Unveiling Video Game Localization


In recent years, video games have evolved and now they involve complex interactive experiences rather than just mere entertainment. To meet the increasing demand for video games in the digital realm, the gaming universe has transcended borders and cultures with the help of video game localization.  


Video game localization/ translation is the process of preparing video game software and hardware for sale across different countries and regions around the world. It is not an easy process rather it is a complicated process that involves adapting content to resonate effectively with a diverse global audience. Although deciphering the content is a huge piece of localization, the cycle incorporates any progressions made to a game, including modifying workmanship resources, making new bundling and manuals, recording new sound, changing equipment, removing entire parts of the game due to differing social sensitivities or potentially nearby legal necessities, and in any event, adding segments to supplant cut substance. 


Nature of Localization 


Localization does not simply involve the conversion of words from one language to another. It is a meticulous craft and its purpose is to apprehend the real essence of the game. The localization experts precisely capture a game's narrative, characters, cultural references, and nuances to make it relatable and enjoyable for a new audience. The whole purpose of game localization is to connect different cultures so that the gamers get truly involved in the captivating virtual worlds. 


Imagine playing a game designed by a foreign country where the characters speak a different language. Undoubtedly, you might become frustrated after a while and could potentially lose interest in playing the game again. To avoid such instances, you must hire a professional translation/localization company near you. Effective game localization ensures that the players smoothly get immersed in the game’s world; and understand its storyline, dialogues, and instructions as if the game was specifically designed for each of them. 

In this blog, we will discuss multiple aspects of video game localization. For the ease of our readers, we have divided the article into the following sections:


  • Key elements for video game localization and translation

  • Process of video game localization

  • Business benefits related to video game translation and localization

  • What languages one should choose for video game translation


So let’s begin our journey in this blog. 


Key Elements for Video Game Localization and Translation 


The following are the key elements for video game localization and translation:

In-Game Story Elements


A game should attract clients and keep them connected, which is the place where story component localization becomes an integral factor. Elements such as character names, locations, weapons, or other descriptive aspects must be adaptive effectively to provide players with a persistent and immersive gaming experience. Names that “don’t fit” with the content can debilitate the player. For instance, in a storyline set in Mexico, an English-named local bar would feel incongruous. As these components are essential to the actual plot and the gameplay, therefore more consideration should be paid to their localization. To accomplish the goal of accurate game localization, one must collaborate with a trusted localization partner (if available). It will assist you in analyzing every facet of your game including character and item names, settings, plot complexities, and more. This meticulous process gives you the confidence that your game maintains clarity and holds the potential to resonate with diverse international audiences effectively. 

Technical Elements


Evaluation of technical elements in video game localization involves a detailed examination of the technological infrastructure and the components of the game. Elements like text and user interface, coding and programming, audio, and platform must be adapted or made compatible with the target audience; it will ensure a seamless and technically sound transition of the game into multiple languages and markets. 


Often overlooked, technical components such as dates, times, and estimation units play a significant role in the vivid, consistent gaming experience. A professional localization team will prioritize these basic elements to ensure your new audience does not miss a thing. 


The text space in the user interface is frequently limited, which makes it difficult to translate the same text into languages with different alphabets. For instance, there exists a considerable amount of length disparity among German words compared to those in other European languages. To overcome this restriction, UI often uses truncations (abbreviations). As the abbreviations are generally derived from English words, they might need to be adjusted for different languages. 


Choosing whether to translate these abbreviations into the full form or keep them as they are (e.g. HP), is a common problem in the localization process. Certainly, the decision greatly influences the extent to which the game will become comprehensible and relatable to diverse linguistic audiences.  

Showcasing/ Marketing Elements  


Showcasing localization is a vital yet another neglected segment of the video game localization measure. This process involves the adaptation of promotional material, marketing strategies, and presentation elements to effectively target and engage the international audience. 


Localization of marketing elements also involves translation and adaptation of descriptions, reviews, and other sales-related content. Particularly, promotional materials like trailers, posters, social media campaigns, and websites are translated and culturally adapted to appeal to the target audience. Furthermore, the game's branding, slogans, and messages are also aligned with the cultural sensibilities and preferences of the local audience. Moreover, during the showcasing/ marketing localization process, search engine keywords and metadata are optimized in multiple languages to revamp the game’s visibility and discoverability in various markets. 


Showcasing groups invest months crafting materials to improve the visibility and commercial success of their games in local regions. However, without effective localization, many of these components fail to connect with the global audience, leading to wasted time and overlooked opportunities, potentially jeopardizing the entire localization effort. 


Sometimes, basic advertising and graphic design prove to be sufficient for upgrading the sales of a game. However, in more outrageous cases, the localization strategy might need a completely new adaptation procedure, acknowledging that gamers across the world have distinct habits and preferences when it comes to making game purchases. 


