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Cultural Issues in Video Games Localization: Balancing Expectations Between the General Public and Core Gamers

Cultural Issues in Video Games Localization: Balancing Expectations Between the General Public and Core Gamers

Cultural Issues in Video Games Localization: Balancing Expectations Between the General Public and Core Gamers

Originally published August 1 2016

This is a paper presented by a graduate of the Global Digital Marketing and Localization Certification (GDMLC) program. This paper presents the work being produced by students of The Localization Institute’s Global Digital Marketing and Localization program. The contents of this paper are presented to create discussion in the global marketing industry on this topic; the contents of this paper are not to be considered an adopted standard of any kind. This does not represent the official position of the Brand2Global Conference, The Localization Institute, or the author’s organization.

Note to readers – We have chosen to keep the identity as “anonymous” only due to the highly polarized climate in the gaming localization world. While this student’s paper is a small commentary, many other’s in the industry have been targeted for expressing their own views on localizing games.

 


Abstract
Game localization now plays a big part in the industry’s total revenue stream. Yet, the process of altering game elements to appeal to a global market is sometimes qualified of ‘censorship’ by some vocal strong groups of fans (core gamers) who can now spot the difference from the source language via the instant access to international digital media. Core gamers feel their expectations are being denied for business reasons and their critics can cause a possible impact on sales or brand image. This paper discusses first the common cultural issues encountered in game localization, followed by a selection of cases that triggered players’ uproar. Finally, this paper explores several ways to find the right balance between the different levels of expectations and how to anticipate them.

Introduction
Localization is defined by Singh (2011: 124) as “the process of adapting products and services (websites, manuals and software applications) to the linguistic, cultural, technical, functional, and other locale-specific requirements of the target market”. For video games, there is a general practice Mangiron (2006) describes as making sure the players can experience and enjoy the game as if it were initially created in their own language. Many aspects need to be taken into account to provide this illusion, such as providing different box packagings or altering game elements that were not present in the original product but gives a local feel to the players. Japanese names for instance may be changed into Western names.   ea-sports-ufc-khabib-nurmagomedov

Edwards (2012) defines two types of audiences: the intended (regular game players and/or familiar with the context) and the unintended (little familiarity or no exposure to games). She recommends companies to create content that are compatible with the expectations of those two groups to appeal them. One of those expectations is to anticipate the cultural sensitivity that may offend consumers from different locales, such as: politics, history, faith, mentality, behavior, geography, status, lifestyle, or recent world events. Recently for instance, the publisher Electronic Arts apologized for an oversight in their game EA Sports UFC 2 (2016) in which it gave the non-fictional practicing Muslim fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov a Christian victory celebration gesture, which disappointed Muslim players and the fighter himself.

Yet cultural content that may be removed in certain locales to attract a wider audience and maximize the ROI can also trigger core gamers’ uproar and some of them accuse companies of censorship as the game delivered may not be seen as complete and therefore not faithful to the original product.

Cultural gap between Japanese games connoisseurs and the general public   fire emblem fates

The latest example is Nintendo’s title Fire Emblem Fates (2016) which sparked a great controversy as several removals were made for its US release, such as a minigame where the player can rub allies’ faces in his/her private quarters to strengthen relationships. Another cut-off is a storyline where a character drugs a homosexual female character and convinces her to change her sexual orientation. There were also several lines of dialogues where two characters discuss about their shared love for pickles that got erased and replaced by ellipses.

In this day and age of the internet, masses of fans can now rally globally to express their concerns over the localization process in social media and address directly their feelings to the publishers involved. To some core gamers, Consalvo remarks they perceive games as an artistic form and no textual or visual elements should be altered to preserve the intent of the author (2015: p.143). They often believe that those changes are made solely for business reasons or generating more money. In the present case they used the Twitter hashtag #Torrentialdownpour to complain about the decision-making process and created several online petitions to stop further removals in future games. Orselli, the editor-in-chief of Niche Gamer claims: “I’m of the volition that we should celebrate other cultures and let media from such cultures exist as is, and not have it be altered or sugar-coated for foreign audiences. It’s a catch-22 when trying to appeal for people who may not appreciate things alien to their culture goes and alienates the people who enjoy experiencing other cultures.” (Kotaku, 2015).

Those conflicts can be regular, as Jenkins highlights “fan and corporate interests are never perfectly aligned” (2008, para 15). It seems natural Nintendo wanted to avoid negative media attention by erasing what may be perceived as a “gay conversion therapy” or implicit sexual connotations. Regarding certain dialogues, Nintendo might have assessed they would not be as funny for a Western audience.

