Top Video Game Languages that are Globalizing the Market

Top video game languages are superpower languages as they hold the power seat in terms of revenue – meaning downloads. Stats currently indicate that the US is no longer a front-runner in this respect. Instead, both South Korea and Japan surpass the US on Google Play. Japan follows the US, revenue-wise, on the App Store.

Top Video Game Languages

Top Video Game Languages

If you consider top translation languages in terms of profits then, you would have to look at Korean, Japanese, and English as being in the first three slots. However, English still dominates the world market as mobile apps and games yield high revenues in the UK, Australia, and Canada.

Another major player is China – both on Android and iOS. In 2014, China held the number two spot in gaming revenue worldwide. The lion’s share of game revenue in Europe belongs to the companies that are the most developed. These countries include Germany, France, and Italy. Therefore, German, French, and Italian are other top gaming languages. Western Europe, which showed over $3 billion in profits in gaming in 2014, ranks third in video game interest behind Asia and North America.

Top Video Game Languages

In a one-to-ten ranking the top video game languages include the following:

  • English
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Chinese
  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Russian

Malay also figures prominently into top video game languages. If you are developing games then, you may be wondering what top video games languages to choose. In order to make a decision, you need to ask two questions:

  • How much will localization cost?
  • Will the game sell well among those who use the localized language?

Translation Services for the Video Game Market

Localization, itself, means translation as well as cultural integration. When it comes to translation, you can hire a translator who is also an enthusiastic gamer, or work with an independent translator from an agency. Processes of this kind generally include the following:

  • Translation only – one translator works on the content
  • Translation with proofreading services – A second person checks the translator’s work. However, the proofer usually does not speak the source language.
  • Translation with editing – The editor is a translator as well, and compares the translation with the source
  • Automated quality checking – Most translation agencies use a quality assurance (QA) software to check for double-spacing or any missing punctuation.

Therefore, the process you select will influence what you will pay, and the overall results. Naturally, the big factor to consider in localization is the target language. Translation rates differ, depending on the language.

Translations Rates

Rates are higher for the following languages:

  • Swedish
  • Norwegian
  • Finnish
  • Danish
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
  • Chinese (for Hong Kong)
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Hebrew
  • French
  • Chinese (for Taiwan)
  • Portuguese (for Portugal)
  • Turkish
  • Spanish (for Spain)

The translation rates are cheaper for the following (going from highest to lowest):

  • Spanish (for Latin America)
  • Vietnamese
  • Tagalog
  • Malay
  • Lao
  • Khmer
  • Chinese (simplified version)
  • Burmese
  • Indonesian
  • Hindi
  • Thai
  • Tamil

Spanish (for Latin America) and Malay are in major revenue markets. Therefore, you may find that developing games and localizing them in these areas will help your bottom line. According to data, some languages can cost four times as much to translate than other languages. Because it is a free market, the costs depend on the supply and demand and on the prices charged by translators. For some language pairs, you can find plenty of capable translators whose rates are competitive.

Search Engines

Naturally, localizing a game would be easy if all you had to do was translate the text. Everything else about localization, however, can involve quite a lot of detail. For example, did you know that Google is not a major search engine everywhere in the world? In China, the primary search engine that is used is Baidu while Naver is used in South Korea, and Yandex in Russia.

Plus, marketing strategies differ in countries too. For instance, TV advertising is the main medium used in Taiwan. In Vietnam and China, Google Play is a minor app store with some of the regional options much more popular.

You also have to consider social media. In the US, everyone knows that Facebook is a major leader. However, that is not the case in such countries as China, Russia, Japan, or Korea. In Russia, the social media leaders are VKontakte and Odnoklassniki while Sina Weibo and Wechat are popular in China. In Korea and Japan, LINE is a social media favorite.

What are Your Market Preferences?

Further consideration to the top video game languages will be made when you consider the success of localization. For example, you want to review your decision by asking the following questions:

  • Will the gamers of the translated language like the game?
  • Approximately how many gamers will be using the game?
  • Is the market for localization a consumer market?
  • Does the market need to be localized or will English suffice?

In some countries, English is spoken to a significant degree. Therefore, you may not have to localize the game in certain market areas. You can refer to the English proficiency index to check on localization.

The following countries already have an exceptional efficiency in speaking English and therefore can play and understand games in English:

  • Denmark
  • The Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Austria

People in Malaysia and German also speak English well as a second language. Therefore, you may not have to localize your games into Malay or German, given this fact. Countries that are known to have a low proficiency in spoken and written English include Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Cambodia, Libya, and Iraq.

You also have to consider which gamers in which countries spend money. According to statistics, one-third of all mobile gamers regularly spend money. Research indicates that about 1.5 billion consumers in the world have already played a game on a tablet or smartphone. This figure represents just over half of the population globally. In Western Europe and the US, the major spenders are males who have children. For men, spending rises with age while, for women, the percentage drops.

Taking the above factors in consideration can make game development and localization more meaningful. It can also help your realize a healthy return on investment (ROI).


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