[Game Translation Is a Necessity, Not a Choice.]
According to a survey research by Common Sense Advisory on the languages spoken by the world’s Internet population, since 2020, content needs to be localized into at least 48 languages to have about 90% of all internet users understand and enjoy it.
Netflix, the world’s No. 1 OTT platform, has been providing content in over 33 perfectly localized languages since 2010. Netflix’s localization is simultaneously done as its original content is being produced, allowing them to provide a service without linguistic barriers to users across the globe. Even though it is a North American company, Netflix recognizes the importance of localization and, for this reason, it leads the OTT market in many non-English speaking countries as well, including the Asian market. Disney+ and Amazon Prime, Netflix’s strong competitors, are also benchmarketing its success and strengthening content and UI localization by creating professional divisions dedicated to localization within their companies.
In order to dominate the future content consumption market, localization will no longer be a choice, but a necessity. However, content translation is still a financial burden for most companies.
Today, we at Latis Global, experts in video game localization services like high-quality game localization, LQA testing, and customized QA services, will introduce you to tips and information on how to reduce game translation costs.
1. Check Texts That Overlap!
Translation pricing is usually calculated by text volume. Therefore, the key is to reduce said volume as much as possible. One of the best ways to do so is to find redundant text.
Utilizing fixed texts and flexible texts during the designing and development process helps reduce the cost of redundant text translation when it comes to fixed texts. For instance, in the following informative in-game quest message, you can see that the target distance and location are displayed either as flexible text or as fixed text.
“50m left to the guard tower. Keep it up!”
“Deliver the mail to the lighthouse west of town.”
By using texts such as “%%m left to the guard tower. Keep it up!”, you can reduce the cost of localization by decreasing the total volume of text.
Of course, professional translation companies use CAT tools to review redundant text during the translation process.
2. Have Consistency Between Text Strings
The source is most important in every translation. When the source has inconsistent texts that hold the same meaning, it will generate different text strings, which in result increases the translation volume. You can see some examples below.
“The guard headed to the castle.”
“The guard went inside the castle.”
“The guard is heading towards the castle.”
Professional translation companies use CAT tools to calculate the similarities between text strings, review the texts that have similar meanings, and have a final review with gaming companies before proceeding with the translation process. In other words, they go through a consistency process to reduce unnecessary spending from gaming companies. Because of this, it is advised for gaming companies to choose a translation company that provides as many details as possible and shares information transparently.
3. Planning for Localization From the Start
Besides volume, time is another huge factor that adds to translation costs. Keeping the localization process in mind when you begin the planning and development process of a game and consulting with localization experts before starting the localization process can save translation time and reduce overall translation costs.
Translated texts can be longer or shorter by 30% compared to the source depending on the target language. Choosing the target languages in advance can give you time to review the texts’ possible length and UI and change them in accordance.
When there is no review beforehand, the translated texts can be cut off on-screen, and there may be technical issues due to UI errors.
In addition, since each language zone has gamers with different tastes, different game trends and genre preferences, and different legal regulations, it is advised to choose the target markets and languages to localize in advance. Once the target market is decided, a localization that customizes in-game content to better suit the target market’s legal and cultural aspects will definitely increase the chances of a successful game.
Today, we looked into how text length affects game translation costs and introduced a few ways in which these costs could be reduced. The most important thing is to choose an expert translation company that provides professional and rational translations and is also transparent about translation fees.