Why do we need videogame translations?
Have you ever wondered why so many individuals these days enter the gaming world? Games provide entertainment to millions of people as everyone can find something for themselves – sports, adventure, action, strategy, to name a few examples. However, it’s not the only reason for the popularity of such games and their subsequent translation into other languages. They also give players the possibility of earning money through streaming or by taking part in professional tournaments. It’s a great chance to gain numerous personal benefits like, for example, recognition.
How has this industry developed?
Just like during the ancient empire’s humble beginnings, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Video games weren’t immediately successful either. Over time, videogames have effectively appeared in every corner of the world, which means that the companies designing them had to put a lot of effort into ensuring that every player, regardless of their native language, could easily understand the content.
1. Mandarin Chinese
With a population of over 1 billion and the implementation of a ban on standard game consoles some time ago, it’s understandable that games in China are mostly used on smartphones as for social gaming spaces. Local Chinese company Tencent has used its language skills to develop games such as Crossfire, the popular online first-person shooter (FPS). It’s one of the many games in their portfolio that helped them become a $100 billion company.
Being the second most spoken language on the planet (according to statistics), Spanish is the obvious language choice for developers and programmers. Most of them translate their games into Spanish. Since this year, Zynga’s popular word game, similar to Scrabble, Words With Friends, has been created in 8 languages, including Spanish. It showed that even a company with an estimated 240 million monthly users is looking to invest in breaking down language barriers.
Similar to Spanish when it comes to style, but spoken as a native language by 204 million people (150 million less than the previous one), Portuguese is the emerging big language games are being translated into. It’s especially obvious as it’s the first language in Brazil. The country has an enormous population and only a few standard gaming consoles due to their high prices. Also, the inhabitants are turning to more affordable games like Candy Dash by leading Brazilian developer Vostu.
Russia is also rather incapable of accessing all games on standard consoles (due to game content restrictions), making it the best image for game developers. For example, the Belarusian company Wargaming.net and their popular game, World of Tanks, profits from the Russian gaming market valued at $1.1 billion, which renders it the second-largest market in Europe.
Japan is a country famous for its rapid implementation of trends and technological developments, and where the phenomenon of social games and smartphones is no exception. GREE is one of the leading video game developers who knows how to leave a mark. Its productions include the Dragon Collection card game by Konami.
Inspired by trends from Western Europe, popular games in Germany often share their success with UK and France. What’s more, companies like EA that make up the successful soccer simulator franchise, FIFA, continue to invest in Europe’s love of the beautiful game by publishing their FIFA games in German.
The Korean language is spoken by around 50 million people in South Korea. Additionally, the popularity of smartphones and fast internet connection in the country mean it’s the perfect language for developers to translate their games. Social game creator King knows this very well and has already expressed it by showcasing his game Candy Crush Saga through the music video of one of the most famous Korean performers, PSY.
Being the language that many people choose when they want to learn something new, French is spoken by millions of individuals worldwide. Also, since 50 million people consider Wooga to be their favourite social game developer, it makes sense that the company have translated some of their games into different languages. For example, they included the iOS and Facebook game Diamond Dash.
Another European country that has similar gaming trends to Western Europe is Italy. This country is also privy to the fun of PopCap games. Recently, a video game developer released his popular game Bejeweled HD in Italian as well as in French, German, and Spanish, proving that these languages are vital for the videogames scene.
In Poland, the popularity of mobile games is growing, especially within Windows phones, which are a cheaper alternative to iPhones, and thus give many inhabitants of the region access to social games. As a result, in 2012, there were approximately 7.8 million mobile gamers in Poland. It made the country a place for another main language used by developers to translate their games.
The benefits of translating video games
While looking at the examples above, it’s easy to notice that translation became a method and opportunity for the developers to increase the popularity of their games. Nonetheless, as a result, millions can now enjoy and explore gaming content without many obstacles. In the future, there’s a high possibility that video games will have even fewer limitations when it comes to language options since the industry is continuing to grow.