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Getting started with gaming translation and gaming translation services

Gaming has gone global, meaning that if you want your game to be successful, it’s time to localize. 

Worth more than $300 billion and with an estimated 2.7 billion gamers worldwide, to say the gaming industry is big is a slight understatement. With the increased means of online gaming and the ability to play with others from various regions across the globe, companies have had to step up and improve their customer experience and look towards multilingual translation services and player support.

Gaming localization, however, isn’t as straightforward as a website localization strategy. The interactive and visual aspect of gaming makes the translation process of games much more complicated. While gaming localization and multilingual player support may be more extensive, it is necessary to have a game reach the global market.

Why gaming localization and translation are important and why it’s different

Candy crush

Gamers and the gaming industry vary vastly depending on what part of the world you’re in. – Photo by Beata Dudová from Pexels

Expanding a game globally is essential to ensure the game’s success and longevity but knowing this aspect is just one of many challenges with gaming localization. A game that is poorly localized will feel the wrath of the gamers that have played it and can demolish all the hard work that has gone into the game’s creation.  

The video game market is expansive and widely different depending on what part of the world you’re in. For example, the popularity of different video game platforms, such as PC, console or mobile, varies by region. Currently, the top three video game markets worldwide are China ($40.95 billion), the US ($36.92 billion) and Japan (18.68 billion), but each of these regions tends to favour different platforms. Consoles are popular within English-speaking countries like the US, but they are harder to attain in other markets, whereas in China, mobile games rank at the top of the most played. These differences make cracking into these gaming markets challenging as release strategies and various localization strategies and support are needed.

Once you’ve decided where to expand, you need to consider all of the aspects of the game that need to be catered to for that market so that your gamers get the best experience. Gamer engagement is key to keeping people playing, spending money, and coming back for more, so any blunders in the localization process change the experience for your gamers and potentially result in poor sales and retention. 

Examples of successful and unsuccessful game localizations

Geralt of Rivia figurine

Geralt and his story are recognised worldwide. Can your game have the same impact? – Photo by Kasun Asanka on Unsplash

Translation blunders have brought failure for even the biggest companies, and the gaming market is no exception. With the direction that gaming is going, especially with most games having some online aspect to them, gaming translation and localization and refinement are quickly becoming tied to a game’s success.

Related: Words that altered history – translation blunders in international relations

The Witcher 3: Wild HuntAn example of how gaming localization should be done.

CD Project Red did such a masterful job of localizing the Witcher 3 that this 2015 game still holds sway today and is one of the company’s selling games with many active players. Its effective localization was executed so well that it could pass for a locally-made game. Gaming translation services and proper translation management were used for each specific market that the game was released. The production crews even temporarily moved to where the game was being localized to create a truly authentic local experience. The game’s voice-over local accuracy has been one of its most highly regarded features. 

The success of this game is a testament to the power of an organized and properly executed localization strategy.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Gaming translation at its weakest.

For a gaming series as large as Call of Duty, Activision should have known better. There was a massively controversial translation error in this game that became so notorious that it’s still held up as a standard of what not to do with gaming localization. 

When Modern Warfare 2 came out in 2009, there was a mission in which one of the characters said, “Remember, no Russian” this was to remind the character not to speak the language. In the Japanese version of the game, however, this quote was translated to “Kill them. They’re Russians”. This translation was so controversial that Sony Russia decided not to release the game in its Playstation store. While this quote was the most notorious, the game was, overall, so poorly translated that gamers often had to ask for additional assistance to get through missions. The game has since been remastered to fix these mistakes, but the errors of the initial release are not likely to be forgotten.  

Taking the time to find the right translation solutions for your game will help to avoid disasters like this one.   

Common aspects involved in gaming translation

Knowing what translation aspects are needed for your game is essential, as gaming is an immersive, interactive, and media-rich experience that requires much more than a mere translation to be understood and appreciated by a new audience. Will your game’s story carry the same meaning or impact in a new culture or region? Does that culturally-specific joke mean the same thing in another country? Will the game’s imagery create the same atmosphere for a different culture? Do you require foreign language voice-over talent or foreign language transcription services? What about customer service access in multiple languages? 

Here is a brief list of the most common aspects of gaming translation to consider,

  • Visuals: All graphics, images, videos, artwork, and advertisements.
  • Text: Subtitles, the user interface menus, captions.
  • Audio: Multilingual voice-over recordings or dubbing for all speech and narratives.

Related: How to find the perfect voice for your multilingual voice over

It’s also easy to miss items such as the game’s social media pages and forums, customer service pages and contacts, marketing materials and advertising (digital and print), product packaging such as instruction manuals and user guides, localized product pricing, and website localization for the game.

Even with this short list, it’s obvious how much work is needed to ensure a quality translation and localization of a game.

Steps to prepare for gaming localization

PC Gamer

From PC to console gaming, a solid global strategy and setup should be considered. – Photo by Sean Do on Unsplash

If you’re ready to localize your game and don’t know where to get started, here are a few ways you can prepare for gaming localization,

  • Decide your gaming market and language: This is a big decision and should be based on the type of game you have and the amount of translation you require. For example, if you have a mobile game, the Chinese market would be a great place to look at localizing. Still, then you need to decide if you’re going to localize in Hong Kong or the Mainland, as each of these regions uses a different form of written Chinese.
  • Choosing a content translation services partner: Like it or not, proper translation management is essential. A translation partner is the key to getting the most authentically localized game possible. Partner with a translation agency that knows your region and goals and let them help you manage the process to get the best results.
  • Documentation preparation: Consider all aspects of the game. There may be legal agreements needing legal translation, so it’s important to gather all essential documents for the translation process. Prepare a translation kit that includes LSP agreements, workflows, test plans, style guides, glossary key terms etc.
  • Budget for misunderstandings and extra quality assurance: Have an established budget and guide that includes extra for gaming localization services, any potential misunderstandings, and extra quality assurance testing. International translation companies can help you develop a realistic budget for your localization goals.
  • Get gamer feedback: If your game is already on the market, reach out to your players and see what features they would like to have or what they feel is missing so that you can consider that when localizing. 

At Into23, we offer gaming translation services and expertise for any language and region. Make us a part of your game’s global success with our high-quality translations and expert translation management to help make your game the next big thing. Ready player one? Contact us today to get started.

Top 6 emerging translation trends of 2022

What types of marketing translation trends are becoming prominent in 2022? Here’s what to expect for the remainder of the year.

Content translation services have seen a massive increase in demand, with much of this growth being linked to the internet, the pandemic, our global expansion and uses of technology. The market worth of this industry has grown and is looking to grow further in 2022 as the pandemic has slowly stabilised and more people and places of business took their work and education online and have kept it there. 

What has driven growth in the translation industry in 2022?

Man in pjs

The pandemic saw more people working from home and increased online spending. – Photo by Thirdman

The biggest driver behind the growth of the translation industry has been the increased need for people to access information in different languages and cultures, coinciding with the growth of technology and our reliance on it. Technology has made it possible for people to communicate in meaningful ways across the globe in various formats and languages, which became increasingly important during the pandemic. Language translation technology has also come a long way, making it faster and more accessible for people and businesses to get what they need.

While translation solutions come in many forms, depending on your business or need, these areas are some of the most noticeable upward trends of 2022. They are relevant aspects to consider if you’re looking to expand globally. 

Multilingual customer support

Chatbot

Trends show that people prefer to contact companies via messaging apps when looking for support. – Photo by mohamed_hassan

If you have a platform that has been localized for customers, you’ll also need multilingual customer service support. As more people use their phones for everyday tasks, from emails to banking, these services must be provided and serviced in the customer’s language. The same goes for customer support. Today, 67% of consumers expect to be able to message or chat with a business when they need support. As this number is likely to increase, businesses that want to continue to reach their customers globally must consider multilingual customer support in their localization strategies. A marketing translation agency can provide support and resources in multiple languages to help fortify an existing localization strategy or start a new one. 

