Video game developers don’t always give localization the attention it deserves, but it something that can cost you greatly. Today, gaming is arguably the most globalized industries, with tons of passionate fans who truly care about their favorite titles. What that means for you is that just doing localization isn’t enough – you need to nail it.
Poorly done, unprofessional localization can render your game costly to produce, can harm sales, and can create tons of bad press. So, here are some of the costliest game localization mistakes you need to avoid.
- Embedding text into the core files
The biggest mistake developers make is text that is hard-coded into their core files. Usually, this includes elements like menu text, the game’s title, any dialogue printed on-screen during gaming. If you’re launching in one language first, this could seem tempting, but, it’s a bad idea. Instead, you should be storing all text as variables in a different resource file so that nobody has to plough through source code when you want translated text adding to the game.
- Thinking localization is the final step in development
Another expensive mistake is putting localization right to the bottom of your list. It’s not the last stage of production. An example of this is the game description which is crucial for selling your game. Just those few words are your chance to reel in new gamers.
- Cutting corners
Cutting corners on translation is going to create more work down the line, which is costly. When it comes to dealing with your sensitive information, though, avoid Google Translate and machine translation and hire a professional.
- Ignoring cultural factors
Another goal of localization, besides translation, is to ensure your game’s title is culturally sensitive to each of the markets you plan on releasing to. Ignore cultural factors, and you risk alienating a target market. Most of this boils down to your game’s content, like the characters, events, and story.
- Using translators who don’t know video games
Context is important when it comes to game localization, so the more the translator knows about gaming, and your particular video game, the better. Experienced game translators will be better able to play around with your title, and are better equipped to recreate the gaming experience you want to build in another language. It’s important to give your translator as much as information as possible, such as visuals, glossaries, style guides, and other translations you might already have.
Adapting video games to different markets is a necessary exercise, and expert gaming translators play an important role by highlighting your game’s characters, features, story lines, and even the music. Localization teams will work on your manual, packaging, “readme” files, dubbing, website, and user interface to ensure your games are expertly translated and localized for the global market.
Your video games deserve the same reaction and attention from fans no matter where they are in the world. Localization and translation are critical if the globalized world is to share in your gaming experiences.