As said earlier, game localization generally requires erasing any foreign cultural element to make sure players would experience the same enjoyment as the original audience. This practice is inevitable in terms of money and immersion as Bernal-Merino (2007) explains:

“[What we must] take into account is the cultural context the game is taking for granted. We can assume that hardcore gamers around the globe share a small degree of background knowledge, but that doesn’t apply to most players. The place we grow up in, the customs and lifestyle of the country we live in, can be dramatically different from one player to another. Concepts like ‘funny,’ ‘acceptable,’ ‘honorable’ and so forth – the very way people interact – depend on long established traditions particular to each country or territory. […] Apart from the obvious legal implications, these issues can influence greatly the number of sales in a particular country.”

On the contrary, Consalvo thinks the popularity of those games are precisely due to the foreign cultural elements present: “while most companies attempt through localization to erase the ‘cultural odor’ of their products, more recent hardcore Western fans seem intent on preserving as much of the local Japanese ‘flavor’ as possible. Thus leaving some of the ‘Japanese-ness’ in the game might be as much of a draw as the game’s skillful use of language.” (2015: 129). O’Hagan (2013: 174) also precises games which have plenty of foreign cultural elements can also be popular internationally as long as the narrative and gameplay are entertaining.

To appease core gamers, Orselli states: “I think if more publishers would at least talk about the changes they make and why they made them. People would be a LOT more understanding, at the very least. Instead we mostly get quiet edits/changes/removal of content, and most people avoid talking about it.” (Kotaku, 2015)

Law and Technical issues  game rating systems

Some severe reactions may be due to a lack of knowledge of the industry: players may not be aware of standards and regulations regarding the age-rating system specific to every region that might forbid a release or restrict the audience. O’Hagan and Mangiron (2013: 207) specify Japanese regulations are not as strict regarding contents related to nudity, alcohol or sexuality, which means they would generally be banned for the underage audience internationally when those elements are not toned down.

Localization is also a big investment and the industry is tied to tight deadlines that may not give enough time or funds to provide creative translations. Besides, translating Japanese characters is a challenge: the author Kiyama (1999: 18) says ‘Puns and regional dialects are the bane of all translators of Japanese. […] they revolve around words that sound the same yet have different meanings. These are usually impossible to translate, especially when linked with a visual element.’

Additionally, translations might not be as accurate as the source language because of space restrictions: Latin alphabet appears bigger on screen compared to Japanese characters in text boxes, which would lead to higher development costs to adjust the layout.

Finding the right balance

This paper showed how game localization can create conflicts with some consumers who feel their expectations are not met when adapting a foreign game. It is difficult to accommodate core gamers who view games as an art and the general public who may not be familiar with a particular foreign culture.

Backlash can be anticipated if game developers engage early with localization experts so that they can identify potentially sensitive regional content that game developers may not be aware of. Furthermore, this would also limit literal or uncreative translations that can negatively affect the gaming experience as it might pull the player out of immersion.

Obviously it does not sound ideal if the player needs to search for a particular cultural term frequently during their game experience. However this may also initiate a learning process for different cultures. Perhaps an option could be for game developers to add a feature that would allow people to have an instant access to the definitions for foreign terms. This way, players who do not wish to constantly research for definitions could still see what it is and other players could have it turned off and not break the immersion. Another way to explore would be to have the possibility to implement alternative textual content that would display foreign cultural names.

This would involve more investment; however this could be a further step in game localization and globalization as a whole. Moreover this would improve the brand image of game companies, without turning off any audience. Instead of erasing elements deemed as “alien”, keeping them may break down cultural barriers over time.

 

Learn More:

 

Game-Loc-MC

 

If you are interested in learning more about Game Localization  please click here.

About the Author

This student is a localization professional with over five years of experience in different renowned video game companies. All views are his/her own and not of any of employers.

Note to readers – We have chosen to keep the identity as “anonymous” only due to the highly polarized climate in the gaming localization world. While this student’s paper is a small commentary, many other’s in the industry have been targeted for expressing their own views on localizing games. 

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Disclaimer
Copyright © 2021 The Localization Institute. All rights reserved. This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published, and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this section are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, including by removing the copyright notice or references to The Localization Institute, without the permission of the copyright owners. This document and the information contained herein is provided on an “AS IS” basis and THE LOCALIZATION INSTITUTE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY OWNERSHIP RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

References

Bernal-Merino, M. (2007). Localization and the Cultural Concept of Play. Available at: http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/454/localization_and_the_cultural_.php

Consalvo, M. (2015). Atari to Zelda. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Critchley, M. (2016). EA Sports apologise for Muslim UFC fighter’s ‘sign of the cross’ celebration. [online] The Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/mma/ea-sports-issue-apology-to-khabib-nurmagomedov-over-sign-of-the-cross-gesture-in-ufc-video-game-a6948391.html

Edwards, K. (2012). The Top 5 Cultural Issues in Games. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeORLimDppM

Jenkins, H. (2008). The Moral Economy of Web 2.0 (Part Three). [online] Henryjenkins.org. Available at: http://henryjenkins.org/2008/03/the_moral_economy_of_web_20_pa_2.html

Kiyama, H. and Schodt, F. (1999). The four immigrants manga. Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press.

