At first sight, translation and localization may seem quite similar to one another, however, localization is an even more complex and extensive process. Localization completely adapts products and/or services to the target market so as to gain the impression that they originated from there. Culture of the target market should be considered as well as the functionality of the product or service in that area.
This service involves, among others, adaptation to legal or regional requirements of the target language or country, as well as to numerous cultural nuances specific to each language, country, even religions thereof. It includes text translation, transcript of audio materials and other components, but also, adaptation of things such as design, marketing messages, colors used, dates, currencies, keyboard layout, etc.
When localizing, all cultural features, history, religion, ethnic and geopolitical features of the target area must be kept in mind. Even in countries where the same language is spoken, e.g. Spanish, using the same localized version of a game in all countries is not recommended because there are significant linguistic and cultural differences between them.
There are approximately 300 million Spanish language speakers in 22 countries across the world. A Spanish version of a certain game won't necessarily satisfy all players from the Spanish speaking region. Hence, Spaniards won't readily accept a localization in the Mexican version of Spanish because it doesn't sound "serious" enough. Such was the case with the video game Halo 2; Microsoft released the version localized for the Latin American market in the Spanish market as well, then it withdrew it due to the large number of negative comments. After that, an English version without Spanish subtitles was released in the Spanish market and, you've guessed it, the comments were disastrous once again.
Besides colloquial expressions and same names for different things, good localization takes into consideration whether people are more "polite" there and whether they address each other more formally or informally, whether they use word "please" frequently or do their requests sound more like commands, to what extend do they use formal language, in what format do they note dates and many other "little things" that have a big role in how users experience a game.
Many clients recognized us precisely in the area of application and video game localization.
The video game industry is currently worth approximately 75 billion USD and it is estimated that its value will increase to 90 billion USD by the end of 2020. A video game translated into English will reach only 27% of the market, which means that the remaining 73% remains untapped.
Many video game players won't even download a game unless it's available in their mother language. Localization not only ensures that a video game performs flawlessly in the translated language, but it offers the best user experience for players who can then enjoy the full experience the game has to offer.
Video Game Localization Procedure:
ESTABLISHING TERMINOLOGY – Just like the translator needs to get to know the text before translating, see what terminology is used and gather as much information as possible on the topic, the person localizing the video game needs to become familiar with it first. This includes getting to know the content, communicating with programmers on specific terms, getting to know the game and information on who the target audience is.
TRANSLATION – After getting to know the material and establishing terminology, all materials are translated to the target language. If it is a large project with a short deadline, the material should be split and given to several translators, so as not to impair the quality of the work done. This is when a project manager, who will coordinate the translators and make sure terminology is used consistently throughout the process, is appointed for the project. All materials are translated to the target language and the translated text must be fully compatible with the context of the game.
ADAPTATION – It is not enough for the translator to go over the text, correct errors that may have occurred and adapt certain expressions. The translated material should be revised by a person who is familiar with the world of video games and the established terminology used, a person who will adapt the entire translated material accordingly.
Benefits of Professional Service:
Localization may not seem necessary for the success of a video game or an application, so it's understandable that the budget for such matters may be a bit "skinny", but today's gamers are extremely demanding. The gameplay experience should be as natural, as realistic and as accessible as possible. Since the number of games today is immense, people want to try as many as possible and often don't give much time to each. The first experience and the very beginning of the game is crucial in deciding on whether users will continue playing, i.e., whether they will buy the game.
The video game that meets and fulfills expectations of one market and does great in it can completely flop in another region if not localized. In-app payment methods, key words, even swear words – all these are details that make the difference between a professionally localized game and materials that have been just translated.
If you try to localize your video game on your own after all, or if you hire a freelance translator with no experience in localization, please don't make Google Translator your main translation source, use dictionaries and relevant technical literature, so as not end up as Zero Wing.
Some of the games we've localized: Starpoint Gemini: Warlords, Shopping Tycoon, Pipe Push Paradise and the huge indie hit SpeedRunners. Our task was to localize games from English to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, German, French, Italian and Russian.
Regardless of whether you want to increase the number of game or application downloads, remain competitive in a tough market, rank yourself higher in an app store or make your international users feel important – localization is the key to success.