Video Game Localization and Specialization

Video game localization is nothing to take lightly. When an English video is produced in multiple languages, you need to ensure that the product meets certain criteria. In order to achieve results then, it helps to have a translator play the game. Not only should he experience the game but learn the game’s rules and identify the characters.

Video Game Localizaton

Video Game Localization

Video Game Localization Success

For video game localization to succeed then, you also need to make sure you do the following:

  • Ensure that the dialogues in the game are precise.
  • Confirm that all the game content is in the target language.
  • Check the abbreviations.
  • Check for image consistency.

In order to excel in localization too, you need to be prepared for design changes. In addition, content can be a problem as translations can lead to longer sentences.

The Responsibilities of the Project Manager

The project manager (PM) who organizes the activities of the localizers must also make sure the following takes place:

  • Keep the translation and localization on schedule
  • Make sure errors are fixed in a timely fashion
  • Prepare files for the translation team
  • Answer the inquiries made by localizers about content
  • Act as an intermediary between the localizers and the designers, content team, and engineers

Do You Enjoy Game Play?

If you are considered great at your job as a localizer of games, you must love game play. If you do not have a clear understanding of the process, then you are really not qualified for the assignment. So, to localize games, you must be proficient at translation and enjoy playing the games.

Familiarize Yourself with the Game

Localizers can further enhance game development by reading what gamers say about a specific game. So, before a project is begun, it pays to read comments and forums in the target language. It also pays, literally, to learn more about the traits of the characters in a game.

Stay Focused on the Translation

In order for localization to be successful too, you need to understand the localization process. Therefore, game developers and localizers need to be familiar with the translation process and linguistic testing. In addition, it is important to get a handle on translating coded material. If you focus more on translating than on the technical aspects, you will achieve your objectives.

The Localization of Pac-Man

Basically, video game localization is a process that involves translation as well as making changes that are cultural in nature. Indeed, the variations in cultures can definitely impact on the sale of a game. For example, when Pac-Man was localized originally, the transliteration of the title in Japanese was Puck-man. However, because it was feared that the title would be turned into an obscenity, the title we know today was chosen instead.

Cultural and Regional Expectations

So, you need to make sure when you are translating a game that it will be well-understood and received in its locale. While the goal is to keep a game’s overall feel, the video still has to meet cultural and regional expectations. As a result, the graphics and music as well must accommodate the tastes and preferences of the local audience.

Conforming to the Mandates Set by a Country

Countries can also enforce laws that must be followed by game translators and localizers. For instance, video games that are localized for the German market must adhere to the strict policies of the Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK). These guidelines restrict the use of profanity, blood and gore, and any symbolization that denotes hatred.

Besides Germany, China has also established strict rules of censorship. For example, the country forbids the import of localized games that endanger certain cultural traditions or moralities socially. Therefore, you need to be aware of the type of regulations that are in-place regarding entertainment software.


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