Klepek, P. (2015). From Japan, With Changes: The Endless Debate Over Video Game ‘Censorship’ [online] Kotaku.com. Available at: http://kotaku.com/from-japan-with-changes-the-endless-debate-over-video-1747960323

Klepek, P. (2016). The Fight Over The Best Way to Translate Fire Emblem Fates. [online] Kotaku.com. Available at: http://kotaku.com/the-fight-over-the-best-way-to-translate-fire-emblem-fa-1761106038

Mangiron, C. and M. O’Hagan. (2006). Game Localisation: Unleashing Imagination with ‘Restricted’ Translation. The Journal of Specialised Translation 6: 10-21. www.jostrans.org/issue06/art_ohagan.php

Mangiron, C. and M. O’Hagan. (2013). Game Localization: Translating for the global digital entertainment industry. Amsterdam and Philadelphia. PA: John Benjamins.

Singh, N. (2012). Localization strategies for global e-business. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Press ‘Start’ to… Eat a Whopper? Interactive Digital Media and its Implementation in Global Advertising

Press ‘Start’ to… Eat a Whopper? Interactive Digital Media and its Implementation in Global Advertising

Press ‘Start’ to… Eat a Whopper? Interactive Digital Media and its Implementation in Global Advertising

Originally published October 13, 2020

This is a paper presented by Suzette St. Pierre, a graduate of the Global Digital Marketing and Localization Certification (GDMLC) program. This paper presents the work being produced by students of The Localization Institute’s Global Digital Marketing and Localization program. The contents of this paper are presented to create discussion in the global marketing industry on this topic; the contents of this paper are not to be considered an adopted standard of any kind. This does not represent the official position of the Brand2Global Conference, The Localization Institute, or the author’s organization.


 

Introduction

Advertisements are always the gateway from target user-to-product, otherwise how would it be possible to introduce said products (and services) to the public? From ancient civilizations and their use of papyrus for wall postings up to current PPC ads and cookie-enabled targeted advertising; the methods of advertisement have traversed through history and continually progress through a developing digital world. Digital advancements, such as an interactive element, have been incorporated into areas including social media, news outlets, and health which currently support quizzes and hashtags, apps with personal topic choice, and fashion-forward clever tech. Entertainment such as Netflix has joined the world by introducing interactive movies; and now it is time to propel forward and implement major co-brand collaboration with businesses such as McDonald’s, Coke, musicians, film industries, etc, into current leading global online multiplayer games. This will push for a more personal, localized and interactive digital marketing experience to users on an international scale.

The effect of interactive digital media

“ By its very nature, interactive content engages participants in an activity: answering questions, making choices, exploring scenarios. It’s a great way to capture attention right from the start. Individuals have to think and respond; they can’t just snooze through it. 

– Scott Brinker (Copyblogger 2017)

The future of marketing lies in interactive digital media. According to the Content Marketing Institute in their publication The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing, “87% [of content marketers] agree that interactive content grabs the attention of the reader more effectively than static content” (Rose 2017, 8), and it continuously grows every year as the demand from tech-savvy generations require more personalized, relatable subject matter. The report further explores the most effective type of content marketing versus other manners in 2017, recognizing at 77% that interactive games culminated as the best interactive content during the consumer awareness/discovery stage.

(Rose 2017, Fig 7, 10)

 

 

This is not the first time games and advertising have aligned successfully however. During the 90s and early 2000s the business trend for “advergames” was high (Bump 2019). These campaigns were immensely effective, allowing Crispin Porter & Bogusky to win a Clio award (Parpis 2007) as recognition for creative content marketing in relation to the Burger King franchise. Through their game, Sneak King, players were able to become the brand mascot, the King, and hand-deliver Burger King menu items to characters in-game. This allowed the targeted audience to become acquainted with the Burger King menu and increase overall sales during a six-week period with the launch of the game (Duffy 2007).

The crossover of advert and game in current contexts

So what is the integration of advergames as an interactive digital marketing skill in the current global context? Are they still used to market brand products, or has it fizzled out? Well, it wasn’t until the trend of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games shifted from a PC-oriented and strategy-based game (eg. World of Warcraft), to being developed into cross-platform, battle-esque MMOs that has allowed marketers to benefit on the global scale.

