Game translation and localization are two essential processes for any game developer who wants to reach a global audience and increase their sales. However, these processes are not as simple as they may seem. They involve many challenges and require a lot of expertise and creativity. In this blog post, we will explore what game translation and localization are, what difficulties they entail, and what benefits they bring.

What are game translation and localization?

Game translation is the process of converting the text and audio of a game from one language to another. It involves translating the user interface, dialogues, subtitles, manuals, marketing materials, and any other textual or verbal content of the game.

Game localization, on the other hand, is the process of adapting the game to the cultural, linguistic, and regional expectations of a specific target market. It goes beyond translation and involves adjusting various aspects of the game, such as graphics, design, voice, music, sound effects, humor, references, symbols, units of measurement, currencies, dates, and more.

The ultimate goal of game localization is to make the game feel as immersive and native as possible to the target audience, so that it appears as though it was originally made for them.

What are the difficulties of game translation and localization?

Game translation and localization are complex and demanding processes that pose many challenges for game developers and translators. Some of these challenges are:

  • Maintaining the tone and style of the game across different languages. Games have a unique tone and style that can be difficult to translate accurately. Just like games are unique, so are languages. They have different grammar rules, vocabulary, idioms, expressions, and nuances. Translators need to be aware of these differences and find ways to preserve the original meaning and intention of the game while adapting it to the target language.
  • Keeping consistency of terms throughout the game. Games often have specific terminology that needs to be translated consistently across all parts of the game. This includes names of characters, places, items, skills, commands, menus, etc. Translators need to create and follow a glossary of terms that ensures uniformity and clarity in the game.
  • Adjusting for text length constraints in the user interface. Different languages have different text lengths for the same message. For example, English is usually more concise than German or French. This can cause problems when translating text that needs to fit in a limited space on the screen, such as buttons, menus, labels, etc. Translators need to find ways to shorten or abbreviate the text without losing its meaning or readability.
  • Taking into consideration cultural differences and sensitivities. Different cultures have different values, beliefs, preferences, habits, norms, taboos, etc. that can affect how they perceive and react to certain elements of a game. For example, some colors, symbols, gestures, jokes, references, or themes may be acceptable in one culture but offensive or inappropriate in another. Translators need to be aware of these differences and avoid potential cultural clashes or misunderstandings by modifying or replacing such elements with more suitable ones for the target market.
  • Providing sufficient context for translators. Translators need to have a clear understanding of the game’s storyline, characters, setting, genre, and audience to be able to translate it effectively. However, sometimes they may not have access to the whole game or enough information about it. They may only receive a list of strings or audio files to translate, without knowing how they relate to the gameplay, the visuals, or the emotions. This can lead to inaccurate or inconsistent translations that may harm the quality and immersion of the game.

What are the benefits of game translation and localization?

Despite these challenges, game translation and localization are worth investing in, as they offer many benefits for both game developers and gamers. Some of these benefits are:

  • Increasing sales and revenue by reaching new markets. Game translation and localization allow game developers to expand their customer base and tap into new opportunities in different regions of the world. According to a report by Newzoo, the global games market was worth $174.9 billion in 2020, and it is expected to grow to $217.9 billion by 2023. The largest markets are China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Germany, but there are also emerging markets in Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. By localizing their games for these markets, game developers can increase their visibility, popularity, and profitability.
  • Improving user satisfaction and retention by enhancing the gaming experience. Game translation and localization allow gamers to enjoy their favorite games in their own language and culture. This makes them feel more comfortable, engaged, and immersed in the game world. It also increases their loyalty and trust in the game developer and the game brand. According to a survey by Common Sense Advisory, 74% of consumers are more likely to buy a product if it is in their native language, and 56% of consumers say that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.
  • Building a positive reputation and a competitive edge in the gaming industry. Game translation and localization show that game developers care about their customers and respect their diversity and preferences. It also demonstrates their professionalism and quality standards in the gaming industry. By localizing their games, game developers can stand out from their competitors and gain a loyal fan base across the world.

How can Premium Lingua help you with game translation and localization?

At Premium Lingua, we understand the challenges and benefits of game translation and localization. We have a team of experienced and qualified game translators and localizers who can handle any type of game project, from casual to hardcore, from mobile to console, and from indie to AAA. We offer high-quality game translation and localization services in over 100 languages, covering all aspects of the game, such as text, audio, graphics, design, and testing. We use the latest tools and technologies to ensure accuracy, consistency, and efficiency in our work. We also provide cultural consulting and adaptation to make sure your game is suitable and appealing for your target market.

If you are looking for a reliable and professional partner for your game translation and localization needs, contact us today and get a free quote. We will be happy to help you take your game to the next level.

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