Skip to content

Android Provides a World of Language Support

Language Translation Facts

Android Provides a World of Language Support

In the 9 years since Google acquired Android it has grown to be the world’s most popular mobile operating system. To do so the Google Android team developed language support features so that Android OS-based phones fully function in the language of the user’s choice.

Here is a view of how much of the world has accepted Android (Table by Canalys):

3641_image1

The list of languages currently supported within Android are:

Language

Language Code

Afrikaans

af

Amharic

am

Bulgarian

bg

Catalan

ca

Chinese (PRC)

zh-CN

Chinese (Taiwan)

zh-TW

Croatian

hr

Czech

cs

Danish

da

Dutch

nl

English (UK)

en-GB

English (US)

en-US

Estonian

et

Filipino

fil

Finnish

fi

French (Canada)

fr-CA

French (France)

fr-FR

German

de

Greek

el

Hindi

hi

Hungarian

hu

Indonesian

id / in

Italian

it

Japanese

ja

Korean

ko

Latvian

lv

Lithuanian

lt

Malay

ms

Norwegian

no

Polish

pl

Portuguese (Brazil)

pt-BR

Portuguese (Portugal)

pt-PT

Romanian

ro

Russian

ru

Serbian

sr

Slovak

sk

Slovenian

sl

Spanish (Latin America)

es-419

Spanish (Spain)

es-ES

Swahili

sw

Swedish

sv

Thai

th

Turkish

tr

Ukrainian

uk

Zulu

zu

Source: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/table/4419860?hl=en

In June Google mentioned they are close to releasing a multi-lingual feature that would allow a user of an Android OS device/phone to easily switch between languages using Google Now search. When this is available the feature will allow users to select as many as 7 different languages for various phone functions and applications. You could perform a search in one language, run an application in another and look up your contacts in yet another language all without having to re-set any settings between use of the apps or functions.

While I have an Android phone and will only have need for one language at a time, I have many polyglot friends who will likely use this feature daily once it is a released. Many families today speak multiple languages in their homes and would like the ability to use their mobile devices in multiple languages to play a game online with others, use various social media applications ( home country and native country) and browse the web.

When considering localization of applications for mobile devices, it is not only the people in a target country that may benefit and seek use of the localized app, but many of the native speakers who have migrated to other countries will use their phones in multiple languages.

Mobile application translation or localization is typically an affordable option for many start-ups rather than the cost for an enterprise or PC-based application as it will have much less text to translate. Here is a link to a blog of ours to provide tips on what to consider in creating a mobile app with localization in mind.

Android is an excellent mobile OS with strong language support. It is great that they are continuing to expand the language features and capabilities. If you are a mobile app developer with an interest to support mobile users globally or a mobile user looking to use your phone in a language other than English, you should feel confident that Android is a platform that can support your needs in almost every market in the world today.