Process of Video Game Localization 


For game localization, the one-size-fits-all technique might not do justice. Localization is a multifaceted process that includes a multitude of elements, each requiring attention to detail. 


Here’s an outline of the means that go into a successful localization project. 


Begin with a Localization Plan 


If you want to complete your video game localization project on time and within the financial plan, then you must plan carefully at the beginning of the process. The plan should include the target countries for the localization; it will give you an idea of the scope. The plan should also include the complete list of linguistic, technical, and other related elements that require localization. 

Generate a Localization kit 


A localization kit or “lock it” is a solitary bundle of information that helps your localization accomplice comprehend your game. The kit must contain comprehensive details regarding the backstory, and characters, to extract elements like tone and theme. The more detailed and precise the kit, the more swiftly and more accurately the localization partner can work. 

Withdraw the Strings into a Translation Management System (TMS)


A translation management system (TMS) is a specially designed software that eases collaboration in the localization field. It provides various benefits including enhanced consistency, accuracy, and faster localization. During this phase, the localization team extracts the string from your game and loads them into a translation management system (TMS). The team also specifies and mentions the technical requirements of your project, while transitioning into the next crucial stage of the process. 

Translate Text and Non-Text Elements 


After the completion of the above steps, the internal team or a language service provider will begin the localization work. Professional translators start working on the text strings transferred to the TMS, while another team starts handling and localizing the non-text elements such as character attire (needed to represent cultural nuances), backgrounds, color schemes, and a lot of other in-game elements.  

Localization Quality Assurance (LQA)


This is the last stage in the video game localization measure. During this phase, a specific group of analysts will deliberately go through the game, conduct linguistic testing, assess the interface to pass judgment on usability, and run function and usability tests.  


Corporate Benefits of Video Game Translation and Localization


Market Expansion


Effective translation and game localization open the doors of the global market for the business. It breaks the language barrier and allows the business to tap into the world of diverse markets. 

Revenue Growth 


Potentially new audiences allow the corporations to expand their customer base which further leads to more sales and better revenue. 


Studies show that gamers happily pay to download a game if it’s anything but a vivid encounter ‘made for them, as opposed to one that feels outsider and confounding. 

Enhanced User Experience 


Certainly, game localization provides an improved user experience by making the gamers feel more connected to the game which leads to longer playtimes. 

Customer Retention and Loyalty


When customers connect with a game culturally and linguistically, there are more chances that it will foster loyalty in them. This loyalty encourages repeat purchases and generates a dedicated fan base. 

Law Conformity 


Effective localization guarantees adherence to regional laws, abstaining from potential legal issues related to language, content, or cultural sensitivities. 

Risk Management


Organizations can eliminate the risk of backlash or controversy by adapting the game content to suit local norms and sensitivities. Game localization helps corporations save their brand integrity. 


Localization is tied in with accepting each part of a district, from shading and music to food and celebrations. Effectively done, it’s anything but a far-off organization that feels pertinent to local people and part of the local lifestyle.

Increment Excellent Audits 


A completely confined game will incite a more noteworthy number of positive surveys. As appraisals regularly drive exposure and retail needs, localization can before long transform a neighborhood hit into a worldwide sensation. 

What Languages One Should Choose for Video Game Translation?

English is the most widely used language in the video game industry. If English is not your native language or you know nothing about it, then prioritizing its inclusion becomes paramount. So which languages come next? The most recommended languages for video game translation, after English, are “FIGS” languages: French, Italian, German, and European Spanish. These languages are considered vital in the gaming industry not only because they belong to countries with significant gaming markets, but also because of their wider reach beyond borders. 


For instance, a game translated and localized in the French language will not only target French gamers but also the ones in Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco, and parts of Canada- regions that are generally known for high-esteem gaming markets. Similarly, Additionally, German localization gives you admittance to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. European Spanish alone gives you admittance to 340 million clients around the world. 


Beyond the FIGS languages, utilizing the available information is crucial for a successful launch of a game project. Application stores and online gaming hubs provide insights that would have been difficult to gather even a couple of years ago. Analyzing this available data lets you identify the regions that will embrace your game and lets you make strategic localization decisions. 


To help you settle on a smart choice, here are the main ten gaming markets by income, recorded in sliding request. These markets are China, the USA, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Incredible Britain, France, Canada, Spain, and Italy. It might be tempting to dive into Mandarin Chinese because of its vast gaming market, but it's crucial to note that it is a very difficult language.  


Moreover, largely populated countries like China and India boast large player bases, however individual gamers in these countries spend less time on games. Such factors can also influence your decision to localize your game in these dialects. As mentioned above other similar factors must be considered while choosing a language for video game localization as it can hugely impact a corporation in multiple ways. 

If you are facing difficulty finding an experienced localization company near you, then AGATO Translation is here to serve you. We can help you devise an efficient strategy tailored to your specific game and target audience.

Also, read The Right Steps To Take To Localize a Video Game