Part 11: Conclusion
So we've now reached the final chapter of our comprehensive games localization guide. After covering so many topics, what are the key takeaways and core message that this guide should have given you? Well rather than ask you to re-read everything all over again, this conclusive chapter will serve as a quick refresher on all the most important parts of the translation journey, sending you on your way with the knowledge to succeed as well as some final parting messages.
By now it should be clear that what makes the difference in an average video game and one that captures the imagination of the global gaming community is often in the amount of care taken when bringing them to market. A pretty good game can deliver a mediocre experience to players in Asian and Western European markets when translation and localizing efforts have fallen short. A truly successful game gives players in every market an engaging and seamless experience that has been ideally adapted for international markets by a world-class localization team using the industry's most robust processes.
Once you've determined that it's time to start working on the localization for your game, you'll find yourself engaging with an entirely new and broad field of knowledge, encompassing expert linguistics, wide-ranging technology, nuanced multicultural studies and intensive process management systems, with industry experts ready to help you through every phase of the exciting process.
Start localization as early in the development process as possible
Starting early is key to ensuring optimum quality of the localization process. This advice really can't be overemphasized. Assuming localization can be tacked on after all the coding in the source language is finished as a hasty process with minimal resources frequently leads to disappointing results. Localization needs to become a part of development or even of design. It needs to be understood as an integral process of blending adaptations for international users organically into development, to deliver the global gaming community the most authentic experience possible.
Start with information gathering, identify a localization service provider and move to complete pre-production, diligently completing budgets and legal documents that constitute the structure within which your project can be realized as early in the product development as possible. You'll thank yourself later.
Carefully choose and equip translators
Video gamers are a digital media consumer population apart from all others, with a shared language and understanding of the unique skills and satisfaction involved in the ideal experience of a great game. That sets a high bar for game translators who are charged with conveying exactly the same experience that the game creator intended to internationally located players and markets. To communicate with gamers through a game, strict technical accuracy is not nearly enough. Translators need to be both skilled linguists and skilled gamers in order to relate to gamers and fully appreciate the experience of gaming.
Follow best practices
Adhere to a set of proven best practices. Make sure to test your localized game through as many QA channels as possible, including final pre-market product testing with your target international audience. You've brought your game a long way up to the point of a pending overseas market launch. You've already determined that it's a time for calculated risk taking, so the point becomes about making sure you've factored all key considerations into your assessment.
Understand your international target market
Educate yourself on the data that supports or fails to support entry into a given foreign market with your game product. Make a well informed decision about how well your game should be expected to fare in a particular country, region and local market, before you embark on localization for that area.
Gather insights from game market performance data, consumer market data, product development consumer research, localization market experts and other knowledgeable sources. Watch for trends and pay attention to global gaming market forecasts and broader economic projections to help you formulate strategic growth plans for your game enterprise.
Only entrust your game creation to a team with a compelling track record
The games localization company you hire will manage all staffing, translation, culturalization, quality assurance processes, and technology applications. Your LSP will be responsible for these major project management components and everything else involved in localizing your game assets into a package that is positioned for success in the international target market you've chosen to enter. So, the point here is that you need a well-experienced team of localization specialists with an industry track record of consistently top-quality project outcomes.
Build the game you want to play! Just bear in mind the multicultural players whom you'll want to experience the game exactly as you designed it to be experienced. Those are the gamers who'll make a great game a global success as long as it's well-localized for their use.
Along the way, maintain realistic expectations. Mistakes are a fact of life in the localization industry, as in any other, even for the most talented and diligent teams of localization experts. Learn from your own past experience and from others' mistakes. Read some peer articles, talk to game localization experts, talk to gamers around the globe and test, and then test again, and maybe test once more for good measure.
Be a part of the gaming community. Immersing yourself in the gaming realm will help you keep perspective and manage your own expectations. Ultimately, insist on quality and surround yourself with others who share your deep commitment to it.
So at long last we have reached our conclusion. We hope you have found this guide as helpful as possible in understanding how the translation and localization process works within the gaming industry. The goal of this guide first and foremost is to provide you with the information necessary to ask the types of questions that can help you find the best processes and services for your projects, ensuring you make well-informed decisions that will determine the future of your game in the global marketplace.
For more information about video game localization
If you're preparing to localize your video game and would like some expert advice on pre-production steps, localization processes, industry best practices, game translation, key technologies, international gaming markets, quality assurance testing or anything else, feel free to get in touch with us here at Andovar. With years of experience in games localization, we're happy to answer your questions and help you make sure that everything that needs to be done is being done to realize your gaming vision.