R – What are the Top 5 Languages to localize an app for?


I'm wondering, based on experience (and raw population data) which are the 5 "best" localizations for an application (iPhone app in this case). Note by localization I don't only mean language, but other customs such as date and currency formats, etc.

My guess list would be as follows

  1. English
  2. French
  3. Spanish
  4. German
  5. Japanese

How does your list compare and why?

Best Solution

I think your list includes the ones that pay off best for the effort of translating. A bit googling shows they rank high on the list of languages with the most native speakers (see here and here) and are at the top of the languages of Internet users. Of course you would need to know iPhone usage in the countries, but it's obvious that the countries speaking those languages rank among the tech savviest countries.

French people are very well known to insist on the usage of their own language and take their culture very serious. So it's also important to have a perfect translation and maybe adapt things to their culture.

I think your list also reflects the top foreign languages teached in school. Most Scandinavians for example speak English fluently and are used to watch uninterpreted U.S. TV shows. I wouldn't translate the app for them unless there's a very good reason.