What is Game Localization: A Complete Guide
The game industry is the most flourishing industry in the world. It is expected that the game industry will flourish by $200 billion in the next few years. Moreover, the industry of the game market is very dynamic. You have developed the game and now you want to release them in different markets. We all know that different languages are spoken in different regions. People will download your game if it is in their language but if the characters and theme of the game are not according to their culture, your game will fire back. Moreover, all your effort in developing and translating the game in the native language will go in vain. What is the solution to this problem? Game localization is the solution to these problems.
What is Game Localization
Video game localization is the process of altering your game and app according to linguistic, cultural, and regional intricacies so that your game is easily sold in a foreign region. Therefore, translation of the game is important but this translation should include localization. With the localization of the game, the gamer will feel that the game is designed for them. The important things that are included in video game localization are:
- Altering idioms in the game according to the cultural and regional intricacies.
- Changing slangs in the game according to regional equivalents.
- Altering the format, date, and time as per the local target market.
- Removing and changing the unwanted plotlines.
- Including voiceovers and dubbing by new actors.
- Redesigning of the scenes and new characters.
- Altering the audio and soundtracks and music according to the culture.
- Abiding the content and censorship rules such as removing the blood and violence.
- Game menu and user interface edit to accommodate language contraction and expansion during the translation process.
The History of Game Localization
At present, the game localization market is bigger than Hollywood. However, in the past, the case was different. The history of the localizing game started with the popularity of Japanese-made games for English-speaking markets in the late 1970s and early 1980. At that time, the games were translated by the developers themselves who were fluent in English.
One of the bad translations of the world is Villain in Zero Wing gloating meaning all your base belongs to us became a meme of gamers for a long time. Thus the text in games plus the physical packaging with the simple translation becomes the objective of the game developers.
Developers took ten years to realize that they can increase their sales by making games native to foreign markets despite the fact where they are developed and who are the players. Initially, they took steps towards simple translation but when they see more financial benefits from localization, they opt for it. Nowadays we often hear about culturalization.
It is a part of localization. It is so effective that people don’t feel that they are playing a localized version. The app and game resonate with the cultural and regional intricacies. Therefore, it is the responsibility of professional companies to provide robust localization solutions.
Technical Process of Game Localization
The process of game localization includes more than translation the text of the game. The proper development of your game will make the localization process easy.
Developing the Localization Strategy
A good localization strategy at the start of the development of the game will help you to release your game well on time and within budget. The initial step is to understand what you have to translate. What resources are require for the localization of the project? What is your target audience?. Other aspects of the game do you have to translate and localize?
Use a LocKit
What is a locKit? It includes a set of localization tools. LocKit provides a detailed guide to the translators regarding the game industry terminologies. Moreover, it also provides linguistic assistance to translators. You can include all the data of your game in lockit like technicalities of your game’s settings and different plot elements. It will allow the translators to use appropriate localized terms in the translation.
Remove Strings from the Code
In the video game localization process, you have to delete strings from the code and include them in the translation management system. If you don’t include your game in a translation-friendly format then you will face great difficulty in translating your game.
Use of Translation Management System
After removing the strings from the code, you have to integrate your source with a translation management system. For this purpose, you have to use custom-built connectors so that content is transfer easily to TMS.
After extracting your strings and preserving them in a separate file, you have to give that file to a translator. The translator then will start their work. Here the translation management system will give you great leverage by accommodating all your source files. Thus, the translators can use lockit to translate the context of each string.
In this part, your game has to adjust different elements according to the target market in the Translation Process. Some parts of the game can be removed or in some parts, you have to rework to make the game according to the culture of the target audience.
You cannot ignore the purpose of quality assurance in the translation. In some cases, the translator will write the translation and the other translator will edit it for linguistic, spelling, and grammatical errors. In this way, you can assure high-quality translation.
Re-assembling the Content in the Game
After the translation of the content, you have to revise and modify it. The last important step is to reassemble the content in the localized version of the game. In this step, you also have to alter and update the user interface to integrate everything in the game. For the proper integration of the content in the game, you have to make changes to the codes.
Why Video Game Localization is Important
The consumer market of video game localization is increasing globally year after year. However, barriers among the global localization are taken care of. The major impact of this is that your studio develops a game and when you decide not to localize your game then it means you are missing the major part of the potential market. Let’s see why video game localization is important.
The main objective of developing an app and game is to present it in front of potential users from all around the globe. This is possible only if you go for game localization. It will reap more sales and revenues. The important thing to note is that only 27 % of the game players are English-speaking. The potential gamers are from different language segments.
- FIGS (French, Italian, German, Spanish)
By knowing the potential gaming markets and languages, you can easily decide which markets and languages to go for.
Make Your Reputation in Different Markets
Localize your game for the target market in such a way that only sales of your game are increased but people also develop an appreciation for your brand. Contrary to this, if you ignore the important segments of the market then your reputation in the digital world will deteriorate.
The more the people are connected to your games the more you earn profit. If more consumers are exposed to your games but don’t find playing your game comfortable then they will not download your game again. The best way is to take a review of the game that you have released on PC to check how many people are in demand for localization in your preferred language.
Saves You from Embarrassment
Many global companies have made blunders in-game translation. This has caused a loss in money and reputation. Some bad translations in the video gaming industry have achieved unusual status. Therefore, many gaming companies hire professional translation companies that provide you with robust gaming translation services.
Localization Best Solutions
Video game localization is not about taking strings and translating them. For a pleasant user experience and to ensure that gamers enjoy your game, you have to make an effort for localization solutions.
- For this, you have to provide a translation company with a lot of text and references. This is because strings are interpreted differently in different languages.
- Double-check your video game content. Translation companies don’t change the content regarding dialogues and content. However, they keep certain things in mind while localizing the content for a specific market. For example, Asian companies don’t use religion, drugs, and violence in games. Therefore, it is very important to check your content before releasing it in a specific market.
- When designing the game, be specific about whitespaces and layout because some languages take more space than others
- Perform linguistic testing through quality assurance. It is better to perform this task with the development of the software product. Moreover, QA localization will help to detect any errors and bugs before you release the game.
Game localization is not an easy task. Thus, you have to maintain the original essence of the game so that audiences in the foreign target market can understand it well. Remember that translation is a part of localization solutions. The game localization team has to work with collaboration to bring a unique user experience. Therefore, if you use the location solutions effectively then global gamers will spend money on your games.
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