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Monika Bujanowicz
December 23, 2022
14 min read

Quit Playing and Be the Boss in Games Translation


game localization workplace


Are you feeling bored? Want a break from your busy, chaotic life? How about spending some time playing your favorite game? Sounds exciting, right?


Well, who doesn’t like playing games, no matter what age they are? Gaming is everyone’s favorite. The type of gaming may differ, but some people prefer console or pc gaming. Can you guess how enormous the global gaming community is? It is so huge that in 2020 alone, around 2.7 billion people spent 159.3 billion dollars on video games. 2022 was a bit worse but it's temporary. Look around you, and you will find kids, teenagers, and grownups hooked to their mobiles, Xbox, PSX, Nintendo, or pc, playing different games.


If you are familiar with games like Mortal Combat, or Street Fighter, you must have played them or seen your friends and siblings playing them. Will you continue playing a game that is not in your native language or even in English? You might try to explore it or succeed by making some random guesses, but you won’t enjoy the experience altogether. Throughout the game, you will feel like something is missing. Google the globally successful games, and you will find some specific names like Pokémon Go and many other games. Yes, League of Legends, too. And FIFA, The Witcher, Medal of Honor, Cyberpunk 2077, and all the other names, big or small. Common denominator? Great localization.


And then the Internet changed everything. Downloads are becoming a thing of the past, everything is more and more online. It's not the the age of empires anymore. It's not even the Pac-Man era. RPG, arcade, gore, or anything else, the gameplay has changed totally. Steam rules the world. Esports have actually become real sports. Amazing times we live in!



duke rpg game



Video game content has come a long way and now, more than ever, cultural references are important. Duke Nukem can't say "Come get some!" anymore. That's where professional translation services come into play. And as the requirements for the translation quality of any app in the world have skyrocketed, which is great, the best practice globally, be it Europe, America, or any other corner of the world, is to hire a translation team experienced in the process of localization for the gaming industry, buckle up and off you go!


Do you ever wonder how a videogame makes it to global success? Or can you guess the number of languages spoken worldwide? All around the globe, there are 6,500 or 7,000 languages that people speak. So, let’s compare the success of a game. The game developer must have considered translating the video game into 6,500 languages. It may seem like an odd thing to do, but this is how you pave your way to success.


Let us put it this way, how many languages can you speak? Many people can only speak English or their native language. Be it an e-commerce website, watching a movie, or a videogame, people will choose the ones in their language or in a language they can easily understand.  


If you are a game developer and you have successfully created a videogame after tireless nights and efforts, congratulations! Pretty sure the journey was not easy as it appears to a person who views it superficially. If you want the world to explore your video game and help you generate handsome revenue, you will have to hand it over to a game localization company. The thought of giving your masterpiece and your money to someone for pitching it into the global market might seem perilous, but it is essential. 





Related content: 3 Game Localization Errors to Eliminate and Win Globally





Why Opt for Game Localization?



gamers playing translated ea sports fifa series on playstation


If you wish to develop a video game that will make gamers go nuts and want it to become popular globally, you must ensure its software localization before starting to work on the project. Certain rules for internationalization are mandatory to consider when the product is in the initial stages of the development process. Doing so will make your video game localization process faster, allowing the fastest product launch into the local markets. Focusing on your videogame software’s internationalization reduces the chances of redoing things once your product goes for translation.


We have been serving our clientele for more than 15 years to help them understand the significance of localization and its impact on their success.


happy gamers playing a game in their language on the console


The word internalization refers to the process of making your product localization obstacles free. The products that we see today have their descriptions written in multiple languages making them more relevant to the local markets.


Localization does not require text-only translations, but it applies to many aspects. A developer can only achieve quality outcomes in video game localization if they know the global market’s quality benchmark. If your first launch targets the international market, how about starting with some research? Search for some game localization examples and analyze them as a user, not as a developer.


Viewing these examples as a user or a player, you will have a clear picture of what you want to have in your product and which things you want to avoid. Assessing a localized version of a videogame gives you a different perspective about the things concerning your product, knowing that it can cause trouble. Many people uninstall a video game if it has a slow operating pace or a language with no subtitles or a native language.





Related content: What is Localization (and What It Isn't)





How Can You Create a Localized Game?


game developer creating a localized video game


Knowing the significance of localization in your product’s early stages, how will you gauge if the product is localization ready or not? The following aspects can help you create a checklist. 


Choose the Translation Languages


tongue rolling stones style


Whether you have developed the videogame software yourself or have hired a company for it, get localization and marketing analysts’ input to pick the translation language. They can give you an insight into the target region and the availability of an expert in a particular language.


Many complaints like truncations, text resizing functions, poor grammar, and other issues related to localization are recurrent in the gaming community. While preparing your game software for localization, ensure that it caters to all these complains and has fixes available for them.  


Prepare the Documents


games translation project documentation list


During the development phase of a video game, many developers decide about the language they would prefer for translation even when there is no text available. At this point, you can start some of the preparatory processes that can help you streamline your product localization. Start with assembling onboarding guides, templates and style guides, checklists, and other key documents. You can also choose to create your glossary list of different terms.


If you feel like it is too early to start drafting the general outlines, it is not. You can start with setting a general outline for the linguistic testing purposes of localization. A detailed plan for the testing phase helps you make the most of it and give the perfect finishing touch to your videogame software.




football game multilingual team


Collaborating with game developers or localization teams is essential to understand any potential linguistic issues that can hinder the process. You can resolve and prevent issues by following these simple steps.


