How to Build Multi-lingual Android Apps?

Guest Post by: Mark Wilston

International customers of android applications often face problems when applications do not support the language they habitually speak and understand. To solve this issue, multi-lingual apps are built which can support more than one language. This increases the popularity of android apps among the consumers who prefer to enjoy them in their native language. In this article, we will learn the process in which multi-lingual applications are developed.

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Before learning how to make your application to support several languages, first you must know how to build your own application. Once you are done with the letter, you will follow the steps at the end of this article to turn it to multilingual.

Firstly you have to decide which application you want to build. As a beginner you should go for simple ones which do not have many advance features. Once you get familiar with the whole process, you may build your own interesting and complicated apps never seen before in the market. For providing a straightforward tutorial, I will discuss the steps for making a paint application.

Merlin iPad App User Interface Design Concept by Eric Carl

Once you have decided what type of app you are going to do, get prepared for the work. You need to get software for making android applications. Along with that you must have some basic knowledge of Java to successfully complete the job.

After getting the required software, make a rough idea of the user interface of your application, i.e. how will it work? How will it look like? As we are making a modest painting application, we in this step basically you need to decide which features should or/and must be added.

A typical paint app has first of all a canvas on which you draw; painting objects like brush and pencil, color tray where you choose the color to use an option to draw geometrical shapes. That’s what the user will see. Additional to this, you must consider the background process also like on touch events, knowing the position of the brush and motion event to report any movement. The list keeps on increasing as you make your application more useful. Similarly for a game application you will consider five screens, logo/intro screen, menu screen, play screen, score screen and leadership board screen. However, as a beginner, you are advised to keep it as simple as possible.

Now it is the time to start the actual work. It is the crucial step of the whole process and requires knowledge of programming. You have to do coding for performing numerous tasks in the application. These codes cover from the most basic actions like positioning brush to the developing ones like changing the width and size of brushes. The coding must be done for all the actions necessary for using the application. Any code missed may be added after you run the app on the testing phase. Once you are done with this critical step, you have to move into the testing phase.

For running it on a test phase on an emulator, you need to import your work to ‘Eclipse’. Open ‘Eclipse’ and go to file, options. Select an existing project in the workspace and then select your project file when it asks for selecting the root directory. Once you import the files, run the application on the emulator. Test your app and see for any changes to be made. It is the time to make it perfect.

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After successfully building your app and testing it, you can add support for different languages to make it multi-lingual. You need to open the ‘res’ folder in your project file and make new folders naming ‘value’, ‘value-rs’ etc. The value folder is compulsory and the other folders should be named ‘value-x’, replacing x with the short form of language name like ‘rs’ for Russian, ‘it’ for Italian. Now you will create ‘string.xml’ files in these folders. In ‘value’ folder the string should be in original language. For the rest of the folders, the strings should be in the format as shown in the example for Spanish folder below:

This will make your application multi-lingual. You may add more languages if the space available allows you to do so.

Ultimately you should run a test run for finalizing your own-made android app. Any mistakes must be corrected before realizing it.

Following the instructions above you will be making your own android multi-lingual application either for fun or for income. Whatever the reason is, the most appealing thing about this is that you can earn valuable experience which will play a vital role in your future career in some way. So just start your experiment and enrich yourself with the constructive skill you either lack or seek to improve!



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