What Is Video Game Localization?
Video game localization: the process of producing video game content for a specific region, and doing it so well that it looks like it was made for that region originally.
Many localization outsourcers try to tackle gaming localization by approaching it in the same way they would for any other industry, such as legal, life sciences, or retail. For those industries, the translation provider accepts the translation along with any glossary or translation memory, sends it to a translator, has it proofread, and then sends it back to the client.
But that’s not the case for video game localization—there’s much more to it.
A game testing team first plays through the game to build detailed style guides and term bases and populate a bespoke translation memory to incorporate a glossary. They take screenshots of important information and dialogue and provide it in a package that the translation team can easily digest. This helps the translators understand the content and context quickly and efficiently.
The Right Translator
Choosing the correct translators for each project is critical. It really helps if the translation team is full of gamers who specialize in all different types of gaming genres.
For example, car-racing games have translators who specialize in every aspect of racing, such as full comprehension of racing rules, engine components, pit lane rules, flag rules, tire compounds, driving styles, and more.
Translation Memory Automation
Not all translations are created equally. There are straightforward translations, full transcreations of games—which make a greater impact internationally—or a blend of the two.
There are also automated translations that come from translation memory.
Some aspects of game translation can be automated using translation memory, since certain platform-specific documentation rarely changes but is always seen on each release. Automating these processes saves time and money.
If the game is the latest in a series, some aspects of the translation are repeated from an earlier version. This can include everything from character names to technical information and even dialogue and commentary. With translation memory, this repetitive and consistent information can be auto-populated.
Once the translator has completed the transition, the proofreading team does their thing. They ensure the game and all its components comply with their style guides, incorporating the glossaries and ensuring translation quality has been reached. If something doesn’t look right, the team works with the translator to correct it.
After everything is proofed and approved, it moves on to the quality assurance phase.
During the quality assurance (QA) phase, the QA team looks at how the translation works in the destination language. They test how the localized content will appear on screen while playing the game.
For example, they ensure the translated text fits on the screen of the intended device and flag any “objectionable content” that may cause issues in the target territories.
Once the QA team collects feedback on the translation, they work with the translator and proofreader to make other necessary adjustments and create a summarized report with any issues the client needs to address.
To have high-quality, consistent language for your video game, start with a dedicated team of gamers who can collate all the information specialized translators need to create the translation publishers want.
To talk to our expert team about localizing your gaming content, contact us here.