  • Preparing the strings in the resource file 
  • Figuring out fonts blending perfectly with your game design  
  • Not embedding text in the graphics 
  • Confirming the right coding choice  
  • Having space for text scaling is required in some languages  
  • Leaving room for changes like grammar, number formatting, currency, etc., in the strings.
  • Checking everything else, for example, audio files


Choose Partial Automation for Game Translation


android automating game localization process


Automation of the translation process comes in handy when you are short of time, or your product launch deadline is near. With continuous localization technology, you can automate in-text translation without affecting the quality. Using open-source solutions can offer some high-tech options to eliminate the manual management of some localization processes. These open-source solutions can extract new content, obtain the translated text, and integrate it back into the translated product.


Properly managed automation, including machine translation, shouldn't be scary. It should be your ally.


If you're still not convinced, just have proper quality assurance processes in place. That should do the trick.


Separate the Translation Text from the Code


localizable text and code


For instance, if your software is in two languages such as English and the programming language. The English version projects all the information on a user’s screen, including buttons, error messages, options, and descriptions. The programming language version of your software has all the codes and essentials that developers will use to communicate with the device. Before putting the software through separation, make sure that you have separate translation and coding files.  


Using a separate resource file for this purpose makes the process smooth. You can add all the text, error messages, options, and any other necessary information to one resource file. Are you thinking about the format of your resource files? Do not worry. We have got your back. File formats like JSON, XML, or RESX are the most famous resource files. Once the translation process is over, you will have a separate translated resource file for each language. 


Leave Room for Translation


an open road with free space ahead


If it is your first product going through localization, then know that it may contract or expand your text when you translate from one language to another. The reason expansion or contraction of your text depends on how wordier the target language is. For instance, if you are translated from Arabic to English, it will expand the sentences. Expert localization service providers recommend leaving 50% of the space for text expansion.


Linguists often borrow synonyms from other languages that are short or less wordy. It might appear effective, but it appears unnatural when you glance at the translated version, and the flow becomes inconsistent. They will opt for a short synonym if there is not enough room for them to translate the text in the document. Therefore, leave enough room for the linguists to get the text right and into high-quality translation.  


Prepare Symbols and Graphics


common symbols and graphics used in games translation


Often we see that video games have symbols instead of text for buttons or other options. We see this in mobile game applications where there is not enough room for text display. The graphic user interface also needs localization.


If you intend to sell your game or application in the international market, ensure that you do not use symbols that can be offensive. Do you know that the well-known thumbs-up symbol is offensive in countries like Sardinia and some parts of West Africa? It is better to use symbols instead of texts for globalization purposes. 


Use Universal Coding


game developer working on unicode for localization


We know that the length of the text is variable in different languages. It is vital to consider the fact that there are certain special characters in different languages when your software is in its developmental stages. For example, there are special characters in German, Spanish, and Polish, some double-byte characters in Japanese, Chinese, or Korean, or right-to-left languages like Urdu, Arabic, and Hebrew. If you intend to use these languages for translation and you do not have universal coding that can support such characters, it will affect the overall performance of your game. Ensure that you are using the data type that can handle the Unicode. UTF-8, baby!


Work on the Key Terms of Your Game


term in a localization glossary


One of the toughest jobs that localization linguists have is translating key terms. When you are preparing your software for localization, ask your localization service provider for terminology creation. The service providers may also ask you to suggest terms or a suggested translation. If you know the terms or translations, you can facilitate the service providers and, for the best result, connect the localization service providers with your local distributors and testers to help them out.  


Prepare the Context


games translation environment ready for work


As a software developer or someone involved in the technical side of things, you are well aware of the technical details, but your LSP is not. LSP or localization service providers have expert linguists that might not know about a software function. It is your job to provide them with the context for better understanding. Having documents that can provide them with as much context as possible will make the translation quick and easy.


You can also prepare descriptions of single-worded terms to save time after the translation’s implementation. You can use the term select as a button or anywhere in your application software. Providing a targeted location of a term in translation text helps the translators pick the best translation according to the text and its flow. If you want to boost your product’s success in the local market, answer all the queries your translators have or give them as much context and reference documents for a perfectly localized software.





Related content: 6 Tips on Preparing Your Content for Translation




Game Over? No! It's On!


pacman game over notification


The game industry has grown a lot since the early 2000s. People worldwide enjoy their favorite games, and the reason they enjoy playing them is that they are in a language that is easy to understand. A videogame becomes a global success when it has a local touch added to it. Videogame localization involves rendering a game’s written and spoken language into another language. Video game translation plays a substantial role in preparing your game for a foreign market. Doing so will require a team of professional translators familiar with the target region’s language and possessing expertise in videogame translation.





Creating your game software while sticking to internationalization standards reduces many hurdles when the product is in its translation phase. All with one thing in mind: making the gamers happy. No matter where they are: China, Japan, Germany, France, Korea, Poland, or United States. User experience is everything in the gaming market. You must make sure your target audience in your target markets loves your game content.


This process begins even before game development starts. Getting the translation services provider you can rely on in various aspects of the process, including your non-standard needs like for example fast turnaround time for the transcreation of your gaming app, is critical. It can't be just any translation team or a generic machine translation service. It must be THE team with all the magic potions like style guides, knowledge of the gaming industry, original language, target native tongue, and all that mana that you need to succeed in this demanding market.


Now you have all the items in your equipment. Go and grow!



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