Video Game Translation: All You Need to Know

Want to reach a global gamers community? You can’t ignore translating your gaming software. Your video game will get maximum international visibility and generate ROI you never thought possible when translated into several languages. But video game translation is not easy. To make it successful, you have to make sure that an audience can’t differentiate between the translated and original versions. 

When they get the feeling that your game was created within their mother language, they are more likely to build trust and loyalty with your gaming product. While it might seem as simple as translating on-screen words into the preferred language of your consumers,  video game translation is a much more complex process than this. 

Let’s talk about what video game translation is

Video game translation goes deeper than the simple word-for-word translation of text from the source language to the target language. Ponder over it and you’ll realize that video games generally contain various cultural references. These could be any humorous aspects of the game that are unique to each target culture. As far as the scope of video game translation services is concerned, it covers all references relevant to a culture and its history in the translation. It also takes into account the regional slang and any censorship laws. 

In fact, it’s a massive achievement for your video game translations to comply with censorship regulations. These censorship regulations vary from country to country and region to region. Even within the different states of the same country, these regulations could be different. These differing regulations could be related to gore (bloodshed and murder) in gaming or any other violence. Therefore, a successful translation process should carefully take such aspects into account. 

Becoming a video game translator

Translating a game requires two major things on the part of the translator. They should have an excellent understanding of the languages as well as the intricacies woven into the world of gaming. Obviously, the more harsh and drastic elements a video game contains, the more difficult the role of game translator becomes. In fact, their role becomes highly specialized and complicated. 

Moreover, video game translators always need to push themselves to deliver top-rated quality work. Which demands constantly updating your knowledge to suit cultural changes around the globe. Plus, a translator also should have a strong interest in different genres of gaming. When they are gamers themselves at heart, they would be able to develop an in-depth understanding of gaming terminology and jargon. But since the video game industry is continuously evolving, it becomes essential for translators to keep tabs on the latest tech and gameplay features. 

The advantages of video game translations

The advantages of video game translations are so many that you would like to work with a professional translation agency right now. Here are a few of them:

  • Your gaming product reaches an international audience, helping you generate maximum ROI.
  • When your gaming software is accessible in countries around the world, you get an increase in downloads and your app store rankings also go up. 
  • Gamers are more likely to stick to your software when it’s available in their mother tongue. They don’t find any confusion whatsoever in the storyline of your games. So, when they play the game in their own linguistic and cultural context, it makes them feel overjoyed and immersed in the gameplay.

The must-dos in video game translation

Video game translation comes with certain challenges. Even the biggest gaming developers and publishers run into grave problems during the translation of their games. That’s why it’s important to note what important steps you can take to avoid common translation mistakes.

  • Work with industry professionals – Only rely on professional gaming or app localization services. A company that knows your business and has years of experience translating games should be your best bet. 
  • Do market research – A comprehensive market research into what languages and markets to target is key to success. You must also research the cultural factors, demographics, and expectations of your intended audience.
  • Provide proper context – A translator would not be able to effectively and accurately translate your video game without contextual information. So, let them know as much context about your game as possible, like the characters, storyline, etc. 
  • Preplan the process – It always helps if you can just start the translation as soon as possible. In an ideal situation, you must plan it at the early stages of development. 

The don’ts in video game translation

In the last section, we primarily mentioned important dos related to proper planning and development of a translation process. Now, we’ll take a look at some must-nots to avoid translation mistakes. 

  • Don’t count on the machine translation – It isn’t a failsafe approach to consider machine translation as a standalone method for your gaming translation needs.
  • Avoid non-gaming translators – Working with non-gaming experts will leave you with patchy translations that would offend your audience.
  • Don’t cut corners – All publishers and game developers must translate their games properly. Cutting any corners during the translation process will impact your final results.

Final remarks

In short, the video game translation process requires due diligence and hard work for both translators and game publishers. Translators must have in-depth knowledge of the gaming industry along with linguistic fluency. Publishers and developers on the other hand should plan things nicely and only rely on expert services to translate their video games. Otherwise, they might run into several translation mistakes that could prevent them from serving a huge gaming audience abroad. 

Hope you find this article helpful & thanks for reading. Until next…


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