Why Is Game Translation Difficult?

Video Game Translation >> can be a very complex endeavor based on the scale and complexity of your game. Here are some of the reasons why game translation & localization can be pretty difficult indeed and experts should be consulted on every level!

Games Translation requires Linguistic, Cultural & Technical expertise

Games will not only need to be linguistically and culturally flawless, they also involve a lot of technical expertise. This process is made easier if the game developers have coded the original game in a way that makes the game more translation-friendly by creating separate language files.

But there are further considerations as well. A common source of technical issues with video game localization are caused by errors with text expansion and contraction errors. Some languages take up more space than others. For German, for example, you will need up to 30 percent more space than English. When not managed correctly, this can undermine the UX but also the functionality of the game. Find more information on text expansion in our resource section below!

Game Translation can involve many different services

Video game localization involves the translation of in-game content, non-string content, and in-store content. But beyond that, games can also include graphics that will need adapting, and multimedia localization services >> such as voice-over, subtitling, and so on. Depending on the complexity of the game, the services required can very easily accumulate!

There is a demanding QA process

We said it before, Video games can be a minefield of functional, linguistic, and visual bugs if not localized to perfection. So, how can this perfection be guaranteed? This is where game localization testing and Localization Quality Assurance (LQA) comes in.

LQA consists of the final step in the game localization workflow. Native, in-country experts will be set the task of checking the linguistic, functional, technical, and UI/UX performance of the game prior to release. This is the best way to ensure that a quality product will be delivered to your audience.

Learn more about the details of game localization QA >>

The gaming community is a passionate and demanding one

In his Motivations for Play in Games, Nick Yee isolated three main gaming motivations in the competitive streak, the social interactions, and, most importantly, the immersive quality. Gamers love exploring different worlds and in this, they want to achieve full immersion status by interacting with a bug-free, quality product.

So, what happens if you fail to deliver and offer a bad translation or even no translation? Let’s look at an example. Back in 2016, Football Manager 2017 was trashed by Chinese gamers for not having a Chinese version of the game available. This resulted in a flood of negative reviews that really harmed the game’s sales and reputation. The gaming community is not a very forgiving one, so all translations will need to be done well and key demographics will need to be isolated. After all, Football Manager had clearly lost a golden opportunity with the gigantic Chinese market.

Learn More!

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 >>