When shouting loudly in English just won’t do…

When shouting loudly in English just won’t do…

Five essential points to consider for localization of your digital health app

Localization is the new translation. In fact, it incorporates elements of translation, internationalization, and cultural adaptation to curate content for a specific locale or market.

Content destined for patients should be carefully considered, no matter the locale, to ensure that idiomatic phrases are conveyed naturally. Creating a clear structure and steering away from ‘robotic’ sounding translations can help the audience to truly engage with the text. Here are five elements that should be considered:

1.   Knowing your audience ensures the best source content

The source content is the cornerstone of your localization; it sets down what will be subsequently localized. Research your audience, examine their culture, see what suits them best, and your foundations for localization will be set.

2.   By the people for the people  

Machine translation is a big no-no, particularly for digital app content. For example, a machine doesn’t know when it’s appropriate to use ‘Skip’ (next page), ‘Skip’ (the action of hopping on one foot), or ‘Skip’ (large refuse container). For true human rather than android content, the best approach is to have a localization team that can use their linguistic and project-management expertise to curate logical and contextually correct content.

3.   Review, review and review once more

More than two sets of eyes should be looking at the localized content to address any issues, whether it be in the logic of a particular segment in another language or making the text sound more natural and less ‘translated’.


4.   Consider internationalization 

True internationalization involves a combination of localization on a linguistic level and cultural adaptation for foreign audiences – such as reconfiguring elements within the app to suit a target country (e.g. postcode and date formats or establishing alphabet support).

5.   Keep the conversation going

Fluid communication between developers, linguists, project managers and end users is essential. A lot of people are involved in the localization of an app. Cohesion and collaboration are key to effectively using the skills of each team member to ensure that the end content is suitable for the target audience.

For more information about our experience in the localization of digital apps, please contact us at

Coralie Rassinoux