Which Dialect Should I Choose?

There are several languages which have certain differences depending on where they are spoken. The classic example would be Spanish.

Spanish is spoken in 20 different countries worldwide, each with their own regional twist on the language. Sometimes dialects are as simple to compare as British English is to American English, but other times the two dialects differ so greatly that one would not be so easily understood by the other.

When deciding to localize your app, you have to take into account your biggest market. Don’t make the mistake of thinking “Latin America is bigger than Spain, therefore I choose Latin American Spanish”. Biggest market is always where your most sales come from or where evidence points to the biggest potential market, not geographical size, not population size. Of course, if you are making an app specifically for the Spanish (Spain) market, it makes sense to localize into European Spanish.


iOS and Mac OS X *DO NOT* treat dialects the same

iOS currently only supports the regional dialects hard wired into the language selection menu. These include dialects such as Mexican Spanish, Canadian French, Portuguese Portuguese (vs Brazilian), etc. A full list can be seen here: http://kb.applingua.com/2011/07/supported-ios-languages-which-languages


OS X is better!

In OS X, Apple fortunately recognise regional differences and allow you to include multiple dialects within your app. Cleverly, you can also fallback on the lowest common denominator, or “high language” as it is sometimes know.

For example, you can localize the following:



The first folder is what you define as Spanish. Let’s say European Spanish. The second folder (es-AR) is where you keep your Argentinian Spanish localization.

If you are in Spain and open the app, you get the es.lproj Spanish. If you are in Argentina, you get Argentinian Spanish. What if you are in Chile?

Well as we haven’t defined a es-CL.lproj folder, the app will launch in the “high language”, in this case, es.lproj.

If you don’t have an es.lproj folder however, and instead on a es-ES.lproj and an es-AR.lproj folder, then Chilean users will get the app’s default language, usually English.

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CEO & Founder of Applingua.com

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