Level Up Translation

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  1. Top 5 Most Expensive Game Localization Mistakes

    This post was updated earlier this month. A great documentary about The Witcher III's localization that recently came out is now featured in it. The part were CD Projekt explain how they adapted their game for their Arabic audience is totally fitting #4: Ignoring cultural factors. I highly recommend watching this. Very, very insightful interviews for devs and game translators alike. Hope you enjoy it!
  2. 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. 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 67.5% 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 9.97% of Steam users are Russian. They make up the second largest gaming population on Steam after the US. Russian players also own a whopping 8,40% of the total games owned on Steam, and PC is by far their favourite gaming platform. If your game has the potential to be successful in Russia, don't think twice: localize it in Russian! 2 - Chinese Chinese gamers mostly play on PC (57% of the Chinese gaming population) and with 9.44% of Steam users coming from China (a number that nearly doubled in a year!), 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 market research shows there's an audience for your game in China, you know what to do next. 3 - German 4.44% of Steam users are German and they account for 6.08% of the games owned on the platform (35.71 per user on average, against 21.97 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. 4 - Brazilian Portuguese The share of Steam users from Brazil is steadily increasing. 4.79% of Steam users are Brazilian and they account for 3.87% 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! 5 - French 3.21% of Steam users are from France and they account for 3.44% of the games owned. Localizing your title in French also gives you access to Belgium, 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. 6 - Spanish, but... Although “only” 1.24% of Steam users are from Spain, as much as about 5.5% of Steam users come from Spanish-speaking countries: Argentina: 1.36% Chile: 1% Peru: 0.77% Mexico: 0.76% Columbia: 0.40% 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 37.5% of Steam users covered. Providing your game was developed in English (an additional 30%), this makes your game available to 67.5% of Steam users! Raise your hand if you would like to miss 67.5% of the Steam market! Anyone? No? Good... 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 12th 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 2.22% of Steam users speak Turkish and this number has increased by 0.2 point over year, which is quite significant for this market. 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 recommend it only if your budget can handle it. 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! Like what you just read? Check our blog for more game localization best practices and tips. Need localization for your game? Tell us about it! Our game translators have plenty of XP to help you level up!
  3. Top 5 Most Expensive Game Localization Mistakes

