Why Localization Is Important: The Word from Mañana

One of the handiest apps on Firefox Marketplace is even more useful because it’s available in multiple languages.

Mañana, which lets you save for tomorrow interesting articles you find but don’t have time to read today, is the first Firefox OS app from developer Alberto Granzotto and graphic designer Valentina Montagna. In fact, it’s their first app, period.

Mañana is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Polish—with Russian and Greek on the way soon.

So why would first-time developers take the extra time and effort to localize an app?

“Considering that the emerging markets have been crucial for Firefox OS since the beginning, localizing the app in several languages has come naturally,” said Chiara Zecchetto, business development manager. “Don’t forget that one of the goals of Firefox OS, which we proudly support, is to guarantee internet access to as many people as possible.”

Mozilla allows developers to choose where their apps are available—something that can’t be said of all apps stores. (Read our post, “Geo-Targeting: Keeping Developers in the Driver’s Seat,” for more information.)

That choice is significant to the Mañana team.

“Openness, through localization, is important to let more people access the internet—so they can gain and share knowledge, culture, and life experience,” Chiara noted. “We also think that localizing a product, in this case one app or an entire marketplace, is really crucial in helping people familiarize themselves with new technology.”

Developing the app took about three weeks (not full time), from concept to delivery of the first version.

“We started it as a ‘hobby project’ to test the new Firefox OS and optimize languages we already know (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript) for this new adventure,” Alberto explained.

In deciding which languages to focus on first, the team had specific goals in mind.

“We focused on the Firefox OS launches in Spain/LATAM, Italy, and Germany in late 2013,” Alberto said. “Then, we added languages following two criteria: potential Firefox OS markets, and languages that were quick to translate because of the international community that surrounds us.”

A note about translation work: Based in Berlin, the Mañana team found it easy to connect with enthusiastic Mozillians who supported them. But if you don’t have friends to help translate, you can still localize you apps, with Transifex. (Check out “App Localization with Transifex” on the Mozilla Developer Network. Mozilla’s Technical Evangelism team is piloting a program that uses Transifex for managing translation work, both for app developers and localizers.)

Useful resources for developers: While they created Mañana, the team put together this list of links and resources about creating apps for Firefox OS.

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