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agosto 26, 2020 |

Your Guide to Successful Game Localization 

If your game is registering an increase in downloads or purchases worldwide, and the number of international users is growing, it may be a sign that you’re ready to take it to the next level. Game localization will improve the user experience and boost your sales around the globe. 

It prepares your game for adoption in countries and regions where most gamers don’t speak your language. Game localization also contributes to making the experience enjoyable by placing the game in a cultural context that gamers with a different background can understand and follow without confusion. 

What Game Localization Involves

Game localization isn’t a plain translation of content, but a multifaceted process in which you need to:

  1. Prepare software and hardware for the new market
  2. Adapt the story, dialogues, and characters to make them appealing to an international audience
  3. Create new packaging that reflects the new version of your game 
  4. Translate all legal texts and disclaimers following local laws and regulations
  5. Localize marketing content to deliver compelling messages in the target languages and capture the attention of gamers worldwide

It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s certainly worth the effort. The game market is one of the few that has seen consistent growth in 2020, and revenues are expected to exceed $200 billion worldwide by 2023. 

It’s a dynamic market, and game localization can help you stay relevant and win new market share. To achieve this, you need a professional team of translators and localization experts to recreate the world of your game into a new language. 

The typical gamer demographic is shifting toward an older and more educated public than two decades ago, so your game will likely have to address a sophisticated audience. You can’t afford to get lost in translation or ignore the cultural differences between your audience’s various segments. In this light, it’s in your best interest to work with experienced game translators who understand the industry and have experience supporting game developers. 

Game Translators Know How Gamers Speak

As a general rule, translators are bilingual–fluent in the original and target languages, and ideally live in a place where people speak the target language. Besides these requirements, game translators should also be proficient in the “language of gaming.” This is a metaphor to describe how gamers speak, and it refers to lexical terms that make no sense outside of the industry, with slang, and “buddylects.” 

With game localization, you need to adapt your product to a niche group within a foreign culture. General translators don’t have the insights necessary to deliver a translation that captures this specific audience’s attention and risk falling short of expectations. 

Game translators know how gamers speak, allocate meanings, and project their worlds. They’re aware of the social and language rules followed in communication, and what terms gamers prefer for describing worlds and characters. It’s safe to call game translators Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who have a deep understanding of the target audience and their expectations from a new game. 

High-Quality Translations Facilitate Immersion

As developers create more interactive game experiences and deliver complex narratives, gamers are expected to immerse themselves in the story and engage at deeper levels with characters. To achieve this level of engagement, you need flawless write-ups and well-developed dialogue. 

Game localization plays a fundamental role in game development, and game translators rely on transcreation to deliver the best version of a game. They often rewrite the game to create an engaging product that speaks to the heart of the users.

They’ll build the story and place it in a relevant cultural background to make sense to international audiences. Sometimes, reworking dialogues is necessary to sound natural from a gamer’s perspective. Game translators can even help develop the characters in ways that overcome restrictions and are still appropriate for the target culture.   

These adjustments make it seamless for the gamers to get involved in the story and play in a cultural and linguistic context that they’re familiar with. It’s the ultimate user experience that any gamer dreams of. It makes your users happy and secures consistent market share in the target country. 

To deliver top game localization, linguists must have deep knowledge of the pop culture in the countries they localize the game from and for. Plus, they should be passionate about this industry and, in most cases, enjoy an amazing game just as much as your target audience does. 

Professional Translators Follow Correct Methodology

Specialized game translators use the right tools and processes to streamline the game localization process. Thanks to their background in working with developers, they pretty much know what to expect and how the final work should be delivered in terms of technical requirements. 

An advantage of working with niche translators is that they know when there isn’t enough context to provide accurate translations. Therefore, they also ask the right questions to get all the missing pieces of the puzzle.  

Moreover, experienced game translators have the right research sources and know where to get brand-new information about the target audience. They also implement standard proofreading processes to deliver translations without spelling errors, typos, homophones that can generate confusion or other mistakes that distract gamers and interrupt the experience. 

No Translation is Better than Poor Localization

Video games can support language learning to a certain extent, so it’s most likely that many gamers can quickly gain the English skills required for a basic understanding of the story. Game localization levels up the playing field to improve user experience and help the gamer immerse in the fantasy. 

However, if you feel tempted to take shortcuts and localize using machine translation to speed up processes, it’s wiser to stick to the game’s English version. If users don’t understand the background story due to a lack of cultural context or struggle to understand some words, they’ll look for information on forums to figure things out. But no dictionary can explain translation errors, which means that a poor translation is more likely to distract and ruin the game experience than a non-translated English version of the game.