Video Game Localization cannot be a last-minute item in your game development checklist. It demands meticulous planning from the very moment you begin to design your game. You’ll also need assistance from localization experts who can guide you to avoid common pitfalls.
Often, game developers assume that they should first develop the game and finish coding in the native language before they localize for different regions. As a result, they end up struggling to accomplish their video game localization goals.
But video game localization isn’t just about translating your content to another language. The purpose is to produce a localized video game that works seamlessly in the translated language. To achieve this, you should adapt the entire content of your game to meet the requirements of the target market.
Localizing your video game includes adapting to a new language, local standards, format requirements, legal and cultural sensitivities.
In this article, we present top tips for streamlining your video game localization. If you simplify the process and follow best practices, you will get the localization results you're looking for.
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Create Your Localization Strategy And Define Goals
Before you begin the video game localization process, you should define your strategy and set your goals. This is an important step that will ensure you’re on the right path. Game developers who succeed in international markets are those who study their target market and plan accordingly.
Think of it as a marketing approach that your business takes to succeed in every country or region you wish to target. Gamers in that new territory are going to speak a different language, behave differently and even have different buying habits. Your game has to give them a player experience that feels native and comfortable with them.
Avoid the drain of resources by planning effectively. Few things that you should include while strategizing are:
- Identify the list of countries, target languages and regional preferences
- Take into account the cultural sensitivities
- Study their purchasing habits and gaming preferences
- Spend time and money on analyzing all the legal implications
- Find out if you should recreate any portion of the game
- Internationalize your game to enable easy localization
Develop A Translation Glossary
Studies reveal that 15 percent of localization costs arise from rework caused by inconsistent terminology. Streamlining your process means identifying such areas and addressing them to reduce costs and to accelerate your efforts.
A translation glossary is a list of standardized terms in the source language that are relevant to the context of your game. This also includes words that you don’t wish to localize and should remain in the source language.
You should remember that your game will be translated by multiple linguists working on the same content. A glossary that provides specific context to the terms is the only way to keep them consistent, even if the translator changes halfway through the project.
Creating a glossary before your video game localization will ensure accurate and consistent translation. It helps eliminate uncertainty in the video game localization process and also decrease the cost and time taken to translate. As a result, you will be able to reduce time-to-market, and your game will reach the international market very quickly.
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Design A Localized Style Guide
Design a style guide for a specific target audience and help your translators recreate your gaming experience with a local outlook. Style Guides will control your game localization process, and therefore your global marketing efforts will be more productive.
Having a style guide for video game localization will ensure that your game is perceived in the local market in the way you want to. It will also help in establishing the brand image globally.
You should also profile your target demographics because they can vary by regions. Based on the data about your target buyer persona, you should create a localized style guide.
Some questions to include are:
- Who are your gamers?
- Does your game target teenagers or desk workers or students?
- What’s your target player’s level of education?
- Are there any behavioral indicators that you should know?
Streamline Workflow Using A Good Translation Management System (TMS)
One of the surefire ways to improve the efficiency of your video game localization process is to use a good Translation Management System (TMS). TMS can streamline workflow between translators, project managers, subject matter experts and the other stakeholders of the project.
Localizing your video game can turn into a very complicated project to manage. You have to localize all your assets including text, audio, art and cinematics. Localization of the numerous files and the multiple versions of each release may soon spin out of control.
Some of the best TMS tools offer Translation Memory (TM), a language technology enabling translation by searching for similar phrases or sentences in a translation database and suggesting matches.
TMS will help you manage everything from one place, track all translation memory files, submit your assets for translation, track the changes and integrate with your game development lifecycle. Your essential project metrics (cost, quality and schedule) are all visible for easy analysis and usage.
Track Changes And The Edits
It is likely that you will update your video game and release new versions in all the markets. You should keep track of the changes and implement techniques to identify updates.
Keeping track of the edits will ensure that nothing is missed and also help you avoid translating the same assets twice. You should identify updates that don’t require localization. For example, if you fixed something cosmetic or minor typos in the source language, you may not need translation for those.
Rather than sending your edits continuously, batch them and then request for translation. Localization services provider may charge a minimum fee regardless of the number of strings. So if your updates are minor or not urgent, wait for few more edits to accumulate before you send them for translation.
Include QA In Your Localization Process
To make sure your game stands out in the target market, you should have it looking and working correctly for the gamers in that zone. The best way to achieve this to have your game tested by native game players.
Include “native user testing” in your QA plan and hire people who are fluent in the target language. They should be linguists and game players who can evaluate the functionality and linguistic quality in their native language.
Your Video game localization QA team should create defect reports for each target language, propose solutions and track them to closure.
Video game localization can consume a lot of time and effort. Practising the above tips can help you save time and money. If you wish to make the most out of your investment, it would be a good idea to work with localization experts.
For translation in more than 200+ languages and localization consulting services, contact Day Translations. Kickstart your video game localization project with a free initial consultation. Learn how to make your game available in new languages and capture the global market.