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In our previous post, Gaming Localization Part I: Translation vs. Localization for Gaming, we highlighted a few important components for you to be aware of when preparing your game for a new locale. But let's take it a step further. Here are some tips to try to ensure that your game speaks the language of gamers in each target market.
- Hire gamers - You will want to work with linguists, voice-over talent, and localization testers who are native speakers of your target language, and who are also experts in the subject matter. This is best practice in the language services industry and is paramount for gaming. Hire people who have experience playing games, and if you can, take it a step further and find people who are familiar with your genre.
- Provide as much context as possible - Fact: providing good context at the start of the localization process will save time while the translation process is happening. Take the time to provide a brief explanation of what console or platform the game will be run on, who the public is (kids, adults, etc.), any potential formatting issues, gender, etc. Every little bit helps. You can write a paragraph or show and tell with screenshots or other visuals. It may also be helpful to provide translators a link to the website before the process starts to that they can review and ask their own questions.
- Begin with the end in mind - You may not know from the outset if your game will be localized, but it could be localized in the future. This proactive approach will help when the time comes. For example, enlisting cultural consultants to help with the development of your game will offer insight into potential cultural issues that may occur later on. Portrayals of religion, war, or other geopolitical issues carry different meanings in different countries. Also, make sure that your source text is free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors before sending it to be localized. A glossary of term preferences can also be useful for a linguist when translating to keep consistency.
- Communicate with your localizers - Developing a testing plan is a very important phase in localization. Communicate with your localizers and plan a step-by-step QA testing plan. Define what each person's role is in the process and different milestones to accomplish their roles. If there is a clear plan in place from the beginning, then the process will be much more organized and smooth, and will in turn, create a better product.
- Allow for creativity - Transcreation is a fusion of translation and creation. A professional linguist will know what works in their target language. If you allow them a little creativity to localize text will colloquialisms and descriptions that will make users laugh or evoke another emotion, then it could separate your game from competitors. After all, playing a game should be as fun as possible!
Hopefully, these tips are helpful to you when localizing your game for a new locale. Coming soon: Gaming Localization Part III: Successfully Promoting Your Game Abroad.