Video games are, without a doubt, the largest and most developed cultural industry on the planet. The sales figures, the diffusion and the number of users show constant growth year after year. This demonstrates an industry model with not only a present but a promising future as well. According to Google statistics, the word “game” is among users’ ten most searched words. This is revealing of the general trend of society, in terms of leisure time. This all wouldn’t be possible without game localization.
The secret to perfect (not only good but perfect) localization is to make sure that players do not even think for a second that they are playing a game that was originally developed in a different language, in a different culture or was created by people perhaps even from a different continent.
A localizer is a craftsman who takes foreign words and inserts familiar phrases and expressions in their place.
Jokes and idioms are not easy to translate. Good game localization consists of making a game in another language and culture as funny or abstract as it is in the original.
Localization does not exist without understanding the context. The source material must contain as much context as possible.
Just as in films, in games, most depends on the scenario. Even a game with the best localization has no chance of succeeding if the storyline is incomprehensible to the player or it does not match current trends.
The task of game developers is to create a game with an awareness of current trends. They determine these tendencies primarily based on their own experience, their knowledge of the market and a little bit of magic, which means a sense of trends.
You have nothing to fool yourself with. You cannot squeeze water from a stone. If you want to create a game that is going to be successful around the world then you need to have an appropriate budget for it. The cost of game localization is one of the smallest parts of the budget.
Even the best scenario will be useless if the game is unplayable. This is the main difference between a movie and a game. In a film, the audience has a passive role, while the game has to be played by a person. Logical Gameplay is the crucial element of a game without which it is impossible to succeed.
Graphics must be tailored to the target audience and meet current trends. Computer graphics have developed incredibly in the last decade, and it is possible to create images close to reality, hence gamers are used to high quality. On the other hand, one can also observe a return to the retro trends of the 80s and the 90s.
A game that does not challenge the player will quickly become boring, and the player will not want to return to it. At the same time, a game that is too difficult can be frustrating. The right balance is required here. Developers should design a game by constantly playing it and paying attention to nuances.
Many devs think that all they need to do is export the text and the translators will take care of the rest. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. You - as a developer - know the game by heart. However, imagine yourself for a moment in the role of the translator, who receives a huge amount of text with a lot of single words and phrases and has to guess the context. A very important part of game localization is the proper preparation of source materials for translators. They should include as much context and additional information as possible.
Even if you provide the translator with the source material with all possible descriptions and screenshots of the game, the translators localizing your game into each language will have questions during the translation process. A key element, then, is constant communication between translators and developers. Remember, there are no stupid questions, there are only stupid answers. We have developed a very effective system of communication and are constantly developing it based on a whole baggage of experience.
Even if you provided perfect source material. Even if the communication between developers and translators was exemplary and uninterrupted, there is always a chance that something was misinterpreted during localization. Therefore, a very important part of localizing a video game is beta testing. Someone needs check whether the translations match specific parts of the game and whether everything fits into a coherent and logical narrative.Would you release a game in your native language without testing whether all the texts fit the intended narrative?
If you want to compete with the best game developers and producers in the world simply translating a game is not enough to successfully launch a game in a new market. A new market also means a new country, or even a new area in the world, where players speak a specific language and have quite demanding expectations about the language used, sounds, music, and menus, but also about the graphical aspects of the game or even legal aspects. Just translating a game is not enough.
Localization is a hard and meticulous process, but it is accompanied by a lot of fun and creative work. Of the elements mentioned, translation is our speciality. The full localization process involves many more areas than the ones we listed above.
Now that you know that the specificity of game translation is the proper localization of the game in various areas, it's time for you to select the right partners for each of them or create the right teams within your structures. The most important thing here, of course, is the localization and the translation.
Everyone can boast that they do the best and professional video game localization, but who can boast of such an extensive portfolio of translated games as we do? Game localization is in our nature. You only need to look at the reviews of players of the games we have translated to see our professionalism. There is no better critic than the gaming community itself.
The full localization of a video game includes all the elements of the game, from the technical elements of the game, the player’s panel, instructions, hints, to the dialogues that are delivered by the characters. The most important part – the salt of all game localization – is translation localization. Video game translation is, in many areas, more of a transcreation than a classic translation. Localization with fragments of transcreation sometimes means quite a bit of interference with the source content, sometimes changing specific passages and making the whole game more comprehensible to the user of a given language. The ideal localization of a game is one in which the end user gets the impression that the game was created in his language, and not translated.
Game localization usually involves switching between PAL and NTSC, reassigning function keys and modifying the game or application itself.
Translation and localization of all linguistic and cultural references. As such, we can preserve the genuineness of the game, making it more identifiable to the audience of a given country or region.
In some cases, games will feature a new set of characters, or the same ones with slight variations in appearance, helping players identify with their own avatar. Music also varies with national trends and fan preferences.
Age rating of players can create variations depending on the country where the game is released. They are controlled by national or international organizations, among which: PEGI (Europe), ESRB (United States and Canada), ACB (Australia) or ZERO (Japan).
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