How long does it take to translate a video game?
The duration of your game localization project will very much depend on the complexity of your game and how well you have prepared for localization prior to requesting the service. The interplay between all of these elements will determine not only the duration of the translation, but also the price! Let us give you an overview!
Pre-Production: What You Should Provide To Make The Localization process Go Faster
- Choose your localization languages in advance: develop your multilingual strategy early in the game. Approach this from various angles. Determine which markets are trending and expanding into the gaming market, such as the Arabic and Turkish markets, but also look into which markets your game would work best in, no matter the market size.
- Tweak the interface for other languages: During the process of building the interface, keep text expansion in mind, we recommend that you allow for a text expansion up to 30% so you can accommodate the most expansive languages in translation.
- If possible, avoid text in images: hard-coded strings could literally get lost in translation. Make sure that every string should be editable in a way that the code will not be corrupted. The localization engineer will play their part by adding regular expressions to identify translatable content for the linguists.
- Build a glossary and style guide early in the process: provide your LSP with a collection of technical terms and their translation to ensure consistency. Also provide a style guide with stylistic preferences, so that your brand & game identity will be maintained.
- Provide your LSP with context: tell your provider as much as you can about your game so revisions can be kept to a minimum.
Production & Post-Production: The Complexity Of Game Translation & Localization
The translation of the text strings themselves will not take such a long time. However, here is should be noted that the difficulty of the translation will depend on the language pairs. Some languages are not only easier to translate, but they also have more professionals available. If you would like to translate your game to Spanish, there will be plenty of qualified linguists to choose from. If you wish to translate to Farsi, you will need a bit more time to find a translator who is qualified in the language as well as video game translation.
For this, the best LSPs will leverage translation tools and an intuitive AI, so that the production time gets cut even further.
Next to that, video games are intricate and will include a number of other services depending on the nature of the game you have developed. This will grow even more complex depending on the size of your game, You will likely need:
- Voice-Over services for which the ideal actors should be found (age, gender, dialect, …) and the technical details such as timing should be ironed out perfectly.
- Multimedia localization services specifically for the images that you will be using. The colors, texts, and characters may need to be altered. (this will take longer if the images are hard-coded, so avoid this!)
- Depending on the game, you may also need subtitling services.
- In-game content as well as store content and non-string texts will need to be translated. This means that not only text, but also numbers, currency, payment methods, and so on, will need to be considered during the localization.
- Video games require a number of testing rounds to confirm that linguistic, visual and functional details all work perfectly. To learn more about game location QA, check out the section on what is game localization QA?
So, make sure you play your part in providing your LSP with what they need and that the LSP you select is up to date in terms of translation tools, and the translation process will be all the more efficient.
Read all about text expansion errors and how you can prevent them
Learn about how we overcame game localization challenges for Arabic
Check out our guide on Game Localization for the Arabic language
Discover how you can break into the Turkish market with your game
Learn why you should localize your game for the MENA region
Read about the best practices when localizing a 3D Unity game