    Glad you liked our post! If this is your first game, you might want to check and eventually print this too: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/18317297-9-steps-to-cheaper-game-development-with-localization Feel free to get in touch if you have questions regarding game localization, we're here to help! :)  
  4. This article was originally posted on Level Up Translation's blog on August 19th 2016 and updated in October 2017 Gaming is one of the few truly global industries, filled with passionate fans (like us) who really care about their favorite titles. Which means simply doing localization isn't enough. You have to nail it. Poor localization can make your games more expensive to produce, hurt sales and create all kinds of bad press. Yet we see publishers large and small making the same mistakes time and again. Here are five of the most expensive game localization mistakes you want to avoid. #1: Embedding text into the game's core files One of the most costly mistakes we often see is text being hard-coded into the core files. This will include things like the title of your game, menu text, and any dialogue printed on-screen during gameplay. It can be tempting for developers to embed this text directly into the game's code - especially if you're launching in one language first. This is a bad idea, though - even if you don't have any plans to expand into other languages at this stage. Instead, you'll want to store all text as variables in a separate resource file. This way nobody needs to plough through source code to add translated text into the game. You can simply add the new variable and place the translation inside its own dedicated file. This not only makes future localizations easier for your team but also for the translators you call in. #2: Cutting corners on translation This isn't only a problem for game localization but any project that needs accurate translation. The fact is, cutting corners on translation only creates more work further down the line - and that means spending more money, too. Forget machine translation and don't even think about free tools like Google Translate. Not only are they world away from producing the accuracy you need, they're a security threat for any sensitive content. Such translation tools are vulnerable to hackers via your Internet connection - especially via WiFi. These risks are widely publicized but they may not be something you associate with online translation. More worryingly, anything you type in is handed over to the translation provider (eg: Google). It becomes their data and they can do anything they want with it. Speak to your translation agency about non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). These contracts make sure everything in your game stays completely confidential - so you can relax while translators are working on the localization of your game. Money-wise, the reality is, if you cut corners on translation, you'll only end up paying more for it later. We get far too many partners who need to start all over again because they tried to take the faster/cheaper option on translation. Take shortcuts and you'll end up with the kind of mistakes we still mock the arcade classics for... – or worse. #3: Using translators who don't know your game (or video games at all) With context being so important in game localization, the more a translator knows about your video game, the better. We still see too many publishers handing over spreadsheets full of text to translators who basically know nothing about the game they're working on, or worse, nothing about gaming at all. Instead, you should seek out experienced video game translators and give them the chance to play your title whenever this is possible. The more they know about the gaming experience you're trying to build, the better equipped they'll be to recreate that in another language. If you can't give translators access to play your game, then at least get someone in with a track record of translating games in your genre. Be sure to hand over as much information about your title as possible: glossaries, visuals, style guides and any translations you may have from previous releases. And if your game is about to hit platforms like Playstation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo's consoles, make sure way ahead of submitting your build that it meets Sony, Microsoft and big "N"'s strict naming conventions in all languages, or risk getting it rejected. Here as well, it takes an experienced localization service provider to go smoothly through that phase. #4: Ignoring cultural factors Accurate translation isn't the only goal of localization. You also need to be sure your titles are culturally sensitive to each market - or risk alienating one of your target audiences. Much of this comes down to the actual content of your game: the story, characters and events that take place. In this very insightful documentary about The Witcher III's localization, CD Projekt explain how they dealt with "butts, gods and prostitution" in order not to offend Arabic markets (start from 13:00, but the whole documentary is actually a must-watch). Just ask Nintendo how important it is to get video game localization right. It spent the first quarter of 2016 embroiled in a localization row that escalated into debates over sexism, homophobia, child pornography, slut-shaming, prostitution and a hate campaign against one of its most infamous employees. It was pretty intense. It all came down to a localization vs censorship debate that peaked with Fire Emblem Fates. The version for US and EU markets was heavily altered from the Japanese original and fans were less than pleased. Shortly after, there were protests in Hong Kong after the firm decided to alter the name of beloved Pokemon Pikachu. It sparked a centuries-old sentiment of China encroaching on Hong Kong culture - all of which was reignited by the slight change of a name to one character. Source: Quartz #5: Thinking of localization as the last step of game development Perhaps the most expensive mistake you can make with game localization is letting it sit at the bottom of your to-do list. It's easy to think of this as the last stage of production - but that's a costly assumption. A classic example is the humble game description; vital to selling your game but something often overlooked. These few words are your only pitch to convince new gamers - especially if you're not creating a famous brand title (eg: Star Wars, Final Fantasy, etc.) All you have to do is visit Google Play to see how little effort many publishers put into these descriptions: A lot of words in there but not much that makes any sense. And this publisher didn't even bother trying... It rarely ends with game descriptions either. Publishers who are happy to settle for this kind of first impression tend to take similar shortcuts in other areas of development. The amazing thing about video game localization gone wrong is that most mistakes could have been avoided with the right planning. Just go back to our first point about hard-coding text into a game and you can see how poor localization planning makes production costs skyrocket. Or think how many problems Nintendo could have avoided this year by localizing its content during the writing process, rather than leaving it until post-production. The fact is localization should be included at the very beginning of game development - and you need to allocate enough time and budget for the entire process. This way you can avoid extra workload and costly mistakes further down the line. So there you have it - the five most expensive game localization mistakes. They're all completely avoidable with the right planning in place from day one and the game localization company with the right experience and methodology. Like what you just read? Check our blog for more game localization best practices and tips. Need localization for your game? Tell us about it! Our game translators have plenty of XP to help you level up!