Mobile access to the Internet is a growing phenomenon. Approximately half a billion people connected to the mobile Internet in 2009, with this usage expected to at least double within 5 years.
Interestingly, by 2013, mobile access to the web is expected to dwarf traditional connection via the desktop and laptop. However, this is already the case for some countries, as 70% of Egyptians and 59% of Indians only use their mobile devices to access the Internet. Similarly, 70% of Facebook’s UK users are connecting to the social network from their phones. As a result, Facebook now accounts for 50% of all mobile Internet minutes in the UK.
Smartphone applications have also become very popular, with innovative, useful, and fun programs leading to thousands of downloads. One recent example is the ‘Talking Tom Cat 2’ app, which features a cat that repeats what the user says back to them in a funny, and annoying, voice.
This application was able to achieve worldwide success largely due to the novel nature of the software, and the fact that a trial version was available as a free download. But Outfit7, Talking Tom Cat 2’s developer, also took the time to fully localise the app for the global market. As a result, this multilingual feline was the most downloaded app in England, France, and South Korea for the week beginning 23rd May.
Employment in the language industry is set to grow within the next 10 years, and the localisation of smart phone applications set to provide a lot of opportunities for translators.
There are many applications that now specifically related to the language service industry. One example is the SnaPanda app, a tool designed to help those who wish to learn the English language. The software enables the user to touch any written word as it appears in your Smartphone camera and receive a simple definition.
A more eccentric way to learn a new language comes in the form of the Karaoke4English app. Brainglass, the team behind Karaoke4English, wanted to give beginner-level English learners a platform from where they could gain a greater understanding of the language.
With its Karaoke-style synchronization of text and audio, along with the ability to tap and word to see its translation, Karaoke4Englsih is an intuitive and unique app. This download is certainly recommended as a fun way to pick up the English language.
Therefore, the global mobile application industry can create huge opportunities for translators. With the online market being able to transcend national boarders, app developers will want to localise their programs to appeal to a worldwide audience.
Written by Matt Train
Matt Train is Operations Director at TranslateMedia - responsible for working with clients and system integration partners to advise, plan, and deliver multilingual digital content for international brands and content publishers.