The subtleties of game localization: how to avoid embarrassment?

Translators Family blog: Game Localization

Let’s tell developers how to sell your game on another continent and not waste a penny of their budget

Game translation is one of the most complex translation jobs. For a computer game to be interesting and understandable, translation alone is not enough, as it requires adaptation and localization. This is our guide to the subtleties of game localization. Today we’ll tell you about the key steps on the way to a cool game that everyone will play.


Step 1. Create a game vocabulary

A dictionary is a set of key characters, location names, weapons, and more. It should be translated in the same style to help avoid stylistic errors later on. In addition, the dictionary allows you to understand the game context.


Step 2: Find a translation agency you can trust

Translators often work under tough professional conditions. There is usually not much time for the translation as deadlines are tight. In such circumstances, only an experienced localizer can do the job without a single mistake. 

But most importantly – a customer seldom sends a game to a translator! To avoid leakage onto the Internet, the translators are only sent excerpts of untranslated text, captions, soundtracks, or clips. So they are forced to work blindly. Sometimes, publishers mix up various fragments and send parts of translations from other games by mistake.  

But if this is the case, the localization you get won’t be accurate! Moreover, in such cases, the game breaks into segments, which will reduce its quality and usability.


Step 3. Check the portfolio for the translator’s experience and qualifications

This stage also has a lot of pitfalls: the translation should not only be of high quality, but it should also coincide with the developer’s vision, so the localizer needs to be able to go into the essence of what is going on. Translators spent many hours working on the adaptation of jokes and cultural features. For example, in Portal 2, there is a scene where Glados is singing a birthday song in honor of the protagonist’s birthday. Russian translators replaced the American song with the Happy Birthday song familiar to Russian ears. For this reason, only choose translators with successful experience in game localization.


Step 4: Be sure to have the translation checked by a proofreader

Then, sent the translated to the editor, whose job is to check the work for errors and inaccuracies. In some cases, it is returned to the author (the translator-localizer) for revision.


Step 5: Order subtitles from your translation company

So, the text is often embedded in the form of subtitles  this mustn’t be a Google Translate version.


Step 6. Go through the translated game with a fine-tooth comb and remove any inaccuracies

Step 7. Write to us, and we will create a super-powerful localization project for you, which will captivate and entertain everyone.