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When we talk about game localization, this process seems to be the most basic and the easiest. What can be easier than translating text?
But it’s not. One of the most significant part of game localization, text guarantees the connection between game and international community. Of course, gameplay, graphics, music and other elements of game are important as well, but translation helps players, who do not understand original languages, to immerse into game deeper, to understand it better.
In UNLOCTEAM we aim at localization and transcreation, and simple translation can be used for different UI stuff. As a result, gamers from different countries will always understand jokes and puns, they will see characters with some specific saying or using local slang etc.
Oh, wait. What is the difference between translation, localization and transcreation you ask? These are three subtypes that industry divides general translation into:
Simple translation, 100% reflecting original. Basically, it’s a substitute of words in original language by words in target language. For game translations it’s used in UI translation or simple item names and descriptions.
Text adaptation to local culture. Idioms, puns etc. Here miles transform to kilometers. Meaningful names localized according to culture, for example Golden City can become Золотоград (City of Gold).
Using the idea and tone of source language to recreate text. For example, can be used style and manner of speech from some local dialects to reflect character’s feature.
We are aware of fact, that some companies provide game localization without proper proofreading and in-game testing, leaving it to third-party services, other companies or developers/publishers internal resources. No judging… no, to be honest, it’s bad. There are way too many examples when game suffered from such attitude.
We never leave the game without in-game testing. It happens that devs are focused on stuff development, so our engineers step in and prepare test-build on game versions we have. It helps to speed up a process greatly, and it allows us to find and isolate possible UI errors in the future.
Our process of editing, proofreading and testing is quite tightly connected to Quality Control and Assurance, you can read about it here.
Our main goal is to guarantee high quality of localization. But of course it happens to skip some issues. That is why our localization does not stop upon game release. For some period of time after release we listen very closely to players’ feedbacks, watching streams and viewers’ reactions. It helps us to always keep track on our style choices, on quality etc.