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We know how costly and challenging it’s developing professionally made video games. We also understand how important it’s to keep your studio profitable in order to make many more cool games in the future. That’s why every savvy developer should find cost-effective ways to produce games and reduce their time to market (TTM) to make a dent in this competitive industry.
There are ways to speed up the development process by utilizing timesaving tools, game engines, and methodologies. However, many newer developers often overlook the actual game localization processes, as they’re neck deep in figuring out their asset pipelines, gameplay elements, and marketing strategies. That’s why we’d like to shed some light on speeding up these vital processes by providing several handy tips below!
1. Plan Carefully And Start Early
Game localization should never be an afterthought but carefully considered during the initial planning stages of your game. Early planning and implementation of localization will save your team time, money and production issues. If you leave it too late, then there’s a risk that your team wrongly hard codes text making it difficult and time-consuming to localize later on. Furthermore, you’ll likely have to make more changes for various target markets, which could’ve been avoided or reduced if implemented procedurally during development.
2. Brief Your Translators In Detail
Whether you’re hiring freelance translators or a localization service, it’s important that you do this as soon as possible. The earlier you consult with translators, the easier it’s to pinpoint potential challenges and deal with them in time. Moreover, you should brief your translation team in detail by providing them all the information they’ll need such as the game’s lore, its universe, character bios, and plot. If translators are already avid gamers, then reveal gameplay details and allow them to play builds.
3. Provide Your Translators With Powerful Tools
Game developers have powerful tools at their disposal such as Unity, Maya, and Photoshop to create engaging games as quickly as possible. Therefore, there’s no reason why your translation team shouldn’t have access to tools that will boost their productivity, and will inevitably speed up the localization process, reduce costs, and help you track language translations in one place.
Interestingly, XLOC was the first Content Management System (CMS) for games and has been invaluable for managing and linking up with Translation Memory (TM) tools. It’s enabled our partners and ourselves to enjoy a smooth localization process and stay organized while working with a centralized repository.
4. Localize Only What Is Necessary
You’ve managed to hire some of the best translators in the business and can’t wait to localize all aspects of your game for every market imaginable. But is this a good strategy? Not quite, and we suggest that you carefully determine what should and not be localized beforehand.
For example, it makes sense to localize your game’s press kit for markets it will likely be popular in, but it’s counterproductive and an unnecessary expense for markets where your game will only sell in small quantities. Work closely with your marketing team, publisher, and digital download portals to pinpoint where you should focus your localization efforts for efficiency and speed.
5. Use Text Strings And Variables Effectively
Preparing translations for different languages is quite challenging when one considers the wide deviation in grammar between languages. Ensuring cohesiveness of various localizations that follow each language’s distinct grammar rules and any changes made can trip up even the most experienced translators. The best way to lock down translations effectively is by implementing full sentences as text strings and storing number values as variables. This method makes it easier and faster to implement changes when necessary.
Developing exciting video games isn’t for the faint-hearted, as there’s plenty of things that can go wrong. Speeding up development, particularly the localization process poses its own challenges but following these few simple tips will diminish some of the guesswork and help keep your project on track. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance with the localization of your game!