Irish mobile app developers urged to localise their apps

13 Jun 2012

A three-day summer school around mobile apps development is kicking off at University of Limerick’s Localisation Research Centre (LRC) today. The aim of the summer school is to get Irish mobile app developers to think global but act local in order to capitalise on the mobile app market.

Gartner, for instance, has forecast that by the end of 2012 mobile app downloads from app stores will top 31bn.

As for this year’s summer school at the LRC, current and aspiring mobile app developers are converging for an introductory course in how to create localised apps suitable for international users. The Science Foundation Ireland-funded Centre for Next Generation Localisation is supporting the event.

Future Human

Areas that will be covered during the workshops between today and Friday will include computing beyond the desk, building an app, localising an app, mobile localisation, plus there will be an introduction to Windows Phone development.

Speaking in advance of the summer school, the LRC’s manager Karl Kelly said only about 5pc of mobile apps are currently localised to the requirements of users in specific countries.

He pointed to how localisation will be increasingly important to mobile app developers as the opportunities to access audiences beyond the English-speaking world continue to surge, especially with the Chinese and Russian markets, in particular, experiencing vertiginous growth.

“Ireland is a world leader in software localisation but to maintain this leadership position, it is vital that developers here gain the technical know-how to create mobile applications that can be effectively tailored for overseas markets,” said Kelly.

As part of the sessions, there will also be an overview of the development and localisation practices for the Android and Windows Phone operating systems.

Kelly said this would include using computer-assisted translation tools to semi-automate the language-translation process.

Meanwhile, Enda McDonnell of Alchemy Software Development, which is delivering a workshop on Android localisation during the event, pointed to how localising an app involves much more than just language translation.

“Developers must also consider cultural nuances, political sensitivities, social factors and the layouts of mobile pages. The key is to provide a seamlessly local experience for the user and to think international from the outset,” he said.

Apps image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic