Gaming translation can help you engage players from around the world and maximise revenue by targeting the most lucrative foreign-speaking markets. With the global gaming market generating a record $180.3 billion in 2021 and expected to set a new record this year, interest in gaming translation is rapidly growing.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know about gaming translation, why it is so important and how to overcome its biggest challenges.
Gaming translation is important if you want foreign-speaking audiences to enjoy the full experience of playing your game. It is easy to see how this would be important to the gamers themselves, but how does this convert into higher revenue and market performance for the game publishers?
To help answer this, here are some of the reasons why gaming translation is so important:
The global gaming market is, well… global with thousands of major languages spoken around the world.
Gaming translation makes your titles accessible to a wider audience.
Successful translation makes audiences feel like the game was developed specifically for them, in their native language.
Translation allows you to control the experience for each market and avoid any confusion.
Native experiences also increase playing time, engagement and immersion.
Increase downloads, sales and revenue in each target market.
Target lucrative language markets to maximise revenue.
Drive growth by pulling in revenue from multiple markets.
Turn loyalty and engagement into repeat purchases.
Gamers care about translation, a lot.
Above all, the global gaming market truly is global and this opens up immense opportunities for the developers and publishers willing to create equally immersive experiences for gamers from different language and cultural backgrounds.
Following on from this, gamers really do care about translation and we have previously seen the problems poor gaming translation (or a complete lack of it) can cause in various instances. These were discussed in different articles we shared on the Jackpot Translation blog (Jackpot Translation, is the gaming-specific branch of translate plus).
- Why do gamers care so much about localization?
- 7 hard lessons learned from poor game localization
- Nintendo sparks protests in Hong Kong over Pokémon localization
- Fire Emblem fans fume at game’s localization team
- Football Manager 2017 slammed by negative reviews for lack of Chinese translation
The top game developers and publishers use gaming translation to target lucrative markets and maximise revenue by creating native experiences for high-value audiences. A publisher like Nintendo can localize a game for all of the key language markets (English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc.) and give itself the best chance of performing in each market.
It is important to keep in mind that gamers vote with their pounds, dollars, yen or whatever their native currency may be. Immersed gamers also tend to spend more time playing new title releases and more money on in-game purchases from the same developers or game publishers.
By translating for multiple languages, you also increase your audience size for marketing purposes.
Having a wider audience to work with can significantly boost marketing efforts with more hype surrounding new titles, more conversations taking place online, as well as more community engagement on social media and reviews on marketplaces or app stores.
The role of game localization in gaming translation
Gaming translation is not as simple as converting a document from one language into another. A code translation of the content into the gameplay is required; translations of user interfaces; implementing a language selection menu as well as translating game listings for marketplaces and app stores, along with many other tasks.
Your aim with gaming translation is to create a native experience for each audience so the game feels like it was designed specifically for them.
Game localization is the broader service of translating gaming experiences to maximise engagement with gamers in every language. Localization optimises every aspect of your game to facilitate translation, including gameplay, user interfaces and game listings.
Here are some of the key tasks game localization completes:
Solve instances where direct translation does not work or is not interpreted in the intended way.
Structuring code and game files correctly for seamless translation and allowing for the easy addition of other languages in the future – without touching the core gaming code.
Automated deployment of translated content into your game, using translation technology tools.
Menus & UIs
Translation of menus, user interfaces and the experience outside of gameplay.
Ensuring users can select/change the default language of the game.
Text often expands or contracts once translated, which can break user interfaces and layouts. This is something a localization team will help you overcome.
Localization also checks the cultural interpretation of the language in your game to avoid unnecessary confusion or offence.
If your developers are inexperienced with coding multilingual games, technical consultants can advise on how to structure the code and files for optimal performance.
Without a solid localisation strategy, any game translation efforts will be essentially reduced to translating scripts and mockups with no means of delivery.
A common area of confusion surrounding localization is the adaptation of gameplay. In instances where a game includes extensive cultural depictions, historical references, explicit content (this means different things in different markets) or anything that may cause offence, the gameplay may need adapting for specific markets.
Technically, localization focuses on the language of a game, not the gameplay itself. Once the adaptation of the gameplay begins, companies are venturing into game adaptation or game culturalisation . That being said, there are clear overlaps between localization and adaptation so it has become very common for localization to be used as a blanket term for both services.
If you are not sure which gaming translation services you need, you can speak to our localization experts by calling 44 (0)20 7324 0950 or filling out the form on our contact page for impartial advice.