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Localization of computer games

It is no secret that the gaming industry is growing rapidly, and along with the growth of the interactive entertainment market in Russia, the need for localization of computer or video games is increasing. Localization of a game is a prerequisite for its successful promotion in the foreign market.

Game localizationA modern computer game is a complex product that combines various types of textual, graphic, and audiovisual information, each of which requires localization.

The localization process is significantly more difficult than a simple translation process, combining the specifics of software localization and audio film voiceover. The situation is further complicated by the fact that work is often one under the conditions of a shortage of time resulting from a tight schedule of the game world release.

The first stage of work is preparation of a localization kit, which includes a file containing all translatable text, a list of audio tracks for voiceover, labels displayed in the game through a bitmap, etc. Obviously, preparation of a localization kit is impossible without the participation of the developer.

At this stage, the developer’s control is extremely important to ensure that all materials requiring translation (including, for example, command buttons, error messages, game installer menus, bitmap captions in the game) are included in the localization kit.

The next step is to prepare a brief description of the game scenario, main characters, meanings of the key terms used in the game. Based on the prepared description, a glossary is created, which guarantees consistency of terminology where more than one translator is involved in the project. The glossary, where possible, should be agreed with the customer.

Depending on the complexity of the game, these preparatory stages can take from several days to several weeks.

Then follows the stage of the actual artistic translation of the video game. This requires multi-stage error control, including editing and proofreading of the translation. Translators are only humans so they are prone to error. The accuracy of translation can only be guaranteed through a multi-stage control process.

Completion of translation does not mean that the work has ended. The localization process includes voiceover of dialogs, graphics desktop publishing, installation and assembly of the Russian-language version of the game.

An extremely important step in the work is to perform linguistic testing of the game. Software localization is a very complex process. In most cases, the translator has to work with scattered fragments of the text, and it is not always obvious how these fragments will interact with each other in the game. Full-scale linguistic testing is a time-consuming process. At this stage, the role of interaction between the translation agency and the developer becomes more important again. The latter must provide a complete ‘game tree’ and prompt assistance in correcting identified errors.

Alba Translation Agency has necessary experience in performing high quality localization of computer games. We are ready to offer the following services:
- localization of computer game texts;
- voiceover of computer game dialogs;
- graphics localization;
- localization of promotion websites;
- linguistic testing of the Russian version;
- translation of packaging and advertising materials.