For many international developers Russia is considered to be an opportunity to grow their app or games business. According to the 2017 report on the 'Mobile Internet Economy in Russia [PDF]', Russia's population is young with 45% of people being under 35 years old.1 The report also found that mobile subscriptions are at 160% of the population of 146 million people, meaning people with data plans have more than one on average – considerably higher than other well connected countries.2 Last year Android accounted for 84% of all smartphones in Russia and smartphone shipments are still growing with demand up 11% in early 2017 compared to 2016.
Russian people are very engaged in terms of smartphone mobile usage, Russia is one of the top countries in terms of apps downloaded per person3. Half of the population are gamers; their favorite game genres being strategy, builders and farms, shooters, puzzles and fighters. The most popular app categories are dating (with strong local developers), music & video, social & messaging and shopping.4
Tips to help you successfully localize for Russian
Along with understanding Russian mobile trends, there are market specific best practices which can help you tailor your apps and games for a local audience to increase your chance of business success.
- Language localization
- Proofread and quality assure your entire app or game after translating text resources and visual assets. After localization, you should quality assure your app or game as a whole and not just text resources.
- Use proficient native speakers. Contextually relevant translations are best done by native speakers familiar with mobile apps or games terminology.
- Localize all content where possible. Aim to provide as much localized content as possible, providing a similar level in the local language as the original.
- Ensure consistent language and style. Semantically check the translated text in the context of the whole app/game experience to make it look and sound relevant to local users. Ensure use of consistent language style (such as formal/informal addressing) and use of the same terms or names across all the text and visual assets.
- Don't forget language rules. Follow language rules on quantities, gender, word breaking, acronyms, etc. If the user gender is unknown, consider making a careful choice of words so that to omit specifying user's gender or use a passive voice.
- Be aware of the length of translated text. In Cyrillic languages words and phrases tend to be longer than English, and might not fit into a tightly designed UI. Be creative in finding alternative contextually and locally relevant alternative translations.
- Use local date and time formats. Check the country specific date / time format which local users are familiar with.
- Take note of the "you" translation. "You" translation is contextual and can be translated to singular (similar to early modern english thou) or plural form (when refer to multiple people or in polite form). And as a reminder, when choosing to address your user informally ("thou"), make sure to avoid specifying user's gender, unless it is known.
- Play Store assets
- Provide localized store assets, such as the title (for example when title is not a universally known brand), store listing, screenshots and videos. Do not forget to localize the "what's new" section if included.
- Avoid keywords in your app or game title which attempt to improve its visibility on the Play Store.
- Local pricing, price points, rounding rules
- Avoid adding your own currency indicators (such as $ or £) as some markets use local pricing -find out more about local pricing. Use the Russian Ruble official symbol (₽) after the number with a space, and use comma as a decimal separator, e.g. 49,99 ₽.
- Generally, in-app, subscriptions, or paid app/games prices should be lower than in Western markets. Research industry best practices and experiment which price points are best for your app or game business model.
- Make sure price rounding follows the "99" or "49" rules. Use the Google Play Console to set local prices.
- Text resources
- Avoid abbreviations, and if shortening is absolutely necessary, follow language rules to shorten words.
- Avoid breaking single words and punctuation into a new line. Follow language rules of breaking words across lines (such as app- and -lication).
- Ensure consistent font styles. Some font families may be displayed differently in non-English locales. Always check how your chosen font will be displayed on user devices in different locales.
- In-game visual and audio assets
- When appropriate and relevant, consider localizing visual assets in addition to text strings. Pay attention to splash screens!
- Localize video and audio, and use native speakers to make it sound locally relevant.
For more guidance, read the localization checklist.
Nominate your title for the "Now in Russian" collection on the Google Play Store
On July 24st we launched the first Now in Russian collection on Google Play, featuring 24 titles from international developers such as Kabam's Transformers, GTarcade's Legacy of Discord, Yodo1's Crossy Road, im30's Last Empire - War Z and others.
We are planning to refresh the collection by the end of the year and we would love to include your title! Submit your recently localized title for a chance to be included.