What Is Game Localization? A Complete Guide

Let’s talk about what is game localization? And how does it affect designers?

In the years since the video game localization process has advanced immeasurably.

Before the game is being sold worldwide, it must first be properly localized. And interact with players all over the world. Localization of your game will improve the user experience and increase sales.

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Hundreds of people will be active in the development of the game, depending on its complexity. Including the game production team, LQA specialists, translators, UX and sound experts, etc.

In this article, we’ll learn the importance, process, and challenges of game localization. Also, we’ll look at some examples if you intend to dive right in?

What Is Game Localization? A Detailed Guide

Game localization is the process of translating a video game for a foreign market. The localization method encompasses the processes of globalization and linguistic quality assurance.

The process of localization entails much more than simply translating a game’s text. Localizing video games requires language-related tasks, such as translating in-game dialogue.

What Is Game Localization

As well as technical tasks, such as extracting strings from the code. And submitting them to a localization management system. Below are the most important aspects of the localization process.

Translation:
The method of translating a game’s text and properties into another language. A single person or a group of people may do it.

Editing:
It entails correcting stylistic and textual mistakes. As well as ensuring that the language is accurate and consistent.

Proofreading:
The process of fixing spelling mistakes and other typos. Instead of working inside the game, this move often includes working with the text alone.

Integration:
Adding translated materials into the game. Updating the code to bring the translated materials to the game. And modifying and adjusting the UI/UX to ensure it displays correctly.

Regional adaptation:
There are no video games with blood, skulls, or religious symbolism permitted in China. In Korea, it is frown upon to play with religious themes. You must cut all alcohol and drugs from your game in Australia.

Linguistic quality assurance (LQA):
The process of evaluating the translation’s accuracy and adding it into the game.

Remember to include marketing materials in your budget. This is another aspect of localization. LQA needs addressing in each market where the game is being published.

What Is Game Localization? Technical Process

The process of localization will require a lot more than just translating the text in your game.

Proper preparation of your game will set your team up for success from the outset. When we talk about localization, we’ll go through the following steps:

Technical Process Of Game Localization

1. Create a localization strategy

A thorough preparation process at the start of your video game localization project will help you finish on schedule and budget.

The first step in this process is to determine exactly what needs to translate? What resources are important for the project? Who will the localization target audience be? And what game features have to translate and adapt?

2. Run A LocKit

LocKit is a set of localization tools. It will act as a detailed guide to your game and related materials for your translators. As well as a linguistic asset to assist translators.

This is where you’ll put your in-game data. Such as idiosyncrasies in your game’s setting, objects, or specific plot elements. It will determine the terms used in the translation.

3. Localize your code

Before you know what you’re looking for, you’ll need a way to delete those strings from your code. And drive them into a Translation Management System.

If you didn’t make your game in a translation-friendly format, it won’t get translated.

4. Include a translation management system in the process

Then, to get those strings into the web to translate. You’ll need to combine your repository with a Translation Management System.

Custom-built connectors for your particular server are the most straightforward choice. It will ingest content into a TMS.

5. The actual translation

After you’ve extracted your strings and saved them in a separate resource. Now you can give them to translators. They then can start working on the translation right away.

This is where we’ll start to see the advantages of using a TMS. Rather than attempting to combine all your resource files, you can let the TMS do it for you.

This is when translators can use your lockit. As well as any other context to translate each string.

6. Localization by region

Your game will need to adjust unique elements based on the targeted area, also to the translation.

Some games can need to rework parts of visual elements to adapt to a culture, including cut-scenes.

Localization By Region

7. Assurance of quality

It is hard to deny the significance of quality assurance in the translation process. In most cases, one translator will write the translation. And an independent translator will edit it for grammatical, spelling, and linguistic errors.

This is one of the most important approaches for ensuring high-quality translations.

8. Compatibility with your game

After the text is already translated, it was also revised, modified, and authorized. The following step is to reassemble it into the game’s localised version.

The method can also include updating and changing the UI/UX to ensure everything is in order. To integrate the translated content into the game, it may be appropriate to make changes to the code.

You Should Localize For These Reasons

Here are the reasons why you should localize your game:

1. You’d like to improve your sales.

2. You want to increase the number of downloads.

3. You want to keep your place in a competitive market.

4. Maintaining control of the game.

5. You want your players to think they are significant.

6. Protect you from public ridicule.

7. Boost your App Store rating.

Here are some of the game elements to remember when planning localization strategy:

Instructions

– Levels

– Features

– Website

– App

– Service Desk

Localization aims to give your product a look and feel that is unique to the target market. Both linguistic and cultural factors come into play.

