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  • 02/16/17 11:42 PM
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    What Languages to Localize Your Steam Game Into?

    Production and Management

    Level Up Translation

    This blog was originally posted on Level Up Translation's blog. As the developer or publisher of a title that took a considerable amount of time and money to develop, the localization of your game is clearly a point you should not neglect. Localization strategies differ from one platform to another though. Here are a few tips to help you decide what languages to localize your Steam game into.

    7 languages cover 65% of Steam users

    Your game is going to hit Steam and you don't even know where to start with its localization? Don't worry, we've got you covered! Here are the 7 languages (including English) you should absolutely consider localizing your game into: 1 - Russian 10.88% of Steam users are Russian. They make up the second largest gaming population on Steam after the US. Russian players also own a whopping 8,66% of the total games owned on Steam, and PC is by far their favourite gaming platform. Don't think twice, localize your game in Russian! 2 - German 4.93% of Steam users are German and they account for 6.23% of the games owned on the platform (31.87 per user on average, against 20.09 for Russian players). Germany is also the first European country in terms of game revenue, so localizing your game in German is not only a safe bet, it's a must. 3 - Brazilian Portuguese The share of Steam users from Brazil keeps on increasing. 4.72% of Steam users are Brazilian and they account for 3.55% of the total games owned on the platform. Brazil is the most important market in South America and English proficiency is relatively low. Still hesitating to localize your game in Brazilian Portuguese? Think again! 4 - French 3.61% of Steam users are from France and they account for 3.49% of the games owned. Localizing your title in French also gives you access to Quebec as well as French-speaking countries in North and West Africa. However, if you are specifically targeting French-speaking gamers located in Canada, we do recommend that you localize your game into Quebecois as well. 5 - Chinese Chinese gamers mostly play on PC (57% of the Chinese gaming population) and with 4.86% of Steam users coming from China, your game definitely has to be localized for that market. Chinese users own relatively few games (2.46% of total games owned on Steam) but this is probably due to the relatively low number of games available in Chinese on the platform at the moment. Who said niche? If your game has the potential to find an audience in China, you know what to do next. 6. Spanish, but... Although "only" 1.43% of Steam users are from Spain, as much as about 6% of Steam users come from Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish is a pretty special case though. Should you decide to tackle the Latin American market (the second fastest growing region in terms of game revenues), we highly recommend that you go for specific locale versions. Localizing your game in the above 6 languages will have more than 35% of Steam users covered. Providing your game was developed in English (an additional 30%), this makes your game available to 65% of Steam users! Raise your hand if you would like to miss 65% of the Steam market! Anyone? No? Good... 7c9354_57e50f2179984782ab588c6599b19d7f~

    Other languages worth considering for Steam

    Italian Looking at the numbers, the Italian gaming market is far from its days of glory. However, one could hardly recommend to ignore the "I" in the traditional FIGS (French, Italian, German, Spanish). Not only has Italy a relatively low English proficiency, but choosing not to localize your title in Italian might expose you to negative criticism for not living up to the expectations of Italian gamers. Many consider the lack of Italian localization an eliminatory criteria for playing a game, and just like many French and Spanish players, Italian gamers tend to swiftly uninstall a game if it is not available in their native tongue. Polish, Ukrainian Given the share of Steam users speaking these two languages (respectively 9th and 11th population of Steam users), localizing your game in Polish and Ukrainian is a pretty smart move. They are also cheaper than French, German, Italian or Spanish, so if you have the budget, go for it! Turkish 2.04% of Steam users speak Turkish. For comparison, Swedish players represent 1.54% of Steam's audience. On the other hand, translating from English to Turkish takes nearly 50% longer than translating into FIGS. Turkish is therefore relatively expensive when it comes to localization, and we only recommend it if your budget can handle it. 7c9354_551bb61c2bbe4d3f94d3ca44f45ca429~ Has this post helped you clarify where your Steam games could sell best? Then gear up for your global quest and work with our game localization specialists who will pour their heart and soul (as well as a considerable amount of coffee/tea) into the localization of your game! Contact us now! Follow Level Up Translation on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get all our tips and insights to help you with your game localization! If you like what you just read, there's more for you! Just follow us for more game localization tips and insights: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Got a game that needs to be localized? Tell us about it! We've got plenty of XP to help you level up! Level Up Translation - Expert Video Game Localization Services - www.leveluptranslation.com

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    User Feedback

    This is true, as Italian programmer I'm disappointed by the number of very good games that receive poor reviews from my people because those games lack the "IT" lang option.

    ?Almost 1 game out of 2 in play store has some Italian review like "good game, but miss italian".


    ?Also it is true that developers usually avoid to translate to italian, our gaming industry is infamous for many AAA titles translated with automated tools with poor results (Oblivion was really infamous because all dialogues were referring to "male" interlocutors), or not translated at all (Morrowind).

    ?There was also a Group of volunteers that started a localization project (ITP: Italian Tranlsation Project) which localization quality is probably better than any dedicated localization team we have seen so far.

    ?It is thanks to ITP guys we had finally Morrowind, Planescape Torment, Fallout 1&2 and other cool titles translated into italian.

    ?We have the market: when Planescape was  sold (plus the translation patch) in newsstands it was a sold out!

    ?But game industry don't feed that market very well (If only Oblivion had a good translation... I switched to english version because of low quality translation).

    ?I can understand there are no big industries here in italy (because of high taxes, most of italian developers I know just went making games in Spain, US, or UK). And I understand we have a bad internet connection. But we have a lot of gamers. In example me and my friends spend ours into Play Store trying to find good games, without finding any (well we found few cools titles like DISTRAINT Pocket Pixel horror, which had a very well done translation by the way).

    ?I also understand that most italians just want few titles, but this culture is slowly trending to indie games (in example most people just want the last PES or GTA), but there is also people (like me) that only want to buy indie titles.


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    I've marked the article as 'review' simply because the russian locale needs to be amended. While the info is true, it should be noted that a large part of this comes from F2P titles exclusively on Steam (where russians are clearly very present).

    For a premium/retail game, russians play a smaller role as hacking is still the prevalent acquisition method (much like in China as of late 2016, waiting on an update for 2017 though).

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