In the past, video games were thought to be just for kids, but now more than ever, more adults are reaching for controllers to play their favourite games. In fact, many studies show that the typical video game player is now between the ages of 18 and 35.
Long gone are the days of Battlestar Galactica and Donkey Kong. Once, these games were played inside of arcades on giant machines. Now, games complex MMO Games can be played by gamers in the comfort of their own homes connecting online with fellow gamers across the globe.
Many games, like Mortal Kombat, the Call of Duty series, and more have become household names across the world. The success of these games is based on game localization.
Game localization is a complex job that requires a localization expert and a team of translators, voice-talents, audio producers and engineers. During the localization process, different parts of a game are changed slightly so that players in other countries and cultures can get a better experience.
While many people see video games as child’s play, the work that goes into localizing these games is arduous and time-consuming. In this article, you will learn some of the many steps to the process of game localization.
One of the hallmarks of a good game is its ability to be consistent. Game localization typically takes place after the original game in a different language is made. That means that the game is ripped apart, changed, and put back together.
Consistency can come in a number of forms. Mostly, the consistency needs to come in how certain things within the game are referred to after the translation. Just like in English, some languages can allow you to say the same thing in different ways. For example, if you want to translate a fighting game, you want the fighting moves to say the same thing in the same way throughout the game.
Consistency can also come in how the date and time within the game is displayed. This differs from country to country, and can be confusing for gamers who are unfamiliar with the original format.
The west has become wildly popular for its video games. Because of this, many games include text that is written in English. However, when this text is localized and translated, it can expand due to the use of extra characters or letters during the translation process.
In order to make sure all of this information is presented to the player, a localization expert would need to format the game to include the extra characters. This may mean that the person playing a newly-localized game will have to click through four or five screens of text as opposed to one or two.
In addition, some languages are written or read differently than English. Some Asian languages are such Japanese can sometimes be written from top to bottom, while English is written and read from left to right. This will be cause to reformat how the information shows up to the player.
FINDING THE TEXT INSIDE THE CODE
Video games are a type of software, and software is made up of code and variables. This code is what makes the game what it is. Many games log the player’s name information and their progress. On a loading screen, that may look like [player] is on level [level number].
In order to change the text, the localization expert would have to leave the game code alone but also isolate and lock it separately to change the text to the text your target language gamers can understand. If the expert deletes anything, it could majorly change how the game works and operates. After the text is changed, it can be put back into the code and can be tested to see if there are any errors. A good localization agency can work with the gaming software developers to decide on an appropriate approach.
VOICE OVER TRANSLATIONS
Cut scenes are very popular in many games today. They are little clips of the game that require no input by the gamer but can explain a party of the storyline or the objective of the next section of the game.
These cut scenes often include audio of one of the characters talking. This information has to be translated so that a voiceover artist can read along the translation that can then be matched up to the characters actions during the cut scene.
This normally means that a localization expert will have to listen to the cut scene or other audio, write down what it says in the original language, translate it, and provide it to the voiceover artist, and then re-insert it into the game. Voiceover for gaming is a specialized field often requiring dubbing talents who can modulate their voices to give a new voice to the characters in the game while keeping the original mood of the game.
As you can see, game localization is a big task, but it is well worth the trouble to devoted gamers. For information on how VEQTA can help you, get in touch today.