Dos and Don’ts of Video Games Localization

Localization has reached another level. It is no longer confined to language translation. Now the developers are providing localization services in video games. Yes, you have heard right. Now, people can enjoy games from different countries in their own language. But this facility comes after the tedious task of localization. The video game localization process is quite complicated and publishers need to plan it accordingly.

Many translation companies and language service provider platforms are working effortlessly to perform this exciting task in order to provide a more engaging user experience. Many crucial steps should be taken into account and many aspects should be eliminated from the process. As a language, genre, planning, translation software, and professional translators are involved in localization strategy. The need of the hour is developers and companies are making these kinds of mistakes.

Following is a brief overview of dos and don’ts in video games localization. The don’ts should be avoided at any cost to make the games more exciting and enjoyable. Let’s take a look!

The Hiring of Professional Workers

The first and foremost thing to do is hire a professional game localization service so that you get the best results. Why localization is considered a complicated process? Why is it not easy to translate? Because localization includes context understanding along with translation to the target language. Let’s discuss a case to get a clear vision. Your specific game has some specific references and cultural elements. For example, cultural elements like ‘shortbreads’ may be appropriate in the US or British scenario.

But the French people might not understand these jokes. Consequently, these jokes can fall into the poor category of translation. Apart from this,  if you are giving thumbs up to someone. Definitely, in most countries, it is considered a good or smiley gesture. In contrast to this, this gesture is parallel to flipping somebody off in the Middle Eastern countries. Likewise, the attitude towards money, sex, drugs, violence, and religion varies from region to region. So, hiring professional and native translators is the only option. Because many companies rely on free software to translate the context or rely only on the translation management systems. If this translated content is not reviewed by native or professional translators, your idea of game localization may get ruined.

Use the Right Tone and Style 

Another important thing to keep in mind is the tone and style of different languages. For example, among the Asian languages, Japanese is way too different from others. It has different styles of tone and politeness levels, different ways of categorizing gender, pronouns, and many different aspects. Above all three multiple writing styles are followed by the Japanese language such as Kanji, Katakana, and Hiragana. In short, Japanese words are not separated in spaces like the English language. So, the wrapping of text should be done manually and in a very strict manner. If it is not done on a manual basis, your text would get collapsed as a result of grammatical mistakes, and the breakdown of words might look weird to viewers.

Plan Ahead

Planning the whole journey is a professional way of doing localization. Because video game localization is a comprehensive process that needs to be planned initially. Every step has to go obstacle-free before you even think of localization. Planning budget, defining the timeline of the localization process, software designing issues, translator, designing, and deadline all are essential steps in this regard. There is no excuse for not doing the planning. This is the step whichever company should not forget. Because, as compared to good localization, bad localization is likely to come in the limelight of critique and negative comments.

Role of Content

In video game translation, content holds the same importance as language localization. Sometimes it happens that games tend to be sent with less than average content quantity-wise. Localizers try to extract the content from unclear sources like screenshots. This lack of conveying the direct content elaboration sometimes mixed up all the segments. Errors are a must when these elements are mixed up, no visuals are available, and when UI elements are embedded between dialogs. So, content must be ready and shared with localizers in order to do game localization. Those who do not go for it, are likely to be subtle about the localization process. So, giving the content in the proper manner can give you fruitful results afterward.

Choice of the Right Genre 

The important thing to do while video game localization is the selection of the right genres. Genre is defined from country to country. Some genres are acceptable in one country and there is a possibility some are not appreciated in another country based on its culture and traditions. For example, developers must avoid the religious genre in video game localization. Because religion is a precious and sacred commodity. What if during localization, some error happens in translating the content, it will definitely hurt the whole localization process. So, it must be avoided and for this choice, the right genre is an important thing to do.

Technical Support

Along with professional translators, technical support is also mandatory in video game localization. Placeholders, character restrictions, scoring, initials, and any other specifications demand tech team work on a single platform and technical experts. Those companies who hire only translators, not the developers and technical experts might hurt their business in the long run. So, not having the technical support is the blunder that developers can make during the localization process.

Ending Note

To sum up the whole realistic and practical steps, it is safe to say that video game localization needs very precise and deep insights of professional translators and software. It is very crucial to entrust the work in the hands of a professional translation company that has expertise and experience so that you can get flawless results. There are many dos and don’ts of video game localization like in the perspective of culture, language, translators, and planning context. It is important to make sure to eliminate all the don’ts from your process in order to get success in this field.


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