Blog Post

Multilingual App Development

Challenges For Multilingual App Development And How You Can Overcome Them

Mihir Mistry,

Your business app idea has no boundary; it can spread its wings as much as its capacity. As we all know, one of the major limitations that restricted the app owners from connecting with the audience is the language. The non-native English speakers find it difficult to reach out to apps that operate only in English. This is why app founders started developing apps in multiple languages. The dynamic and progressing nature of the market demanded more multilingual mobile application development. And why would appreneurs hesitate when they can produce higher Return On Investment. But as easy as it may look, there are a lot of challenges to surpass for developing a successful multilingual mobile app. This blog highlights the challenges faced in building multilingual apps and ways to overcome them.

Applications that work in more than one language are referred to as multilingual mobile apps. It empowers businesses to cater needs of a larger audience base and expand in the niche market. Multilingual mobile applications increase the outreach of companies and connect with the global market. The opportunity to scale globally is something that attracts hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and has become a major key to their growth. 

You may wonder, are there any other reasons why the craze of multilingual mobile app development is so high?

  • Definitely, the benefit that tops the chart is scalable global market exposure.
  • Businesses can set up relationships with audiences from various geographical locations and thus set up an international client base.
  • It helps you maintain transparency within the company and with the clients also.
  • Benefits in having an increased conversion rate leading to a higher return on investments. 
  • It helps in delivering a personalized user experience.

Thus in our opinion, app entrepreneurs fear failing to serve the non-native English speaker audience. And therefore, to enjoy the perks, entrepreneurs are shifting their focus to content localization.  

Next, let’s look at some of the major challenges related to multilingual app development.

The multilingual app development process involves using third-party software. Localization of content into various native languages is the key challenge here. We will segment out the challenges so that you can have a better understanding of the same. 

Language translation

Language translation:

You can learn new languages for better understanding, but translating the entire content of the app, including etiquettes, presentations, videos, values, etc., can be a real hustle. For initiating a translation, you can select either of the two options.

  •  Machine Translation;
  • Human Translation;

Both of these options help in deploying a fully functional multilingual app and an intuitive user interface. Machine translation option makes use of software that translates the entire content (speech or text) into the desired language. There are various algorithms that swiftly execute the language-translation phenomenon. Machine translations are reliable and save a lot of time & money. But the limitations of machine translation are:

  • It is based on algorithms and pre-specified rules, which may falter in translating a new content piece or nuances of the language.
  • It may lack understanding of the technical aspects and may not translate the content as expected. 
  • Machines translate the literal meaning of content. It may not have the creativity and human touch that is required for setting up a connection.
  • Machines may pick up the words from the already existing list of words, which may not resemble a cultural connection.

On the other hand, human translation involves a translation expert who does the job. The translation expert can look into the details of the app content and creatively translate each and every content piece that a user will love reading. However, there are certain limitations of this option too.

  • The real struggle is to find the right person who has a knack for languages and can do the translation job. 
  • Additionally, hiring a human translator can turn out to be a costly affair.
  • It can become time-consuming to look into every detail of the content and then translate. 
  • A less experienced translator may miss out on explaining the exact metaphor or the meaning of the words in the native language.
  • There can be a mismatch between the written words and the conveyed words of the translator. 

Timeframes and Geography:

The developed application is going to be used overseas, which means the geographical locations will have different time zones. A multilingual application will have to switch to different time zones and synchronize the time according to the user’s selection. This will include the translation of numerics and content of the time feature, which shouldn’t disturb the user experience. 

Switching to different time zones should also include the synchronization of local places, cultural rituals, and local elements.

Design-specific changes:

Design-specific changes:

How many of you have observed the web page design change when you select Arabic or Urdu language? What will the screen look like if the design of the app doesn’t adjust with the language? You would either switch to another app or report the app help center for the inconsistencies. This is exactly what you need to take care of while you are initiating multilingual mobile app development. Your selected mobile app development company should have experience in designing an app with adaptive design.

The application content, when translated into different languages, shouldn’t affect the app interface. One suggested way to ensure smoothness is not to use concatenated strings and employ the strings in UTF-8 encoding. The direction of typing, icons, and spelling everything should be double-checked for every foreign language you include in the application. 

multilingual app development challenges

What are the effective ways to overcome the multilingual app development challenges?

Now that you know what challenges entail around multilingual app development let’s look at the things you can do to overcome them. 

Keep spaces:

As mentioned above, do not write in strings. Avoid using the strings, as it occupies more space and makes it difficult for the hired mobile app developers to include any changes later.

Focus on the icons:

App icons play a crucial role in conveying the meaning that your app wants to convey. Include icons that are universal and for some language-specific icons, work accordingly so that users don’t misinterpret the meaning. 

Plan sufficiently ahead:

Do not be in a hurry to translate a large chunk of app content in one go. If you do so, you may make mistakes. Plan in advance so that you can schedule the translation and make it look admirable.

Do prior testing:

If you opt for machine translation, it is advisable to test the third-party software rigorously. 

Check software for localization:

It is important to ensure that the software you select for language translation supports the country code and is capable of changing UI elements like date, time, currencies, etc., based on the country. 

A few other ways to overcome this are:

  • You can implement localization of Help and software (GUI) simultaneously. 
  • Do not forget to leave notes in the app resources. This will help translators in plenty of ways.
  • Opt for customization while incorporating keywords. This will assist search engines in crawling the app perfectly.


We hope that this article will help you in overcoming the multilingual app development hurdles successfully. Kody Technolab also gives required input to clients needing multilingual app development. You can connect with us to have it in your app. Our multilingual app development solutions help clients in mitigating the gap they face while connecting to their user base. We wish you face no hurdle crossing the boundaries. 

Mihir Mistry

Mihir Mistry is a highly experienced CTO at Kody Technolab, with over 16 years of expertise in software architecture and modern technologies such as Big Data, AI, and ML. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge with others to help them benefit.

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