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Localisation, Globalisation and Risk (not the game.. Risk.. )

Following the Ovi Daily review of Headlines by Steve Litchfield I’ve received a number of requests from people around the world for a copy of Headlines – this is fantastic, and I am chuffed to bits at this level of interest. If I could I’d make Headlines available world wide. However I haven’t yet, but there is a good reason for that, and it’s something I’m trying to fix.

Limited Release
When I first released Headlines on the Ovi store I wanted to make the application available worldwide. However I came across another blog post by a fellow Symbian developer and Ovi publisher CuteHacks. In their blog post they reported that there were some hidden rules which Ovi uses to assess applications. These rules had prevented them from releasing a copy of their application worldwide – specifically because they didn’t have localised versions of their application for every territory.

Localisation is fantastic
Producing a localised version of any application can be an expensive business, large companies like Microsoft employee hundreds of people to do just that. They translate text, make sure dates are formatted in the local way and test the application to make sure that it functions correctly. This really produces the best localised user experience.

I wanted to make sure I got Headlines out on Ovi, but given that I don’t have a second language I was limited in what translations I could produce. Also as a single person development company I don’t have the resources available to large organisations.

When making my initial release of Headlines to Ovi I deliberately wanted to avoid the same problem that CutHacks encountered. Therefore I only released Headlines in countries in which English was a recognised language. I took the list of countries in which Ovi publishes and then checked via Wikipedia that each of the territories I wanted to release into had official support for English. The result was my application was published first time – Brilliant. The down side is that it is not available to everyone – Not so brilliant.

Expanding the Release
I want to change this. I’d like to make Headlines available worldwide. How do I do this? Well I contacted Nokia directly, I have some contacts there who have provided me with fantastic support in the production of Headlines. I asked them if these hidden rules existed and could I release an international English application worldwide?

The answer…. well they are still looking into it. Nokia is a large organisation and they are trying to find the right person to help. In the mean time my Nokia contacts suggest that as Headlines is available on the Ovi Store that I just change the territory list in which it is available. The guys at the Ovi store can only reject the additional territories (hopefully).

So last night I did just that. Hopefully we’ll find out soon if this works!

Calling translators
In the mean time, if you are fortunate enough to have a second language, unlike myself, and would like to help translate and test translated copies of Headlines – drop me a line! I would love to work with you – you can reach me here: headlines@mind-flip.com. You can help mould the next release of Headlines.

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