Android Market Developer Console Language Translation-Fu

Ever wonder if you should bother to use the auto translate option and add different languages for your application description? Through sheer neglect I managed to set up a little anecdotal experiment that resolves that question for me for any text-light application.

One of my favourite screensavers is the Polyhedra screensaver written by Dr. Zvi Har’El and Jamie Zawinski in the X11 XScreenSaver collection. I popped out a *very* dumbed down version for Android that shows just the basic regular spinning polyhedra riding a sinusoid. It’s not a popular app. It’s really not meant to be a popular app, and frankly I’m surprised that it ever surpassed 100 downloads. It was my first exposure to using Canvas on Android. Anyway, the link is to the right. It’s called Polyhedra Live Wallpaper but I think you have to be a bit of a classical math geek to remotely want to appreciate it.

In an update in September (two months ago) I deleted all of the app descriptions other than English. I was going to re-translate after I had tweaked the English “What’s New” section. I forgot. The downloads started to languish and flat-line. I had thought the app just hit critical mass and Live Wallpapers are so Android 2.1 anyway…

Well a couple of days ago I was loading my apps onto an alternative app portal and I finally noticed. I repopulated the non-English descriptions. To the left is the 30 day download activity of Polyhedra Live Wallpaper. The bump at the very start correlates with an update. The rather pronounced increase is when I repopulated the App details in other languages…

It’s hard to believe that this little exercise will soon garner 5k downloads.

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