7 challenges you’ll face when translating video games
With the world’s 2.7 billion gamers expected to spend $159.3 billion (£121.24bn) on games this year, the market is expected to surpass $200 billion by 2023. Video game translation is crucial for keeping this global industry on track for these growth predictions, opening up the most popular titles to gamers around the world.
However, a long history of video game translation fails proves how difficult it can be to successfully develop multilingual gaming experiences. To crack global markets, you have to overcome a number of challenges before, during and after the translation process itself. In this article, we highlight seven of the most common hurdles you will face.
Video game translation challenges
Translating video games is a technical process that requires strategic planning, specialist game development and creative marketing campaigns – as well as the linguistic aspects of translation itself.
This gives you an idea of the challenges you will have to overcome along the way.
- Panning to ensure that you are choosing the right languages and platforms to hit your profit targets and building a translation process that is both cost-effective and successful.
- Providing context: The more context you provide your translators, the better equipped they are to deliver translations with the meaning you originally intended.
- Dealing with tricky language: Parts of your game will not have direct translations and you have to make some creative, but informed, decisions on how to capture the closest meaning possible or the same mood, depending on the effect you are after.
- Localising interfaces to ensure text can expand/contract in different languages without breaking UI elements or harming the user experience.
- Localising your game code to make translation efficient and non-destructive so you can add new languages and edit files without touching the source code.
- Localising for different platforms: For example, Apple’s App Store and Google Play have different guidelines you need to meet, requirements for app store listings and algorithms you need to optimise for.
- Marketing campaigns and materials also need translating and, in many cases, will need to be adapted to suit the interests of different target markets.
Simply hiring translators is not going to deliver the kind of engaging multilingual experience today’s gamers demand. Regardless of which language your game is played in, the experience needs to feel native for gamers in every market. Failing to provide this means your game will be quickly forgotten or you may end up getting unwelcome attention for all the wrong reasons.
How to overcome these video game translation challenges
Experience is key to overcoming these challenges and you have to be honest about where your expertise lies and where it does not. You may be an excellent developer or publisher, but this does not necessarily mean you have the linguistic expertise to overcome the many language barriers standing in your way.
Without the right talent on board, you may not even know what these barriers are.
So, analyse your setup and evaluate what expertise and talent you have in-house and determine what you need to bring in from outside. A language company that specialises in video game translation will be able to fill in the gaps and help you create a strategy that works for your team.
For example, if your developers already have experience in coding games for translation, you can carry on as normal or confirm that your existing approach is the best course to follow. If your developers do not have a great deal of experience in building multilingual games, then the localisation company you choose to work with can also provide the guidance your developers need to optimise their code from day one. This will save you all kinds of headaches and additional work/expenses later on.
All in all, it all comes down to what you need from a gaming translation company. Translating files from one language into another is only a small part of what goes into successfully translating video games and the localisation company you choose should be there to offer whatever you cannot handle in-house.
- Posted by Alexandra Kravariti
- On 21st August 2020
- 0 Comments