The 10 Steps of Video Game Localization – Isakasnel Consultants.
The process of Video Game Localization is not just about translating the text. It includes altering art assets, creating new packaging and manuals, recording new audio, transforming hardware, cutting out whole portions of the game due to differing cultural sensitivities and local legal requirements, and even adding sections to replace cut content.
This is the major reason why your game localization partner should be a guru in cultural adaptation – having vast and reliable Intel about the “whats” and “what nots” of the culture, norms, legislations and regulations applying in your target market. Different countries have their own set of censorship rules which regulate the content used for the video games either manufactured locally or imported. There are also various regulatory bodies, organizations and video game content rating systems established in various regions to help consumers make informed decisions when buying video games or apps through the use of age recommendations and content descriptors. You need a perfect Video Game Localization partner like Isakasnel Consultants, to help you fulfil and comply with all such requirements.
How Video Game Developers (Owners) should prepare for Video Game Localization.
As a video game developer and/or owner, there are two very important rehearsal measures to undertake before handing over your video game to us for localization.
1. Make a Localization Plan.
Proper planning at the outset of your video game localization project helps ensure that your budget will be utilized for the right purpose. Game localization plan should incorporate the following details:
- Your game localization budget.
- Your deadline preference.
- The countries or regions you plan to localize the game for.
- What precisely you need to translate/localize (if not the overall game).
- Whether modifications will be applied to text & visual elements outside of the in-game dialogue and instructions (for example to characters, buildings, street signs or billboards contained within the game).
2. Create a Video Game Localization Kit (LocKit).
A video game localization kit (LocKit) is a single package of data that helps us (your localization partner) understand your game precisely before localizing it. As the developer of your game, you understand the history, style, and context associated with every string of text. But as outsiders, we don’t understand it (yet) like you do. The more comprehensive the localization kit, the faster and more accurately we can work. Like making the project plan, creating your Video game Localization Kit is a step that shouldn’t be rushed. A standard video game localization kit should incorporate the following details:
Specify your Target Player/Gamer.
You surely have a type of player in mind – we need to know who that is (gender, age, hardcore/casual, other games they might like, etc.).
Indicate your Formatting Preferences.
We can’t assume your preferences. If we don’t know them, we may inconvenience your workflow and we’d really like to avoid that. Provide us with your preferred punctuation style, capitalizations and abbreviations.
Describe the Tone of your Game.
There are endless ways to localize a given string, depending on the tone you choose. For example, tell us whether your game is supposed to be funny, sarcastic or rather dark and gritty. Maybe it’s more conversational, or rather formal in tone.
Indicate your Character Introductions.
In order to truly capture the essence of your characters in every language, we need to truly understand these characters and how they operate. Don’t just mention what players will find out about characters throughout the game itself – go deeper into the backstory of every character. Maybe your players don’t need to know about all this, but we do for an effective localization job.
Information about your Game World.
Remember that we are not around throughout the entire video game development process. We therefore need to become fully immersed in your world. The additional context will help us give you a localization that accurately depicts your video game, taking it from “good” to “amazing.” Even if you feel that certain aspects of your game wouldn’t be relevant to the localization process, we’d still like to know all about it.
Provide Editable Text Files.
You should never hardcode strings that need to be localized. This is because we might not be using the same software as you are to edit text. We need to be able to easily edit your strings using our translation tools.
The Process of Professional Video Game Localization.
Isakasnel consultants has been a reputable game localization company in Kenya for a long time. From the game localization projects we’ve previously handled, we have managed to establish a 10 steps standard process of perfectly localizing a video game. This is a procedure that perfectly applies to all games, from Indie to AAA games. We always use this procedure and the feedback we receive from our clients is always wowing! Take a look:
Step 1: Project Management and Assessment.
After you hand over your game to us for localization, we kick start by handpicking a dedicated project manager who will oversee the whole localization process. Project manager starts by setting up a team of professionals required by your project. The project manager proceeds to coordinate a Project Assessment procedure. Project Assessment involves a detailed overview of the game to familiarize with the extent of localization needed, technical work needed, resources and tools needed as well as the quickest time that the project can cover.
Step 2: Target Market Review.
Project manager coordinates a review of your target market. The objective is to thoroughly identify all the local censorship rules and regulations, cultural specifications, linguistic styles, socioeconomics and gaming trends. These are factors that affect how your game enters, grows and maintains popularity in the new market. With the help of the game localization kit you provided, we are able to come up with a perfect style of implementing your context into your target market.
Step 3: Video Game Internationalization.
Internationalizing your game prepares it for localization by making its technical infrastructure adaptable to the target market as well as any other market you would like to localize for in future. We encourage game developers to implement this procedure during the game development process. Regardless, we must perfect or carry it out from scratch because it’s a mandatory procedure that must be carried out for localization to be successful. It addresses issues like text character encoding and making sure the source code will function in different regions. It also focuses on issues around date and time formats, currencies, measurement units, user interface and more. The advantage of Internationalization is best capitalized by large games when it comes to localizing them into several languages simultaneously.
Step 4: Strings Extraction (Export & Import).
For increased consistency, accuracy and faster localization, we have to extract strings of translatable text from the game and import them into our Translation Management Platform. We can now be able to address any technical problem related to your content like hard coded text. If your graphics contain text in them and the text needs to be localized, ensure you have the original image source files to ease extraction.
Step 5: Native Translation and Special Proofreading.
To observe quality, we only assign native translators the work of translating so that they can observe and instill applicable cultural references including dialects, ascents and tones. The translated text is then edited and proofread by professional linguists who check and rectify grammatical, punctuation and spelling mistakes.
Step 6: Localization of Non Textual Elements and Regional Adaptation.
We modify non-text-based elements of the game to suit the local region for which it is destined. Examples of these elements include forms and dialogue boxes, character clothing, backgrounds, color schemes, and a variety of other in-game elements. Always ensure to safely store your original graphic design files safely to avoid repetition of design work when adapting the UI. Also, this is the point in which we implement all the regional adaptation Intel we have concerning your target region. We carefully give attention to this procedure to ensure that all elements marry up in the final version, just as they did in the original game. That includes accommodating character race and length variations.
Step 7: Localization Quality Check and Assurance.
Before integrating the Translated content with the Adapted visual content, we must check to ensure that their quality and compatibility is up to the mark. This is done by fresh pairs of eyes besides the ones that handled the content before. Their work is to ensure no typos remain and that all standards have been adhered to. After the quality is assured, everything can now be integrated back in the game for testing.
Step 8: Linguistic and Operational Testing.
After appropriate content integration has been made, lingual and semantic conflicts may arise whereby certain combinations of text and visual content portray cultural messages/meanings other than the intended. In the same vein, compatibility and responsiveness issues might arise. We have a team of game developers and programmers to fix such bugs and make sure that the look, feel and functionality of the game is faultless.
Step 9: Presentation and Feedback Collection.
We then present the finely localized game to the owner for review and feedback. At this point, the game owner can decide to recommend slight changes on the game, to fulfil personal concerns. The customer can also share the game with a few entities to collect views and opinions.
Step 10: Feedback Implementation and Final Turnaround.
Finally, we collect all reviews and feedback from the game owner and perfectly implement them into the game. When all is done, we are now happy to submit the fully localized game to the game owner. This gives the game owner a green light to officially launch and introduce the game to the new region.