This article follows on our interview with Victor Shaburov, Vice President of Storefront Services at Opera Software in relation to his advice for app developers to explore app localization. Localization concerns language, customs and traditions, sometimes through images (photos, animations, icons, etc.). The focus here is on how small developers can carve out a niche for themselves for other developers – potentially large app development companies, on a business to business basis. There is broad-based competition in this market, but that speaks to its viability.
Localization – Supply and Demand. There are, in fact, so many apps available that it is sometimes a challenge to distribute them even on a FREE basis – hundreds of thousands, millions when considering platform specific iterations.
Wiki’s List of Languages shows the major languages of the world and how many people speak the language. This is a good general reference in that the fewer speakers of a language, the less likely an app has been localized for it. Of course, that also means its overall potential to be monetized is much smaller, too. Or does it? For the large developer, yes – but there’s ample opportunity for smaller developers.
Localizing an app is generally far easier, and much faster, than developing an entire app from scratch – provided you can provide professional translations and have a thorough understanding of the culture, traditions and “feel” for your specific market.
For starters, you might approach larger developers with popular apps with offers to localize their app to your market. For this, you will likely want a reasonably detailed market presentation covering the number of prospective users the developer could reach along with any value added services you can offer toward that end (web sites, business connections, social networking, etc.) This helps build your portfolio — the more you do the easier it becomes to do even more.
Another approach is to network with local businesses. Here, you would be looking to determine what kind of apps, and possibly what specific apps, they think would be useful for their business operations and/or customers. In extension, this can give you options to work with other developers (as above), buy the rights off original developer (which may be good for older apps), get a licensing agreement or in some circumstances, a subscription-based arrangement.
The key is to leverage your existing capabilities for future possibilities. The more you demonstrate your usefulness to businesses within your market, the more likely they are to tap you on the shoulder for a new project. The more you become known by other developers for your ability and influence within a specific market, the more likely they will refer to your for their localization efforts in it.
Big companies rely upon small companies for a lot of their work. Sometimes the ONLY barrier between a big company being able to do something is for its people to know that it can be done – easily and conveniently. That’s where you have a foot in the door.