Game Localization & Best Practices For It

The world’s most thriving industry is the video game sector. In the upcoming several years, the video game business is predicted to grow by $200 billion. Additionally, the video game market is a particularly dynamic one. After creating the game, you want to launch it in several markets. We are all aware that different regions speak various languages. If your game is available in their language, people will download it, but if the characters and plot don’t fit their culture, they won’t.

Additionally, it will be useless for you to build and translate the game into the target language. What is the answer to this issue? Localization of video games is the answer to these issues.

What is game localization?

The goal of game localization is to adapt a game’s experience to the preferences and viewpoints of the intended audience in a region different from the game’s original one. Beyond linguistic and cultural adjustments, localizing a video game also entails technical choices, such as optimizing the game’s interface to allow content changes and satisfy player preferences.

Selecting the best game localization services to do the job is crucial. It is highly beneficial if the professional team comprises gamers with expertise in various gaming genres.

For instance, translators for car-racing video games are experts in every facet of the sport, including thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations, car-racing terms, engine components, pit lane and flag laws, tire compounds, driving techniques, and more.

Best practices for game localization

We’d be lying if we said that game localization is simple. In actuality, going it alone is like climbing a mountain. However, you can avoid the hassle by collaborating with a game localization service provider who is familiar with cutting-edge game localization tools, comprehends your vision and the cultural and linguistic requirements of your target market, and thoroughly understands the best practices for game localization.

Before beginning your game localization project, you should familiarize yourself with the following recommended practices for game localization:

  • Make Your Code Accessible: It’s essential to assist in extracting and importing text and language elements into your coding by avoiding hard code when writing the source code for your game.
  • Avoid Inserting Text Over Pictures: If you include text over the images in your game, your localization team or provider will have difficulty translating it. By keeping this in mind, the localization phase will go a lot quicker, and every step will go without a hitch.
  • Examine the Source Code: The first step in determining the beginning point of a localization project is to examine the source code. It clearly outlines your location and final goal. The code may have some challenges you must be aware of to overcome.
  • Provide Context for the Localization Team: As a game producer, it is imperative to keep your localization team updated on every single element of your game so they can thoroughly grasp the game, including its plot and characters. Additionally, reputable translation and localization service providers typically have rigorous confidentiality agreements to safeguard the details of your project. Although you might be cautious about providing your provider with your game data, every localization team member must have a thorough understanding of your project to guarantee accurate outcomes.
  • Remember the Cultural Aspect: Understanding the target market’s culture is the first step in any endeavor. When culture is integrated into the game, localization is successful. For instance, the translation team should be able to select the appropriate dialect for your audience. Additionally, they must convey the nuances and complexities of the culture through both languages, including slang and profanity, and the visual aspects, like icons and symbols.
  • Utilize the Proper Translation Management Tools: Using the appropriate translation management tools can make or break your project. Therefore, purchasing high-quality translation software is an essential step.
  • Test After Localizing: A localization project cannot be completed effectively without testing on the intended devices after localization. Even if the game is flawlessly localized, it will be useless if it doesn’t run on the players’ devices. Every version of the game should undergo game localization testing if it is about to be published in several languages.

Examples of successful video game localization

The video games below illustrate successful localization offered by ensuring all relevant scenes and descriptions were accurately translated. Each of them made sure the localization method was as thorough as was required, given the volume of translation needed.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

This video game‘s localization is so outstanding that, in some areas, it might pass for a locally developed game rather than one that was adapted. For a more accurate localization outcome, the localization producer who had been engaged to assist in creating high-quality translated content for multiple markets temporarily relocated to the nation where the game was being created. The Witcher demands additional translation because it’s an RPG featuring voiceovers. Each translated version has received praise for the quality of its voice acting.

Uncharted Series

Because localization was anticipated early on rather than being added after the English version was finished, this series is regarded as a model for video game localization. Despite minor translation errors in the series’ early releases, localization has improved with each successive release. It is currently regarded as having top-notch translations and voiceovers for a more authentic gaming experience.

Ratchet and Clank Series

Ratchet and Clank is considered one of the best-localized video games in many markets. Thanks to the translation quality, it was competitive enough to win over fans worldwide. Translating the numerous English terms and phrases into localized versions protected their original meaning and made them more relatable to the target markets. Even though it was created in California, two years after the first release of the video game, it was adapted as a Japanese manga because players perceived the translated versions as authentic.

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Compared to most other video games released in 2017, this one needed less translation. The game’s spoken dialogue only appears during the cutscenes. Therefore, it requires less translation because the main character has no lines to utter. With less translation content, the localization procedure was more straightforward, decreasing the likelihood that the gaming experience would be interfered with. The translated interpretations are still highly comparable to the original text, even though some think translated versions of this game are less likable than the original.

Final thought

You may successfully localize your video game for any market by taking inspiration from any of these games, whether having a more extensive localization approach or designing a game that requires little translation.

You are now armed with the greatest weapon: “Knowledge.” With confidence, tackle any game localization strategy, knowing that your skills will guide you to internationalization. And think about having a seasoned language service provider by your side; this will hasten the process of obtaining knowledgeable, dependable game localization services.

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