Localization failures are not very uncommon; you might have come across them. Generally speaking, they are kind of funny encounters, however, they aren’t funny at all when they pop up in your indie games.

With translation errors, you might slightly laugh in a silly way and it can get your players out of their game immersion for a short while. But there is a chance of the worst scenario as well. For instance, if the issue is severe, it can turn the game unplayable for thousands of players by confusing them. Similarly, the same error can affect your users. Nevertheless, all this depends on the nature of the problem or error that may arise.  

So what causes the gaming translation services to fail, and what steps can you take to avoid them?

  • Inadequate preparation

When it comes to a game translation project, there might be involvement of a plethora of files and tons of data. This demands proper preparation, otherwise, your localization team will not produce successful outcomes for you. 

In order to make your project a true success, you must organize them in a logical manner. It’s always good if those files are spreadsheets or text files which one can easily edit. 

If your localization team is using a tool such as a game engine, then it will definitely slow them down a bit. That said, there will be less time for them to translate your innovative game with the utmost quality, care, and consideration it deserves. 

Things will be better if you can keep the text files fewer. But this does not mean that you should dump all the data in a single file. It simply means organizing your content in a way that your localization partner can easily sort them out and find what they need easily. 

If you’re organizing your data in the form of a spreadsheet. You can consider utilizing tabs such as dialogues, steam page, bios, UI, etc. There should be clear and correct identification of genders and plurals. The cutscenes and dialogues must be arranged in a context similar to what appears for them in the game. 

Then there are fonts. Be sure to prepare ones that will work just fine in the language(s) you want to target. For instance, if you’re looking for Italian translation services or want to localize your game to other languages such as Japanese, always ensure that your font family includes alphabets that are appropriate for you to move on. 

  • Not enough budget for game localization

If you run short of the game localization budget during the early development stages, it’s good to use placeholder localization. However, this only stands true if you can later replace it with a translation better in quality. To employ placeholder translations in your strategy, you can make use of Google Translate or other machine translation software. Or you can consider fan translations as well. 

But there are always quality concerns around these solutions. Whether you go for machine translations or choose fan translations. They can lead you to messy results or miss the mark when it comes to high-quality translation. 

As a result, the failsafe way is to work with a gaming translation company. A company that has been providing services for over a few years. But this of course will demand you to set aside a bigger budget for your game localization project. After all, you don’t want the final product to negatively impact your brand reputation and chances of success overseas. 

  • Rushed game translation due to time shortage

Just like other components of game development, if you try to rush the game translation efforts, it definitely increases the risk of failure. We’re not saying that you can’t fix any issues after launching the game. However, any errors will create poor first impressions, and your users will never forget that. 

Talking about turnaround time, professional translation agency is able to provide high-quality translations with each translator translating around 2000 words per day. With this in mind, you can’t expect your translator to work at a faster pace than this. Otherwise, your translator will be unable to translate your game with the quality and context it requires to create an impeccable localized version of it. 

If time is of the essence and you need rushed translations without compromising quality, then always trust companies with years of experience and specialization in game translation such as Mars Translation. Having a plethora of experience in the gaming arena allows such companies to deliver accurate results at a short notice. 

  • Missing context

This is in fact the most common thing which causes game translations to fail big time. If there is a lack of context, your translations are definitely going to damage your project.

It is this context which compels you to work with human translators only. Because machine translation tools can’t capture the cultural nuances and emotions, etc. It’s the human who can accurately translate games and everything in between with proper context and nuances. 

Without including context, a single phrase or even word in the first language of your game can have many different meanings in other languages. Therefore, you can’t afford to leave any possible room for wrong interpretation.


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