Increased use of machine translation post-editing

Machine translation has become an essential part of the translation industry and is a trend that has continued upward for several years. 

What is machine translation post-editing?

Machine translation is when you enter content into an automated software translation tool, and the machine converts it into the target language. Google translate is the most well-known machine translator that most of us use in our daily lives. However, the results of these machine translations alone vary drastically in terms of accuracy and are not sufficient enough to be used in business for a variety of reasons.

Related: Why Google translate isn’t effective enough for business

The post-editing portion comes after the machine translation. A professional translator will go over the machine translation and compare it to the original text to get the most accurate translation. Machine translation post-editing is desirable for businesses and marketing translation as it offers a quick turnaround at a lower cost.  

The machine translation market has been steadily increasing and is anticipated to reach 230.67 million USD by 2026. 

Increase usage of eLearning platforms

Woman wearing a mask

The pandemic changed our lives, but one of the largest impacts was felt in the education sector. – Photo by Edward Jenner

The pandemic may have kept us at home the last few years, but eLearning platforms kept us learning and connected. Forbes estimates that by 2025, the eLearning sector could be worth as much as USD 355 billion dollars. As the business and education sectors looked towards online learning tools and software to maintain a global reach, the videos, courses and quizzes also needed to be updated and translated for global audiences. This newfound flexibility offers benefits to businesses, educators and students as people can work and learn on their own time from the comfort of a home or café. eLearning and eLearning translation shows no signs of slowing and will continue to increase in demand as more and more people and businesses maintain a work/study from home approach. 

Businesses using media localization

Two different types of media are trending right now, podcasts and videos. Podcasts are now being used for business, pleasure, and education and have seen a large rise in listeners, especially considering they’ve only been around for two decades. It is estimated that there will be around 424.2 million podcast listeners worldwide in 2022 and that podcasts will be a USD 94.88 billion industry by 2028.

Videos are also an essential part of today’s media market. In 2019 alone, the average person’s video consumption was 84 minutes daily. Enter the pandemic, and by 2021 that average was nearly 100 minutes per day. Now we’re in the beginning part of 2022, and video streaming and downloads are anticipated to account for 82% of the global internet traffic. A study done by Wyzowl found that 81% of businesses now create at least some video content. Point of fact, if you’re not using videos in your business marketing materials, you should be. 

With the impressive rise of both video and podcast consumption, the need for localization, such as audio transcription services, multilingual voice-over services, or subtitling services, becomes necessary for going global and is a trend that will continue well past 2022. 

Subtitles have become a must

As previously mentioned, videos are currently making up the majority of consumer internet traffic. To make business ads, videos, and video courses more accessible for everyone, subtitles have become essential. 

Even outside of any language or subtitle translation, many of the videos people consume on social media are often viewed on mute, meaning that if a video doesn’t have subtitles, it’s more likely to be skipped and scrolled past. Subtitles have become a required feature for views and impressions, even when the language hasn’t been changed.  

Further, if you do require language translation for a video to reach new audiences, subtitling is generally more affordable than dubbing and is just as effective in reaching your target audiences. 

Multilingual SEO strategies 

By now, it’s obvious that the biggest trend is the translation and localization of businesses in general. This is an upward trend that was growing even before the pandemic. Going global means having an online presence and reaching and connecting to audiences in new and meaningful ways with technology. While website localization is becoming more common, it is often an afterthought. Businesses are now opting to create a multilingual SEO strategy from the get-go so that their business content and practices are aligned with their global goals from the start.

What is a multilingual SEO strategy?

It is the practice of optimizing your SEO in more than one language. This includes everything from websites, eCommerce platforms, video content, social media, customer support and more. The best way to develop a multilingual SEO strategy is to work with a translation project management company that offers multilingual translation services and marketing translations. This ensures an effective strategy that is aimed at a specific target audience and ensures effective use of your business’s resources along with a quality translation that showcases the values and goals of your business. 

Into23 offers quality translation solutions for all major global languages to help your business enter any global market. Bring your business into 2022 and beyond with our transparent and quality language solutions. Contact us today for a free quote to start your global journey.