The press is buzzing about the Metaverse! Our world has gone more digital since the pandemic, and it seems to have put certain online developments on the fast track.
The Metaverse is looking to create a digital universe that is mirrored to our physical one. And as we will see, this can have a myriad of applications. But, with worldwide communities poised to enjoy the many adaptations the Metaverse will have to offer, how can the localization of its multilingual features be effectively managed? Letâs see!
What Is The Metaverse?
The term Metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 fiction novel Snow Crash, where characters use digital avatars of themselves to explore a virtual, parallel universe. In this virtual world, people can engage in social interactions, travel to digital locations, or complete purchases using digital currencies or cryptocurrencies.1
In a general sense, the technologies that create this Metaverse are Virtual Reality (VR), which refers to a fully fleshed digital world, or Augmented Reality (AR), where the digital and physical world come together. However, not just AR and VR play a part in this. Games, PCs, and even phones can be part of the Metaverse.
So, what is an actual example of a Metaverse? In the famous game of Fortnite, players are able to develop their own world and go on adventures. Players can also âcrossplayâ with other members of the Fortnite community. In terms of more elaborate world building and the addition of a social element, the players can also attend in-game venues and concerts, where artists such as Ariana Grande and Travis Scot have performed.2
Metaverse And Its Potential Across Industries
The Metaverse has the potential to be used in a variety of different ways. On October 28th, 2021, Facebook Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that he will be renaming his company Meta Platforms Inc to make its transition into the VR and AR realms more apparent. Zuckerberg, describes the Metaverse as a âHoly Grail of social interactionsâ and predicts that âScreens, holograms, VR headsets and augmented reality glasses will soon allow fluid movements of virtual universes in physical places, such as teleport.â 3
The concept of the Metaverse has been hitting the news a lot lately, and even Apple confirmed its involvement backed by optimistic investors supporting the expansion. Interestingly, Metaâs shares have gained 7%, while Apple gained no less than 18% since the mention of a Metaverse expansion. And analysts have mentioned that Apple could integrate its own services into the new realities.4
But not only the tech giants are contributing to the Metaverse dialogue. Augmented Pixels, a leader in 3D geolocation, has been experimenting with Metaverse location-based advertising.5 The adaptive ads show relevant banners based on the userâs interests and route. If a shopping center visitor will be interested in books, for example, they can select it as a point of interest and be guided through the shopping center with banners that include sales, discounts, new collections, etc., in the surrounding shops.
This is a striking example of advertising in combination with AR, and how it can vastly improve both the shopping experience and revenue.
VR, AR, And The Metaverse: Use Localization To Boost Revenue Even Further
Buzz about the AR and VR âbeing the next big thing in localizationâ, first started to enter real interest back in 2017, when game developers were dipping their toe into the VR waters, trying to test its potential. While major games such as Doom, Fallout, and Skyrim, were published in VR, the puzzle adventure game of Landâs End took it a step further. The game was developed exclusively for Samsung Gear VR and was even made available in 6 languages. Peter Pashley, co-designer of Landâs End, sat down with Slator, and expanded on the importance of localizing voice-overs and body language over actual text.6
But what will all of this mean for Metaverse? Gamification can certainly be a part of it, but as a world with social interactions, specific product offers, and even cross-platform applications, it can involve so much more. Localization magazine, Multilingual, has already posed the question exactly how Facebook would manage its multilingual application of Meta, with CMO and VP of Analytics at Meta Alex Schultz stating: âIt will be up to the entire Meta workforce to build products and experiences so rich and remarkable that the possibilities of the metaverse captivate our community around the world.â7
Schultz may be a bit vague beyond this ambitious statement, but we know that localization for Metaverse will involve localization from a variety of complex angles where technical, linguistic, and cultural considerations will need to be taken into account fully. This includes:
Multimedia And Game Localization
In the Metaverse, there will no doubt be multimedia that will need localization. Multimedia localization includes:
- Multilingual and multicultural voice-overs, where the native dialects are respected as well as the age and gender of the talent. Voice-Over localization also involves a highly technical process. Learn more about this in our blog: Multilingual Voice-Over: How To Get It Loudly Right
- Dubbing where the language as well as the technical aspects of lip synching is given special attention.
- Subtitles and Captions to increase the reach and views of the content and boost user engagement.
- Graphics and colors adapted according to local preferences and sensitivities.
But the localization of multimedia for virtual realities is also an important part of any gamification that will be introduced into the new reality. Video game Localization has some unique content types that it incorporates, which are:
- In-Game Content: which includes any content the gamer encounters while playing the game.
- Non-String Content: involves all the non-textual information such as numbers, currency, voice-over, dialogues, as well as text thatâs embedded in graphics.
