in order to avoid problems accessing your company’s data — and to avoid or quickly deal with any censorship issues or snags that may arise due to China’s Great Firewall. Chinese translation services can also refine and improve their localization efforts by working with in-country reviewers and translators (more local partners) who are intimately acquainted with different homegrown Chinese dialects, and local customs and consumer trends, which can vary from region to region.
- Build strategies for localization that cater to local digital tastes, taking mobile device and social media preferences into account. English Chinese translations won’t help your firm generate much revenue if your localized app or website directs Chinese customers to social media outlets or apps that are banned or difficult to access (requiring a VPN) in China, like WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and many more. By sticking to popular local social media platforms, such as WeChat, Sina Weibo, Tencent QQ, Momo (a bit like Tinder), and confirming that your translation localization team keeps these platforms in mind when localizing your digital products, you should stay ahead of competitors that fail to take the local social media landscape into account.
- Staying abreast of official regulations governing data storage and foreign (i.e. non-Chinese) apps and websites will smooth over the introduction of digital content in China. This is yet another reason why finding a local partner able to help you sort through the complicated red tape is so important. For example, China’s Cybersecurity Law, according to The Diplomat, raise all kinds of “data protection concerns for foreign firms.” Data must be stored in China, is subject to spot-checks by the government, which may increase the “risks of intellectual property theft.” Plenty of tricky digital waters for foreign companies to navigate, which is why seeking out a knowledgeable localization service with local Chinese contacts is a sound piece of advice.
Pay Attention to Chinese (and Other) Character Coding Details
If you’re going to plunge into English Chinese translations, or professional translation from any other language into simplified (or traditional) Chinese characters, make sure your localization service pays attention to the technical aspects of how best to go about encoding Chinese characters.
There’s a fascinating history (at least for programmers) as to how character encodings evolved from the early days until now. Setting ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) and other useful characters encoding systems like GBK aside, as it stands today, a reputable Chinese translation services should try to use Unicode UTF-8 whenever possible.
UTF-8 character encoding allows translators and engineers to build robust digital content (apps, software, websites) with the ability to support a diverse range of character sets that cover all of the world’s languages — thus removing the nettlesome necessity of having to deal with many different encodings for a single project.
While it will likely take some effort to transfer over to UTF-8 if not using it already, the overall benefits of using UTF-8 will help set your Chinese translation localization team up for success. And when it comes to strategies for localization, this encoding approach will give your company advantages in other Asian markets as well. For example, UTF-8 character encoding capabilities can be applied to Korean or Thai, without the need to deal with yet another type of encoding system.
Mine Your Chinese Localization Service for Information
If China is a new destination for your firm, or you find the mountain of regulations and digital translation obstacles intimidating, just remember that you don’t have to go it alone. If you’ve learned nothing else from this article, know that you can always mine your Chinese localization service for more information and strategy insights.
Not sure if you should translate and localize your app for iOS or Android in China? Check with different Chinese translation services, find one you trust, and get some advice on current and future mobile device and social media trends. Uncertain if the Chinese have the same inherent color association Westerns do (they don’t), but you want to build a visually vibrant website that attracts as many customers as possible? A translation localization team that knows how to use colors (even for text) and graphics that appeal to the sophisticated Chinese color palate can help solve that problem too.
Strategies for localization in China need to include quality language translation, pinpoint localization, attention paid to mundane technical aspects like formatting dates and filling extra screen space that comes from using Chinese characters (which take up less room than Latin script), strategies for dealing with cybersecurity laws and domestic competitors, the need for local partners, plus an acute cultural awareness of what consumers want at the regional level.
All of this can seem like a daunting task, but when working with a crack Chinese translation localization team, English Chinese translations can be carried out in a manner that will give your company’s language app, website or software platform as many competitive local advantages as possible.
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