The Difference Between Gaming Localization and Translation
Nothing makes our day like seeing a great, deserving game succeed and knowing that our skills and expertise in gaming localization make that happen. We love what we do so much, in fact, that we often forget that not everybody knows what gaming localization actually is and how it differs from gaming translation. We thought now would be a good time to outline the basic differences and bring everyone up to speed!
Translation is finding words in a source language for a target language, so “hello” in one language becomes “hello” in another language. On the other hand, localization involves translation, but it’s much more than just translating words. Especially in the world of video games, localization requires a deep understanding of the video games industry, national cultural idiosyncrasies and identities, and gaming culture. In our example of “hello,” localization also takes into account the context of the situation (scene, environment, tone, etc.) to find the appropriate variation of “hello” in another language.
Gaming localization requires total immersion in the gaming medium, native language speakers, and a strong grasp on just how large a role language plays in the video game experience. So how do we achieve this level of depth and immersion?
Humans and Technology Together
We know that when it comes to language, there’s no replacement for a good old-fashioned native speaker who knows the language inside and out and stays current with local language trends. And believe us, when it comes to translating 150+ million words of gaming content per year, knowing a language inside and out is paramount. Working with real people allows us to localize each and every word on its own merit.
Context is king in localization, and having a diverse, passionate team on board makes understanding any number of international contexts and adapting to them in real time a matter of ease. We leverage a variety of tools from Computer Assisted Translations (CAT) tools to our propriety GlobalLink technology for automated localization workflows.
Understand the Gamer, Understand the Game
One of the most vital aspects of personality we take into consideration when inducting a new team member into our ranks is their love for the video games industry. It’s important that any new team member be both capable and professional in the field of localization, but it’s a passion for gaming that really makes the cream rise to the top here. Being a team powered by avid gamers brings an entirely new level of depth to the standard of gaming localization services we can provide. Being gamers ourselves, we are far more well-equipped to inhabit and breathe inside the worlds of every game we work on. As gamers, we can get underneath the skin of the game, understand its intricacies, and set our minds about how best to utilize language to reflect what is required within the game, not just what’s on the page.
Think about riddles in adventure games. Riddles can be translated easily enough, but the role of a riddle is to mislead, so literal translations may cause more harm than good. It’s only with a real understanding of the world of the game that aspects like this can be carried out to their full potential. Also, if something isn’t localized correctly, the gamer may get stuck at that part of the game indefinitely, and that’s a bad user experience. In essence, understanding the culture of the world within the game is just as important as understanding the culture of the player.
Establish Lasting Partnerships
As any of our clients can tell you, we like to form lasting partnerships with everyone we work with. Whether it’s an industry giant or a first-time developer, all games are created equal in our eyes. Establishing a strong bond with the developer and ensuring we have a keen understanding at all times of just what they want their game to be is a key factor in effective localization.
As such, we work closely with each developer, creating a cycle of input and feedback at every stage of localization to make sure their exact ideas are being communicated in the exact way they want. Blind gaming translation alone is not an option; we immerse ourselves deeply in each project to help bring the world of the game to life in over 40 languages.
Are you looking for a partnership for your gaming localization services? Talk to our game localization experts today, and let’s get started!