- Game App Store Content and Marketing Content: is the often overlooked yet highly crucial content in your cross-border game expansion (and marketing) strategy. Localization for store content involves keyword localization, but also translating and localizing screenshots, game previews, etc.
Besides the linguistic aspect, thereâs a technical aspect to game localization that involves:
- Preparing the game for translation and localization through internationalization (link to internationalization, globalization, localization blog)
- Making sure the game is highly functional across languages
- Implementing extensive QA and testing processes
Mobile App Localization
Mobile apps can also be part of the Metaverse world. Just think about PokÃ©mon Go, the app was such a huge hype back in 2016. Mobile apps, much like video games, need special attention that involves cultural, technical, and linguistic expertise. The content types that require translation are also similar to those of games, and involve non-string content, in-app content, and the content on the app product pages.
Of course, here too the technical factors are crucial, and a similarly gifted Localization Engineer team will need to be assigned the task of making sure a functional, bug-free product is delivered.
But Mobile App localization doesnât end just with localization of your App content. It is a continuous process. App Developers always add more features and make changes, and therefore these updates would need to be localized as well. In order to make this run smoothly, all of the target languages need to be synced with the source language, so that miscommunications and errors can be avoided.
The process of continuous localization could be challenging and needlessly complex if not carefully managed. For this reason, the translation vendor should essentially make use of a Translation Management System (TMS) and advanced Translation and Localization tools, which increase process efficiency and automation, while cutting costs drastically.
Marketing And Advertising
In the context of Augmented Pixelâs experimentation with ads and marketing incorporated into the Metaverse, localization for marketing and advertising should not be forgotten. It is important to remember that when it comes to marketing, human translation is paramount since marketing speaks on a very personal and emotional level. We highly recommend that you avoid using Machine Translation for all your multilingual marketing needs.
For marketing content, mere translation is also not enough, and localization is absolutely needed. Localization goes beyond mere words and takes local sensitivities, cultures, and behavioral nuances into account. Transcreation as a form of localization can be of great benefit. It combines powerful multilingual messaging with copywriting, so you will not necessarily need to provide source content. You will need to create a killer creative Brief, though! Learn more about this in our blogs What Is Transcreation And How Is It Best Managed? And Transcreation: When You Should Go For it And When You Should NOT!
A different reality will also involve a certain element of unpredictability, and User-Generated Content (UGC) will be part of this. In the concept of the Metaverse, users will be able share their opinions and communicate as an avatar version of themselves. But depending on the universe and the purpose of the reality, UGC in the written form could also be integrated. And what will you do with such spontaneous expressions that are bound to pop up regularly?
This is where a service called Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) will serve you best. MTPE combines the raw output of an MT with the human touch of the PE process. The raw output is translated quickly, and the Post-Editors will be set the task of weeding out any errors and inconsistencies.
Why not just run all the content through a machine and be done with it? You may wonder. Think of it this way. When users communicate in a colloquial manner, this means they will be making use of slang and idioms, Context-specific terminology, and typos, which can literally get lost in translation with MT.
How To Choose The Right Localization Partner For A Multilingual Metaverse
As you can see, practical applications of Metaverse are still in the development phase. And much like during the development, it will require different levels of expertise to get it right in its multilingual form as well. So, how can you make sure that you can find a vendor that offers all of the expertise we listed above? The following checklist might come in handy.
- Make sure they market linguistic expertise as well as technical authority. Dig through their site and make sure they use native, in-country professionals for each project. To confirm technical authority, have a look at their case studies. Have they solved any complex issues that show they will go above and beyond to resolve any bugs and UI glitches?
- Conform that they commit to rigorous testing and provide functional, visual, and linguistic QA. QA and testing make a huge difference in the quality of your localized content and products.
- In order to fully streamline the process, they should make use of translation and localization technologies such as a translation management system that integrates CAT tools to ensure accurate translations and also allows Project Managers to optimally assign the correct talent to the appropriate projects.
- We discussed services such as transcreation, multimedia localization, game localization, and so on. Make sure you confirm that the vendor of your choice offers expertise in all of these localization services. Not all of them do! And combining different vendors for the same project will only increase the hassle as well as the cost of your project.
VR and AR have been around for some time and already have some impressive real-life applications for users to enjoy. But with the mass commercialization of Metaverse, they are due a profitable revival.
With such a revival comes the demand for effective multilingual strategies. This is where Localization in all its forms, from Game Localization to Multimedia Localization, and Mobile App Localization, comes into play. And what will truly set a powerful Metaverse product apart is the offering a local experience to users, an experience that strikes the perfect balance between linguistic, cultural, and technical preferences of the target users.
At Laoret, we hire in-country, native experts to manage our localization projects from linguists to localization engineers. Our 24/7 availability means we can organize our work around your schedule and help you reach international expansion goals on your terms.
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