UX localization for sports tech brands

Ever found yourself heading off course? Like everything suddenly feels foreign (and not in a fun, adventurous way)? It’s time to backtrack. ASAP. If you’re not considering UX localization when you translate your app or software, that’s how your users are probably feeling. (Spoiler alert: it’s definitely affecting your churn rate.)

UX localization isn’t just about translating the words in your app. It’s making sure your app feels intuitive to use in any language. As effortless and smooth as a dream descent on fresh snow. You’ve made this awesome app. Now get more people using it. And loving it.

When should you start thinking about UX? Right now.


User experience (or UX) is about how natural, comfortable and easy it feels for people to use your app or software. It’s about how all the different elements  – from the code to the design – come together. Sounds simple, right? But there’s a lot to think about. From nailing the sports terminology to cultural considerations and design.


Localization and user experience

Ready to translate your app into different languages? Hold up! First you need to internationalize and get your app or software ready. Skip this step at your own risk. It’ll be a lot like climbing on a tangled rope or trying that half-pipe trick without tightening your boots first.

Internationalization means laying the groundwork to make your app work in any language. To make sure you don’t end up dealing with hundreds of bugs when you start localizing, which will delay time to market and add unnecessary costs. But where do you even start? How do you make sure your app works well in every language and gets plenty of downloads across the globe? Here are just a few things you need to take into account.

Language lenght, encoding standards and font sizes

Some languages are just naturally longer than others. For example, when you translate from English into any romance language (like Italian or French), the text typically expands by a whopping 30%. Other languages, like Chinese, will be 30% shorter!

You need to be sure that your app isn’t going to be bogged down by longer words, especially in menus or places where space is usually limited. This is also when you make sure the font and encoding standard you’ve chosen can support different characters. While we’re at it, we also make sure your app can handle different currencies and number formats.

outdoor sports translation

Supporting right-to-left and left-to-right languages

English is a left-to-right language. But switch an app from English into Hebrew (a right-to-left language) and the whole navigation system needs retooling. This is a big deal if you want to appeal to target audiences in the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. That’s no small market. Layouts, menus, buttons, images – you’ll need to consider all that and more if you want to break into these regions.

Colors, images and designs

Localization is more than translation. It’s looking at the bigger picture, including color and design, and making sure that the images you use are appropriate for each market. For example, different cultures see colors differently. Or at least they view them differently. In China, red is a lucky color, but in other countries it’s a sign of danger. A localized color scheme makes your app much more appealing, intuitive and user-friendly.

outdoor sports translation

Variables and placeholders

Tie into your harness; we’re getting more technical here. Variables and placeholders are parts of your code that – in theory – can be left untouched and programmatically reused even when the text around them changes. Now, that might work in English. As soon as you start localizing into other languages, though, you’re climbing on sight (in uncharted territory). That’s why you need to work with someone who can speak your developers’ lingo, too.


Wow. A lot to think about, right? And we’ve only just scratched the surface.  That’s why we’re here to make it easy for you. If you need translations for sports and fit tech apps, you’re already in the right place.

► We’ll steer you in the right direction to make ongoing localization an easy and straightforward part of your product development. We’re used to working closely with our clients’ developer teams to make it easier and faster for everyone to add other languages. Think of us as the climbing lead to your team’s second.

► We can also provide continuous localization and smart automation via software that plugs into your app. Translation: less hands-on work for you (no more manually updating languages). This helps with consistency and quality, too. And that’s a win-win, right?

The Action Sports Translator helped turn a full-time project into something I only had to check in on a few hours a week. They basically reduced my project management overhead by at least 1000% – instead of spending 5 days a week on this like I did with previous rounds, it was more like a half day (with some busier weeks every now and then).

Craig T., Copywriter @ komoot

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