I’m going to end up making a Japanese version of Bingo Card Creator “one of these days”, and sell both the English and Japanese versions in the Japan market.  This would be sort of ambitious for a uISV with no sales to date, if I weren’t Japan-based myself.  Why?

1)  I built the program from the ground up with localization in mind.  I am absolutely positive that there is exactly one string in the program which would need to be changed for the Japanese version, and thats a web address which I was too lazy to externalize.  Everything else is in a resource file like it should be.  (Incidentally, anyone making an application for external distribution in Java should do it this way.  Its a major feature of the language, and the amount of additional hassle is very minimal IF you do it from day one.  Integrating late in the project cycle is a pain in the keister.)

2)  Ahem, free money.  My market is underserved in the US, but it just isn’t served at all in Japan.  (Incidentally, the market is mostly teachers of English — many of whom in Japan have no formal training as teachers and who arrive every year with a minimum of instruction from their superiors and/or employers and a room full of kids who need to be taught and entertained.)

3)  Low advertising costs.  Think of it: how many people are bidding on English teaching keywords in Japan?  Answer: not really that many, except folks recruiting for jobs.

The challenges: I’ll have to spend two hours localizing my program, and a heck of a lot longer localizing my website.  This will likely include reevaluating my payment processors to find somebody who can offer both Japanese and English interfaces to the customers.  Ideally I’d use a Japanese payment processor because credit card penetration is not quite 100% here (there are a witches brew of microcurrencies and alternative payment methods).

The bigger problem will be localizing my website.  I do not look forward to that one little bit, as I’m a lot less confident in my ability to market in Japanese than in my ability to write a Save As dialog in Japanese (and, going by the results of my marketing in English, I’ve not exactly got natural talent for it).   I might settle for writing one or two pages in Japanese and linking them to the English ones, and putting a price in yen fairly prominent somewhere ($24.95 or 2500 yen…).

Speaking of which, I may have to rethink that price point sometime…  oh well, silly to do it during the middle of summer vacation when demand for the product is a close approximation of zero at any price…

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2 Comments on “Localizing”

  1. Gert Says:

    Maybe Panda Software is something for you. They can help localize (and sell) in the Japanese market.



  2. Patrick Says:

    Interesting, but I think I’ll take a pass. Outsourcing major functions is not in the business plan. And while I’m sure they’re much better at what they do than I am, on a commission basis I’m not sure they have enough incentive to do a much better job than I could, for this program at any rate. 🙂

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