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Beginner's Guide to App Localization on Google Play

by ,  Senior ASO Expert Advanced ASO

In today’s global market, localization is as important as ever to reach new users and perform well in new markets. In terms of ASO, localizing your app’s store listing can help to improve the user journey, conversion, rankings on localized keywords, and overall app exposure and visibility.

Localization is especially important on Google Play, as Android continues to be the world’s leading mobile operating system with a 71.1% global market share (March 2022). Currently, the Google Play Store supports up to 77 locales for localization. It is important to understand in which countries and languages your app will be available to be able to maximize your discoverability and expand your global audience.

In this blog, we will define some common localization terminology, highlight some important components for localization on Google Play, and provide a complete list of the languages (and corresponding language codes) and regions your app can appear in.

Looking for information about localization for iOS? Check out this blog to learn more about the benefits of cross-localization on the App Store.


Localization terminology

Before we dive deeper into the details of localization, let us first start with defining some important terms:

  • Language: The language spoken in a specific country. Examples: English, French, German, Spanish, etc.
  • Territory: Also known as “regions,” and describes the country in which your app is available, such as the United States, France, Germany, Spain, etc.
  • Locale: Describes the unique combination of a language (represented by two-character codes in lower case) and a specific territory (represented by two-character codes in upper case). We use the term “locale” rather than “language” to be able to differentiate between dialects in the same language; for example:
    • US English appears as “en-US,” while British English appears as “en-UK.”
    • Spain-Spanish appears as “es-ES,” while Latin American Spanish appears as “es-419.”

Localization on Google Play

Google Play allows you to add translations of your app’s store listing page to provide a localized experience for your users around the world. If a user’s language preference matches the store listing languages you have enabled, the user will see the localized version of the store listing and any localized creative assets you have added.

Here are some more things you should keep in mind when localizing your app page for Google Play:

  • You can set one primary locale as the default. By doing so, you specify the default locale users will see when browsing the store in a locale your app is not localized for. When you first upload an app, this default locale is automatically set to English (en-US).
  • Users can choose to view an auto-translated version of your store listing. If you don’t provide translations for your metadata, users can click the “translate” button in the top right-hand corner of the page for an automated translation. While the Google Translate algorithm is constantly improving, it can still lead to incorrect or undesirable outcomes and is not available for Armenian, Rhaeto-romance, Tagalog, and Zulu.
  • Google will also automatically index your app for many keywords in local searches without you having manually translated your metadata. However, to ensure you are ranking for the right, relevant high-volume keywords, it is important to manually add them to your metadata by providing your own translations.

Google has provided a great Localization Checklist that you can use to make sure your app is ready to be launched in other countries and reach new audiences.

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Custom store listings on Google Play

Adding translations for your app’s store listing page is one of two ways that Google Play helps you provide localized experiences to users in different locations. To deliver different store listings by country/region instead of by language, we recommend creating custom store listings.

Custom store listings allow developers to create alternative product pages for their app by uploading assets and texts that are shown to users based on their Google Play country or app install state, instead of users’ device languages or region. With custom store listings, you can override a user’s language preferences and tailor your app’s store listing to appeal to specific user segments in the countries you select. If your app has a global audience, you can use custom store listings to ensure the proper features, messaging, language, and creatives are showcased to the right users in a specific country.

An example of an effective custom store listing can be found when looking at the delivery app Rappi in South America. Rappi has a custom store listing in Mexico that is different than their default Spanish store listing below:

Rappi custom store listing on Google Play

By including a separate custom store listing for Mexico, Rappi is able to ensure that users in Mexico see a different store listing than Spanish speakers in the US. This is important because Rappi offers deliveries for popular restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other vendors in Mexico that they want to highlight and promote; however, not all these vendors may not be available to US users.

Therefore, to avoid confusion and make sure each audience sees the correct information, Rappi directs all users in Mexico to the custom store listing while all US and Latin American Spanish speakers see the default listing. As a result, Rappi is able to showcase all their offerings available to users in Mexico without misleading other Spanish speakers by showing them the same information.

One thing to note is that your app’s distribution and settings may affect your ability to select certain territories for your custom store listing. Here are some common examples of why certain segments and/or territories may not be available to your app:

  • Used in another custom store listing: Country/region is unavailable because the country is already targeted with a different custom store listing.
  • Pre-registration: Pre-registration install state targeting allows you to show a different store listing to users in countries/regions where your app is in pre-registration. Users in countries where the app is in full production will be unable to see the pre-registration listing.
  • Unavailable in Google Play: Country is unavailable because your app is currently not distributed there.

List of Google Play Store territories & locales

The Google Play Store currently supports 77 locales for localization. We’ve compiled a comprehensive table that will help you understand exactly which languages and locales are available on the Google Play Store, and their corresponding language codes.

LanguageLanguage Code
Afrikaansaf
Amharicam
Bulgarianbg
Catalanca
Chinese (Hong Kong)zh-HK
Chinese (PRC)zh-CN
Chinese (Taiwan)zh-TW
Croatianhr
Czechcs
Danishda
Dutchnl
English (UK)en-GB
English (US)en-US
Estonianet
Filipinofil
Finnishfi
French (Canada)fr-CA
French (France)fr-FR
Germande
Greekel
Hebrewhe
Hindihi
Hungarianhu
Icelandicis
Indonesianid / in
Italianit
Japaneseja
Koreanko
Latvianlv
Lithuanianlt
Malayms
Norwegianno
Polishpl
Portuguese (Brazil)pt-BR
Portuguese (Portugal)pt-PT
Romanianro
Russianru
Serbiansr
Slovaksk
Sloveniansl
Spanish (Latin America)es-419
Spanish (Spain)es-ES
Swahilisw
Swedishsv
Thaith
Turkishtr
Ukrainianuk
Vietnamesevi
Zuluzu

Conclusion

Localization can be daunting at first, but you now have all the information you need to begin localizing your app on Google Play. Whether you are expanding into a new locale for the first time or creating a territory-specific custom store listing, localizing your app and store listing is key to maximizing your reach and global audience.

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by ,  Senior ASO Expert

Ian is an ASO Expert at AppTweak helping apps improve their store presence. He is passionate about movies, traveling, and spending time with his dog.