We live in an age where everything must be fast, convenient and get straight to the point. That includes software. Although perhaps that name might sound strange to some at this point, as what in the past used to be called “software” has now received a less generic, shorter name: “Apps”.
Who doesn’t love Apps nowadays? Seriously, we use them for everything. And I mean everything – just google up “weirdest Apps around”, and see if I’m right. They allow us to chat with our friends, to make sure we don’t burn the cake that is baking in the oven, to see whether it will rain during the trip you planned for the next weekend, even to check where you parked your car. An App can keep you fit, punctual and/or entertained during long periods of waiting.
PCmag.com defines App as the short form for “APPlication”: “The term has been shorthand for ‘Application’ in the IT community for a long time. However, it became popular with the consumer for mobile Applications on smartphones and tablets after Apple debuted the iPhone 3G in 2008. It is just as correct to say ‘iPhone Application’ as it is ‘desktop computer App’; although App is shorter, and computer people love to abbreviate.”
What we mean by “App” in common, everyday language, is usually definition number two. Only it’s not just something that can be installed on mobile devices, either. An “App” can fit in your computer just as well – as a matter of fact, PC Apps are gaining popularity by the day, and the newest Windows System, Windows 8, is largely based on them.
I found a very suitable definition for our current perception of Apps in the blog “A Designer Life”, by designer and developer Josh Lehman (@SwissLehman), founder of Texan software company Brightcraft Mobile: “A software tool or game — sometimes very specific in purpose — that’s quick and easy to acquire, learn, use, and to discard if it doesn’t meet a pretty immediate need or expectation.”
Following this definition, Lehman analyzes its implications, reaching the conclusion that “the ‘Age of the App’ in which we find ourselves is an age where the user expects to be able to pick up an App like they’d pick up a hammer. It’s function and supporting form should be immediately understood.” Of course, Lehman aims to make Apps understandable through an easy, intuitive design, but there is another aspect that can be decisive in making an App survive in this fast-paced, swirling world based on informatics that we live in: the language.
Translating an App into another language can seem easy, especially when we are talking about a small, mainly visual program, as most Apps are. However, here is the big irony: the less text there is, the more effective it has to be in order to work. Localization and creativity are of the essence; marketing and advertisement skills are a good plus, and having a translator who is able to “think outside the box” can mean the difference between making an App a fixed part of any cell phone main screen, or dooming it to a short life of quick uninstalling processes and an eventual death due to unpopularity.
All in all, an agency capable of delivering good, trustworthy App translation services is crucial.
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