Are You Ready For Video Game Localization?


Video game localization has never been an easy task. It needs a lot to get your Game Localization Company ready to accept tasks. Video game market has become widely global with high demand for the the games localization services. In this article, we will highlight the preparations needed before embarking on the video game localization process.

Part of any localization process is definitely selecting the proper linguists. However, when it comes to video game localization, the selection criteria are a little bit different as there are lots of questions should be asked before selecting the resources.

Choosing the right linguist is essential for any localization process. Game translators are the focal point of game localization process. Language capabilities are not the only criteria to consider when assigning the game translator the job to translate a video game. There are other questions need to be taken into consideration as well while taking your decision;

      - What is the target language? Is there a specific dialect needed? For example, if Arabic is it MSA or Arabic-Egyptian or
         Arabic-Saudi Arabia…etc.

      - What is the type of the video game (adventure, horror, fantasy, action…etc.)
      - What is the average age to play this game?

      - Do I have game translators, who are essentially gamers, who are addicted to play various types of video games?

Answering these questions will help you understand the game itself and deliver the same video game effect as the original language conveys. That’s why when the game translator is someone who has previously experienced the gameplay, he would have the necessary background and understanding required for localizing the specific and niche-terms of the game. Even better, if the game translator happens to be a fan of the game itself and a regular player of the games' series, only then you can get an extra mile of passion and caring while localizing the video game. 

Along with the resource selection, it's recommended that the linguists play previous versions of the game to be localized, if applicable, or even to read more about the game plot and watch the movie in some video game cases. All these factors will put you in a better situation to understand why people play the game and why many fans are crazy about it, you may even become one of them! 

The  localization process is critical in the video game success and its important to ensure that the game speaks the language of gamers in each target market. In the below points can shed some light on how to get ready to provide game localization services. You will also find some tips and tricks which should be taken into consideration in the process of video game localization.

What linguists should do to prepare themselves?

A huge part of the localizer success is to have wider knowledge about the topic that he or she is specialized in. For example, Legal translators who are working with lawyers can understand more about contract format, target country tax laws and official stamp types. Same applies to Games localization, we can equip the translator with a broad gaming knowledge, for example: 
      - Let the linguists take their time to read more about the video game industry, games studios and top genres.  
      - Find the time to play the most common games and preferably not just one type (Not all games are adventure or sports games!).
      - Stay up to date with the latest releases, technology and any new terminology from the video game industry.
      - From the client side, we can ask the game developers to provide reference materials to help translators understand their game            and contextualize things. 
      - Follow your client's guidelines and style-guide.
Never hesitate to ask your clients questions, an ancient Chinese proverb says, “He who asks question remains a fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask, remains a fool forever.” Asking for references, more information and games details from your client will give you a better opportunity to understand the client requirements and will give you search channels that you can depend on with your current client as well as future clients.

Always respect cultural differences!

Cultural mistakes often prove the costliest for video game developers and publishers – not just in terms of lost revenue, but in negative public relations and damage to their corporate image. So, the client is always expecting to have you as a credible eye if the game is not suitable for your culture. Then, the adaptation role will prevail in that case, which is to make the game more suitable for the target culture. 
For instance, using the Pig as a major character in a video game might not be widely welcomed in the Middle East/Gulf market, so we can advise to use a cow instead. However, the cow cannot be used for shooting games in India as cows considered as a holy animal in Hinduism.
Deep learning about the gaming industry and the culture of the target audience is a must to avoid any cultural, Geo and religious conflict. Culture adaptation can be used as a key solution here. 

Consider an internationalized font

Agreeing with your clients on using an internationalized font especially if your client is new to localization can be of a great help. When you translate a word, sentence, or phrase from one language to another, there will be a discrepancy in length, almost in all cases. Because sometimes the translated phrase can be shorter, other times it can be longer, and in some cases, like when translating from Latin languages to Bidirectional language can cause problems in word length may cause your game to look broken. Text may overlap certain images or may not be visible on the player’s screen at all. So, keeping font in mind when localizing can ensure the best gaming experience possible. 

Now, we understand that video game localization is not a smooth process with few elements shown in this article. The most important thing that we should all take in consideration is the proactive and creative approach for unusual and dynamic industry. That’s why for any game localization company it is important to be keen on equipping the resources with all video game localization possible tools and also selecting the experienced translators for each genre can be a good start!  Other main aspects in the games localization such as Voice Over, Casting, Quality Assurance and Testing can be discussed in coming blog(s). Stay tuned!