Nihongo is an English-to-Japanese dictionary app for the Apple iPhone.
People who try to buy it in the App Store, however, get greeted with this rather unusual warning:
You must be at least 17 years old to download this application
- Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence
- Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes
- Frequent/Intense Profanity or Crude Humor
- Infrequent/Mild Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References
- Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence
- Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity
When Nihongo was first submitted for review, I chose the most benign rating (4+), thinking that a simple dictionary would not be offensive.
That submission was rejected, because Apple’s reviewers cited the four letter words they were able to lookup.
So I re-submitted, this time ticking off “Infrequent/Mild” in most categories, which pushed the rating up to 12+.
That submission was also rejected because “it is not appropriately rated“.
So I contacted the reviewers by email (unfortunately, there is no telephone access) and asked:
I’m not sure how to respond to your comment that the rating is inappropriate.
“Nihongo” is a Japanese dictionary.
As such, it contains some profanity, sexual content, etc. but the bulk of the content is not in that category.
That is why I rated it “Infrequent/Mild” for those content types.
Are you suggesting I need to go back and use “Frequent/Intense”?
It seems incorrect.
How are other dictionary apps rated?
Apple did not send me a reply.
So in my final submission (remember that neither the content nor the functionality of the app had changed in all this time), I changed some rating categories to “Frequent/Intense”.
That got Nihongo accepted, a mere six weeks after the initial submission.
Today I found out my experience with Nihongo was not unique, as NinjaWords had the same problems in review, and also had to accept a 17+ rating before their app could be sold in the App Store.