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Insights on international expansion

Why Game Translation Continues To Strive

Gamers are constantly seeking new games to “destroy”, I mean to complete and if it’s in the language they speak in, then that’s a plus. In the past recent years, game developers have gotten smarter and taken the smart route in finding some of the best translation services to help localize their games and making sure translation are up to scratch.

You see, back in the days, Japanese game developers didn’t have the budget nor manpower to provide good translation, which resulted in bad Engrish and not to mention the terrible grammar that caused amusements amongst gamers as well as the general public. At least, it got people talking about Zero Wing. This definitely got game developers to think about hiring a team of professional translators to avoid humiliation especially since they’re planning to break into an international market. Trust me, no one wants to see a big red flag on their first product launch.

Good Translation is Needed in a Game Environment

One of the things a hardcore gamer would tell you (besides all of the latest cheat tricks) is that it’s all about the whole gaming experience. Gaming is a way of inviting players into a virtual world, where to a certain extent it needs to provide satisfaction and excitement. Not only do players expect to see high definition and compelling graphics as well as enthralling music, the text on the screen and the characters’ dialogue all play a vital part. This vital part refers to perfect translation of course! When a mistranslation appears on the screen or in the character’s dialogue, this automatically dampens the player’s mood and the whole gaming experience is lost. That’s when you know it’s definitely game over (no pun intended)!

Localized Games is the Way to Go

According to a 2010 study by Distimo (PDF), localized apps received more downloads (up to 128 percent) per country. It’s much more likely for customers to buy your game if it’s available in their native language. Good quality translation equals increase in purchase obviously.

The Impact of Terrible Translation

Gamers are certainly likely to react more emotionally to any translation fails than a mistranslation or spelling error on a Chinese menu. No joke, but gamers, who are dedicated and committed will take everything seriously when it comes to gaming. Even a slight mistranslation is a big NO-NO!

Be Wary of Game Jargon

It’s no surprise that the gaming business has its own specialised terminology or slang if you would prefer and this can be difficult to translate. For example, in a gaming world, the word “tank” occurs when the target is intended to be the one taking direct damage. However, this could be confused with the noun meaning: ‘a large receptacle or storage chamber’ or even the verb meaning: ‘the bus stopped to tank up’.

To avoid these kind of silly mistakes, hire a professional game translator, who will have a clear and strong understanding of the gaming industry.

What Are Needed for Best Game Translation?

Translating a game for your localized market is important and might seem like a lot of work. You must have nailed the following to ace the best results:

  • Get a Real Gamer Translator

    • The gaming world is full of slang. A translator without any gaming experience will be lost in tons of mysterious words – HP, MP, gank, etc. To make your and your gamers’ lives easier, get a translator who is a hard-core gamer.
  • On-device Testing

    • In translation, context is the king. In current scenes, game translators usually work on 2-column spreadsheets with some reference materials. However this cannot ensure that translators is 100% informed with the context. So on-device testing can secure any translation gets wrong.
  • Experienced Localization Manager

    • There is a proven process to deliver good quality of translation for games. An experienced localization manager helps avoid the quality issues caused by missing steps in the process.

Do you need more resources about game localization? Get our new ebook “The Beginners’ Guide to Mobile Game Localization” for free.

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Patrick Yip

Written by Patrick Yip

Patrick Yip is the former Head of Marketing at OneSky. Heavily attracted to any brilliant growth strategy, well-crafted content and the idea of making the Internet globally accessible.