Lessons on Localizing Videogames. Part 2

Let’s talk about localization testing. Could you expand a little bit more about what this process entails?

What happens if developers don’t do the localization testing step?

One thing that I’ve been seeing in some games is that subtitles don’t match what characters are saying. My example could be the subtitle “I am going out for dinner” when the voice acting is “I’m going out with a group of friends.”. Can localization testing help catch this?

As a localization manager, do you do something either unique or specific on a case-by-case basis that we haven’t touched on yet??

Is there a minimum amount of time that it takes to localize a game, and how long does it usually take?

  1. The amount of text in the game: how much we have to localize.
  2. The number of languages: some languages are a bit more difficult to localize than others, just because it takes more time to assemble a team of translators and proofreaders
  3. The amount of gameplay: it takes time to go through some gameplay features.

I’ve spoken to developers internationally, especially last year, and one of the ideas that stood out to me is that you really can’t think about video games locally anymore. It drives home the point that in today’s market, people want accessibility and approachability. If somebody is buying a game, they want to understand what’s being said…

It’s interesting that you brought up translating into Brazilian or to the Brazilian country! I’ve spoken to developers from studios in Brazil. Brazil’s really trying to position itself as kind of like the next big video game country, in terms of supporting developers, trying to build studios…

I’ve been playing indie games from the international market for about a decade, and there is a very noticeable difference between the games that came from other cultures back in 2012 to where we’re seeing them now. What we’re seeing today is that even though games may reference local or cultural elements, developers are trying to make their games as wide-reaching as possible.

One thing that we haven’t really talked about during our cast is the pricing for localization. Could you expand a little bit on what would be on the cheaper side and what’s very expensive?

  • On the cheaper side, we would have the most popular languages, the most localizable languages across the world. These are usually the European languages.
  • In the middle rate group, we would have the Asian languages and also the European languages, which are less common, like Dutch.
  • Then we have the highest rate group, which is Scandinavian and Japanese.

And when deciding which languages fall into the low tier and which ones fall into the higher tier; does the complexity of the language also factor in?

Any tips or any suggestions you can give developers in terms of getting the most bang for their buck?

Does Alconost work with developers post-release?

Anything else that we didn’t touch on in the localization process you would like to talk about?

Anything funny or unique that came up with localization that would be a good story for a developer to listen to?

It’s gotta get crazy from a localization standpoint if the developer says: let’s just have a hundred names that could possibly show up, and just keep adding them for every single character…

Any final point you like to say about localization to end the cast on?

Sure! So, with that, I think we’ll wrap up our discussion for tonight. Yana, again it’s been a pleasure chatting with you about this topic!

Okay! So I think what that will endings for this week’s cast. Thank you so much for tuning in! If you are a developer working on an upcoming project or just want to talk game design with me, we are always happy to have new guests! And be sure to look at my latest books, including Game Design Deep Dive Horror, which is just released! Come back for daily discussions on game design here and on Game Wisdom. Until next time! Take care!

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