A Beginner’s Guide to Video Game Localization
Video Game Localization is the process of preparing games for global release. Diverse areas have different languages, traditions, and censorship laws. Video Game Localization helps creators customize the game experience to the intended audience. Video Game Localization includes translating games and subtitles into other languages. This can be as simple as deleting characteristics that different cultures may not tolerate in their entertainment products.
Localization involves addressing three main key game elements:
In-Game Story Elements
Story element localization becomes crucial for keeping players interested in a game. To provide a more genuine experience to video game players, the names of characters, locations, and weaponry should all be translated into the player’s native language through a gaming localization service. Players may become discouraged if their characters’ names “don’t fit” with the story. Your translation partner will assist you with examining every area of your game, from the terms and appearances of characters and items to plot aspects and more for video game translation. You can use this to ensure that your game is understandable and able to attract foreign audiences.
Dates, times, and units of measurement are frequently overlooked when localizing technical elements. They’re an essential part of creating an immersive, seamless gaming experience, and any professional localization team will work tirelessly to ensure your new audiences don’t miss a beat. Text space in the user interface is frequently limited, which can be a problem when gaming translation is translated into a language with a distinct alphabet. For instance, consider the length of German words compared to those of other European languages.
Marketing localization is an essential but often overlooked aspect of video game localization. Marketing teams work for months to create materials that will increase their games’ appeal and commercial success on a domestic level. Unfortunately, many of those elements will fail to connect with audiences worldwide without a gaming localization service, resulting in wasted time and opportunity and potentially undermining the entire localization effort.
Here’s an overview of some of the steps required for a successful localization project.
- Make a localization plan
Thorough planning at the start of your video game translation project helps ensure that the work is completed on time and within budget. This process starts with deciding which countries you want to localize for, which will give you a sense of scope. It also entails making a list of linguistic and non-linguistic elements that you believe will need to be localized.
- Create a localization kit
A localization kit (or lockit) is a data package that assists your localization partner in understanding your game. It should include everything from backstory and character to more abstract information like tone and theme. The more comprehensive the lockit, the more quickly and precisely your localization partner can work.
- Extract strings into a Translation Management System
A translation management system (TMS) is one of the specialized software used for video game translation which assists the team in collaborating on your project. There are numerous advantages to using a TMS, including increased accuracy, faster localization, and consistency. Once you’ve extracted the text strings from your game, the localization team will load those strings into a TMS and address any technical requirements unique to your project, laying the groundwork for the following primary phase.
- Translate text and non-text features
The internal team or language service provider (LSP) will start the localization process. While translators begin work on the text strings exported to the TMS, another team should begin work on any non-text elements you’ve chosen for localization, such as character clothing, backgrounds, color schemes, and a variety of other in-game elements.
- Localization Quality Assurance (LQA)
Quality Assurance is the final stage of the video game localization process. A specialized team of reviewers will go through the game methodically, perform linguistic testing, evaluate the interface to judge usability, and run compliance and functional tests. The game localization is complete once the game has been tested and signed off on by your team.
Nowadays, video games are multi-sensory experiences designed to immerse players. Today’s games are a large, ever-changing combination of sophisticated digital information. Gaming translation involves rewriting a game’s written and spoken words; having a team of native speakers and experts in video gaming translation is an essential step in preparing your game for a foreign market.