Clearly Local | Translation and Localization Services

Finding the Right Words Helped a Dating App Find Greater Success


If you’ve used dating apps or seen those viral screenshots of them, you know how messages can determine whether sparks fly or just fizzle out. In the background, an equally important relationship is also being built on words: the relationship between the app and the user. Last year, a China-based dating app partnered with Clearly Local, seeking a linguistic makeover that could romance even the hardest-to-get users and take monetization to the next level. Read on to see how we helped heat things up.

The Quest to Ignite Passion

This dating app that worked with us is built on the freemium model like many other apps. Users don’t need to pay anything to download the app and use basic features, such as a certain number of daily swipes and messages. For extra features, such as ensuring a message goes to the top of a recipient’s message list, users can pay a small fee. Quite simple and straightforward right? While this model helps apps to quickly grow their user base, the ultimate goal is to turn those users to become paying users, Monetization.

Naturally, converting the non-paying users into paying users depends on how the paid features are presented. Our client needed their app’s feature descriptions to showcase the benefits of each feature in catchy language that would pique user curiosity and encourage purchases, Engagement.

Aware that the dating world can be daunting, the client also hoped the entire English interface would help users relax and enjoy the process. To this end, all the content we revamped would need to facilitate a fun and user-friendly Experience .              

A Deeper Approach for Deeper Connections

Traditionally, Chinese apps have relied on technologies like translation management systems (TMSs) and computer-aided translation (CAT) to localize content into English. Those will ensure streamlined automated process for sim-ship release into different languages, and will play an even more important role when it comes to quality and consistency. But good quality from direct translation wasn’t thorough enough for this dating app. Content that sounds charming in a Chinese dating context can sound awkward, rude, or simply uncool when directly translated to English. Instead, this situation called for transcreation services – brand-new English interface strings that would inspire English-speaking users in the same way the Chinese strings inspired Chinese users. 

Clearly Local assigned its English Language Manager to this endeavor to collaborate with the app’s marketing and globalization teams on improving the interface. Clearly Local Language Manager isn’t only a simple English native linguists but gathers expertise in applied copywriting skills and native level of Chinese both from language and cultural side. This combination of hard and soft skills together allows the Language Manager to transcreate authentic and engaging copies, directly from the Chinese, that has proven in the past effective to increase Engagement and UX. 

Magic Setup: Transcreation Testing

A collaborative space was setup to connect directly our Language Manager with the client stakeholders offering the most productive work environment and removed all layers of unnecessary overhead. Going further, the content was prepared offering a unique environment rarely seen:

Situational Context – briefs and descriptions for a module or a feature were provided for the Language Manager to have a 360 degree understanding of what needed to be transcreated.

Visual Context – Linguists are provided with screenshots for each of the strings and would transcreate directly in-context, no more translation done in Excel without knowing what string refers to.

Communicative Context – All strings were provided with extensive background information so that our linguists could grasp the features, concerns and goals involved in each module.

With the combination of those 3 context types and the service delivered, our client together with Clearly Local have developed together a new service model, Transcreation Testing, e.g. how to find the best words to fix translation limits.

Going even further, and in order to offer a delighting experience to our customer we would offer different version variations which would be discussed with the customer openly and pick the right ones.

Happily Ever After

Following the extensive revamp, the app became much more efficient at engaging and monetizing users. Data shows when comparing 2019 Q3 to 2020 Q3, there was actually a slight decrease in users, but the app’s revenue more than doubled, jumping from around $48 million to $107 million. In the USA, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, the app rose dramatically in the rankings. In Indonesia in particular, the app entered the top 10 in its category for the first time.

“Clearly Local has been incredibly helpful.
From communication to language quality, everything has been perfect.”

Wondering whether you could also benefit from Transcreation and Transcreation Testing? This approach isn’t just for dating apps. Authentic, natural, and engaging language is a valuable asset to apps of all kinds. Reach out to us at to find out how our fresh approach to localization can set your app apart from the competition.


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