Since online gamers worldwide log in, having a localized game means a broader audience, more players, and more sales.

Top 10 Gaming Markets:

Here are the top ten gaming markets in terms of revenue to assist you in strategizing.

– China

– United States of America

– Japan

– South Korea

– Germany

– The United Kingdom

– Canada

– France

– Spain

– Italy

Top 10 Gaming Markets

It might be tempting to leap right to Mandarin Chinese because it has such a big game market. But it isn’t that easy.

You should think about the player’s lifetime value in each region. As well as other factors like ease of doing business.

Importance and Scope of Game Localization:

Many gamers will only download a game if it is available in their native language. More purchases and increased sales are big pros of game localization.

The global video game size is forecast to grow by more than $200 billion in the next few years. The market is becoming more dynamic.

Many providers keep in touch with their customers. And adjust their games to meet their needs better will gain market share in the long run.

The decision to localize a game is generally guided by economic concerns. Besides the game development company’s growth goals. It’s about reaching out to new expanding purchases through the potential of the franchise.

Pac-Man, for example, was originally titled “Puck-Man.” Since the main character looks like a hockey puck. Japanese speakers pronounced it as “pakuhuman.” To prevent mispronunciations in the U.S., they changed the name. And as you might be aware, it became an instant success.
Localization of today’s games requires more than interpreting and adapting the game’s name.

Consider the game’s corresponding documentation, such as guides and game manuals. The different controls, each character’s backstory, how their stories relate, and so on.

Examples of Game Localization:

You may have read that censorship is a vital aspect of video game localization. And it requires deleting or altering material to make it more culturally acceptable for the target audience.

Mortal Kombat 11, a rather violent game known for its gore and so-called “fatalities.” They were well-liked in the West but not so much in Japan:

Furthermore, due to its extreme violence, MK11 has been outright banned in Japan. The female costumes in MK11’s Western release faced a lot of criticism from fans.

Examples of Game Localization

The female costumes improved in many ways. According to MK11’s creative director, the female characters’ costumes are now better suited.

Red Dead Redemption 2 sees similar changes. The game’s Japanese version eliminates all potentially disturbing content.

Game localization will make changes to the game to make it more age-appropriate. While still taking into account the target market’s language and culture.

Challenges In Game Localization

If you’re not patient, various game localization difficulties can set you back.

1. Inefficient procedures and a lack of understanding;

The most common obstacle is idle time spent waiting. Because developers must respond to a large number of questions. Other issues, such as a translator failing to meet a deadline, can also arise.

Tight deadlines, complicated files, and a lack of context for translation are all common problems.

2. There is a time limitation for the LQA process;

The LQA process is the key bottleneck in game localization. LQA is often performed at the end of the procedure when the pressure on the release is highest.

LQA is a critical step in which we see the game from the eyes of our future players. It’s risky to cut corners at that phase.

3. Rate agreements and localization as an inferior race;

The difficulty in negotiating game localization prices is often pushed down and down. Often game development teams believe that all of their creative thinking and development is complete. Enticing linguists for their surely outstanding work is a challenging task.

If they are to translate a gaming experience into their native tongue. Linguists must be competent writers.

After completing the translation, we advise that you perform linguistic quality assurance (LQA). For successful localization, it’s a necessary part of the process. During testing, cosmetic and contextual errors maybe find, which distract from the translation.

Challenges In Game Localization

Localization is an afterthought in the game development cycle. It’s not always clear what goes into localizing a game. Unless a client-side team has a strong in-house localization team.

The localization stage comes at the end of the game development period. Thus, any time lost in the development process is also brought out of loc schedule.

Conclusion:

Localization is the process of adapting a product or material for a specific place or market.

In video games, it means that your game’s features are all localized into the languages spoken by your fans globally.

Game localization is a delicate and time-consuming process. It is a collaborative effort. It can cause the organization to miss launch dates if it is not done properly. And also lose potential revenue as a result of being late to market.

It’s not an overnight process, but it’s well worth the time and effort. One of the few industries likely to grow steadily in 2020 is gaming.

It’s a fast-paced industry. And game localization will help you stay on top of things and gain new customers. To do so, you’ll need a professional team of translators and localization specialists. They’ll recreate your game’s environment in a different language.

What makes TheLanguageDoctors so good at localizing video games?

Our experts explored how to approach game localization in the best possible way. Localization begins with translating game text, but it needs more than just that.

The Language Doctors can help you customize your video game to your preferences. We do Translation, Editing, and Proofreading only by gamers and experts.

Do you want to learn more about our localization services? Just drop us a line!

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