Bridging Global Gaming:
The Essential Role of Localization

In the vast and expanding universe of digital gaming, navigating the path to global success demands more than captivating gameplay. With an astonishing 90% of the global population speaking languages other than English, the opportunity for international market penetration is immense. Yet, the journey is fraught with challenges that can dramatically impact a game's global appeal and commercial success.

The art of localization extends beyond mere translation. It's an investment in cultural resonance and accessibility, ensuring that every player, regardless of their linguistic background, finds a piece of themselves in the gaming experience. However, many developers and publishers underestimate the complexity of this process. The consequences manifest as barriers to usability, diminish the perceived value of the game, and can significantly tarnish a company's brand image.

Here, we delve into common pitfalls that underscore the necessity of proficient localization practices. These real-world challenges underscore the transformative power of meticulous, culturally-informed localization strategies in transcending linguistic and cultural boundaries.

Poor translation example in video game dialogue
“I am a superheroe, yet I speaks in unrevisioned english with pleny of typos and pooor, amateurs writing.”
Games that are not translated and reviewed by professional linguists are poorly written and contain bad, embarrassing translations that scare buyers off.
Inappropriate tone in game localization for target audience
“Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee.”
It is quite common to find translated games in which the tone is not appropriate for the age or gender of target audience. The result is unusable.
Context misunderstanding in video game translation
-How will we get past the wall?
-Um, I meant “Watch” (me).
Often the same string must be translated differently depending on the context. If your team is not expert, the translations will often be totally wrong. This is particularly important when translating games, where strings are often short and much information is visual.
Text overflow issue due to longer game translations
Translations tend to be longer and they may not fit in the space available if not done carefully. Help your translation team by designing the interface to allow longer translations or provide a system to reposition text for each language.
Mixed languages appearing in localized game
Texto en 중국어 Sprachen?
Strings in the source language or mixed languages often make it into localized versions. This can be jarring for players and detracts from the immersive experience your game is meant to provide.
Errors from using machine translation in games
Conglaturation! A winner is you!
No, using machine translation or a native colleague for one missing string is not a good idea. Sometimes one wrong word can make a big difference.
Inconsistent translations for the same term in video games
Ask Jim (wasn't his name John?) to use his badge (you mean his card, right?) to open the boot (trunk?) and take the sword (is that the same weapon as the dagger?).
Using inconsistent translations for the same source term can be really confusing and frustrating for players.
Technical issues in games due to improper localization
"Oops! Error 180 (OXB!)"
Some items or features may not work if they have not been localized or tested properly.