Game localisation testing plays a crucial role in translating games for multiple language audiences. It ensures each version of your game delivers the required quality to maximise ROI in all of your target markets – and avoid a world of problems that poor translation can create.
In this article, we take a closer look at game localisation testing, why it is an essential element of your translation strategy and how to get it right.
What is game localisation testing?
Game localisation testing or localisation quality assurance (LQA) is the process of testing and analysing the quality of a game’s localisation. It runs a series of tests to review the linguistic and translation quality while also assessing other gaming factors affected by translation and the multilingual experience. This includes everything from UI and UX design to any in-game story or character elements that impact the gaming experience for each language audience.
LQA is the last stage of the localisation process and it should involve tests with real users from each target language audience. Such an approach will allow for the collection of qualitative feedback from the people your game is designed for and gain insights internal tests will struggle to produce.
For example, let’s say you’re localising the same game for complex language variations such as European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Traditional Mandarin and Simplified Mandarin. With a robust game localisation testing system, you can get native speakers from each target language to test the quality of your translations, as well as the more objective qualities of the game in each language, such as the broader gaming experience, the clarity of in-game dialogue and the relatability of the game characters.
What does the LQA process involve?
A complete game localisation testing strategy includes three core components:
- Linguistic QA: Tests the quality of translation and linguistic elements of game localisation, including scripts, voice-overs, subtitles and user interface text.
- Visual QA: Tests the visual and design aspects of gaming localisation.
- Functional QA: Tests the functional aspects of translation and localisation, such as UI performance, language selection menus and the synchronisation of translations with gameplay.
Now, let’s look at some of the most important tests to run in each of the three LQA components.
A) Linguistic QA
- Grammar, spelling and punctuation
- Numerical issues: units of measurement, dates, financial figures/symbols, etc.
- Contextual issues
- Natural flow
- Translation consistency
- Cultural references
- Historical references
- Inappropriate language
- Inaccurate translations
B) Visual QA
- UI problems
- Layout, element placement issues
- Missing elements, visibility issues
- Text expansion
- Truncated characters
- Font issues
- Untranslatable words
- Colours (where colour conveys meaning)
- Game and character design
- Visual compatibility (device, OS, browser, etc.)
C) Functional QA
- Functional UI and UX issues
- Keyboard or input problems
- Technical performance
- Missing text
- Incorrect text displayed
- Incorrect audio played
- Audio corruption
- NPS issues
- Language selection
It is highly recommended that internal tests for the above listed items are carried out in order to catch any localisation issues before running them with external testers. Hopefully, these internal tests are going to be enough to solve these issues but external tests with professional, native-speaking game testers are still going to be essential.
Not only will this weed out any remaining technical issues, but also provide essential qualitative feedback about the quality of the game localisation that technical tests can’t produce (e.g. the overall gaming experience in each language).
How to get game localisation testing right
Now that we have explored the key elements of game localisation testing, let’s discuss the most important factors in getting LQA right – the first time around.
Invest in quality game localisation
The best strategy for localisation quality assurance is to invest in quality localisation from the beginning. This will result in fewer issues and significantly reduce your LQA workload, allowing for a faster and cleaner testing period. A quality LQA system will iron out the last few issues of game localisation, but it is does equal to a fix-all solution for poor localisation.
Hire professional native-speaking game testers
Game localisation testing can involve opening up your game to real gamers in each language market but you can’t rely on gamers alone. With professional game testers, specific testing goals can be set. In doing so, game testers will know exactly what to look for and provide feedback on.
Test early & often
This is a staple practice for software testing and it applies equally to game localisation testing. The sooner testing starts, the earlier you will catch issues and fix them before they cause more widespread problems. Likewise, testing will regularly catch more issues faster across the development cycle, even if you are only running internal tests until the final stage of LQA.
Outsource everything you can’t do in-house
Quality LQA testing requires a lot of talent and resources, many of which you may not have the capability to manage in-house. The best game developers outsource everything they cannot do themselves and work with professional agencies that specialise in game localisation testing, which makes all the difference.
Do you need a more robust game localisation testing system?
If you need to bolster up your game localisation testing system, our team can help. Get in touch with us to discuss your translation strategy and how our localisation team can help you enhance your LQA system.