In order to enlarge its target user, Game product need to be localized, to be accommodated to the target market. Many translators and editors find it is a little difficult to deal with game-related files. Following are some tips for game localization.
Use English as source language
If the game content need to be translated into several target languages, it is better to use English as source language; because most translators can accept English source file. If the source file is not in English, you have to convert it into English, and then translate into desired target languages.
Revise text before sending to translate
English text is the source text for all the other translations, thus you have to revise the English version thoroughly first. The revise includes spelling, grammar, terminology consistency, proper notes, misunderstanding and so on.
Use consistent role name/scene name/object name/interface name
It is very important to ensure term consistency in dialogue, on screen text and manual. This can make certain the uniformity, so that there is no misunderstanding in translation.
Translators may have not seen the game before
Translators probably haven’t played the game to be translated before. Thus, explanation of specific dialogue may help a lot. Or, if possible, provide a beta version of that game, so that the translators can understand the dialogue more precisely.
As what I mentioned above, beta version of the game can help translator understand the correct context. But, if a beta version is unavailable, it will be useful to provide the image or screenshot or description of the object/person in that game.
Formal or informal?
In some languages, formal expression and informal expression has huge differences. The desired target style is not always obvious through source files. Thus, it will be better to make it clear to translators or localization companies.
In the process of localization
Create a glossary of terms
If the screen text, players’ manual, dialogues and packages are not sent to the translator at the same time, or if there are more than one translator in a specific translation project, it is a good idea to create a glossary of terms. In this way, translator and editors involved can use a same translation to the same term, to ensure consistency.
Add some exclamation in your translation
In order to make the roles in the game as vivid as you can, add some exclamation to each role is always a good idea – even if you don’t think that is necessary at first.