Android has been the leading mobile OS worldwide for quite a while. In the summer of 2020, it controlled 74.6 percent of the entire mobile OS market. If you’re looking for best practices for building a multilingual Android app, the following Android app development tutorial will walk you through all the dos and don’ts.
Before we get it started, let’s note that the Android application framework is powered by several i18n and l10n libraries/utilities. This means you don’t need to import any external i18n or l10n libraries to enable multi-language support for your Android app. We can now start digging into the details!
The Android I18n & L10n Framework
The internationalization framework is part of the wider Android application framework, in which some – if not all – components rely on internationalization. Put another way, Android already provides a set of libraries within its SDK, such as date-time formatting, number formatting, message formatting, currency, measurement units, timezone, collation rules, plural rules, gender rules, transliteration, Bidi layout support, Emoji support, etc.
Let’s say you’re developing an app focused on European financial markets and need to handle all date-time differences, as well as identify both the currency and numbering system of each region. Ideally, you can refer to SDK classes, which provide full, standardized support. Additionally, Android has the localization framework, responsible for localizing the OS itself, as well as all applications. It also provides mechanisms for locale awareness, resource loading, locale matching, fallback, etc.