Working on localizing my iPhone app's content, but how do I handle customer support?


Although my iPhone app is currently written in English, I see a lot of purchases from non-English speaking countries. These purchases would almost certainly go up if the app was available in other languages, so I'm working on getting the app localized.

Right now, we don't get many non-English support requests, presumably because the language of the UI causes our users to assume that support is only available in English. However, I'm curious what to do if localizing the app causes users to start submitting customer support requests in languages other than English.

Has anyone dealt with this before? Is it bad form to reply (in English) that we can only provide English-language support? Are there services that will do one-off translations when these cases arise?

Customer Support Iphone Localization

asked Dec 25 '10 at 08:31
198 points

1 Answer


With our apps (web), we offer languages in the following: German, French, Portugeese, and Spanish.

Although Chinese is the 2nd biggest internet market, we find that we have less than 1% customers from china, and that most of the reason chinese ever buy our product is to nullify, hack or copy it. As a matter of fact we block china.

As for help and support, we translate all our help docs making sure they are available in our 5 top languages. But we only offer help, sales, tech support in English. We draw the line there because most of our customers can communicate in English or find someone that can. We have minimized support quite a bit by making sure our UI layers make sense and follow what clients are used to.

Another note on supporting languages. You may be tempted to support languages such as korean, chinese, japanese, russian, etc. But when you look at the hard numbers, you realize that most serious customers will speak one of the top five languages we listed. Plus, formatting your site to support these languages can be troublesome.

Add one language at a time. Keep your support in English.

answered Dec 25 '10 at 11:40
2,079 points
  • Frank I completely agree with you. My research on possible markets (I still have no product in sale) shows that I can limit the number of languages supported without losing customers that are willing to pay. Why do you exclude Korean and Japan? My opinion is that China is still not ready to become profitable market due to low income and piracy. – Ross 13 years ago
  • @ross, we block china, india, russia, ukraine, pakistan, and about 30 more countries from even accessing our sites. The reason for this is because we get 90% of our hack attempts from those countries with almost 0 customers ever! They simply cannot afford our products based on the exchange rates, or there is no market for it. We dont block korea, japan, and singapore. Those are our top 3 countries from the AsiaPac region (in that order). We simply do not support their language or character sets. We have found that our customers from japan speak great english. To translate our site – Frank 13 years ago
  • to support their languages would also break its design, and make updates a nightmare. We would have to create completely seperate sites to support the languages where our users have not complained once about our use of english. In Japan English is required learning in school. In singapore and korea the majority of people who can afford our SAAS products speak english. – Frank 13 years ago
  • Thanks for the link to the google map with datapoints... Upvote for that very useful tool. – Frank 13 years ago
  • I block them to access my site too ... for similar reasons. – Ross 13 years ago
  • @ross, i think we should start a BLOCK CHINA movement! – Frank 13 years ago

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