Take for example Splatoon, doing a major promotional venture in 2017 with McDonald’s Japan (Splatoon’s home market), allowing players to choose between team McNuggets or Fries (Bump 2019). The event ended with players receiving a virtual t-shirt for their chosen team that their character could later wear (Inkipedia 2017). This kind of marketing shows us how brands can capture the trend of online social gaming, but it still has room for growth. Although McDonald’s Japan gained traction with Splatoon players, it is no comparison to the Wendy’s marketing team who leveraged a situation out of one of Fortnite’s battle events: Team Burger vs Team Pizza 2018. Wendy’s promotes a “fresh never frozen” patty policy, and when the brand became aware that Fortnite’s Team Burger were required to collect meat and store them in freezers around the map during the event, Wendy’s joined the game and created such a marketing stunt uproar they were recognized with awards from both the Clio Awards and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (Bump 2019), as well as tweets of recognition from competitors such as Arby’s and KFC (adforum 2019).  It included a multitude of players following Wendy’s example of destroying meat freezers around the game map, and an increase of Wendy’s mentions across social media platforms by 119% (adforum 2019).

It’s all about the message!

How is this applicable to digitally advertising on a global scale? Well it is important to first acknowledge that the public consumer wants to follow interesting content, whether that be an internet influencer or marketers themselves. Entertainment is key, and the above mentioned examples are evidence that the video-game market is booming and recognized by many, with the potential to be tapped into. That isn’t to say that marketers aren’t already considering brand-inspired generated content currently. The difference however is attributed to brand awareness, understanding, and retention, rather than marketers focusing solely on promotion of their product. This is why Sneak King and Wendy’s both received Clio Awards for their innovative marketing by integrating product image and message in an engaging way with consumers (Burger King’s menu familiarity, and Wendy’s brand message, respectively). A more modern example of this would be KFC and its marketing team, asking its agencies to “Bring us opportunities that aren’t mainstream yet” (Entis 2019) and led to the production of I Love You, Colonel Sanders: A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator (Steam 2019). The game advertises KFC products through a current trend of the niche-gamer scene: dating simulation, allowing players to interact and immerse themselves in corny punchlines and saucy situations via romantic ventures with Colonel Sanders. Reported back was a 20% increase in brand index among customers, and 25% with gamers by market-research company YouGov, which KFC partnered with to follow up on consumer critique after the campaign launched (Entis 2019).

So what’s trending?

Now the emergence of a new trend has appeared due to compulsory home seclusion in 2020: Digital Concerts. It is the latest trend that will revolutionize the interactive digital advertising market yet. From April 23rd-25th, 2020, Fortnite collaborated with infamous singer Travis Scott to host a 10 minute digital concert featuring songs from his albums. The concert mapped out how globally recognized Fortnite was, stating later that “27.7 million unique players in-game participated live 45.8 million times across the five events to create a truly Astronomical experience” (FortniteGame 2020). It was later released that by May 2020 the game held 350 million worldwide players.

 

 

(Gough 2020)

If brands want to continue playing…

The significance in focusing on the Travis Scott Digital Concert is to express how game mechanics in the modern day are continuing to be pushed and able to provide a simultaneous yet personalized experience to players across the globe. The free concert gave players the ability to attend with personal avatars and experience new temporary functions of the game such as flipping the entire map upside down, and ultra-fast running skills alongside other attendees (GameSpot 2020). This imprinted into minds the correlation of “cool, new graphics” to the Travis Scott Digital Concert itself, and is exactly where digital marketing is heading to today. Leaving a brand message or concept behind so that interested consumers can recall a distinctive moment and be more enticed towards the specific product or service is the future of advertising.

To add, these digital mechanics allow global recognition and localization to be possible. Players worldwide attended the event, providing a space for homogeneous ideals (such as enjoying Scott’s concert) on a global level. Fans could also purchase a skin of Scott so as to commemorate and remember the occasion. As such, I believe it is applicable to put this into a digital marketing context which would allow consumers to personally experience global products. Take as a hypothetical example, Nissin Cup Noodle, and if the dedication of their japanese anime commercials (adforum 2016) were translated into the MMO platform as a brief intro mini-game before accessing the gaming network. This would work best as an optional process, giving players the choice to skip the mini-game altogether, or play through a five-minute city-destroying scenario and receive a choice of applicable in-game MMO currency, an avatar accessory, or a QR-code screen coupon to be photographed and redeemed in-store for local Nissin Cup products. Overall, it would be available across platforms supporting MMOs and let the targeted consumer play through a mini-game with their in-game avatar, therefore establishing a personal connection and cementing an international online network-based economy, whilst being easily localizable due to digital product and service status.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the core insights to keep in mind are the accessibilities to create interactive, personal, meaningful messages on a globally attainable level in the digital market. Marketers continue with product placement and promotions, but only those who manage the progression into high concept commercials and translate it into MMO game format will be emergingly successful. It is fundamental that managers keep in mind that digital advertising is transforming with new trends and platforms that appear during the course of technological advancement. This is to say that brand awareness, understanding and retention must be met with all new standards to keep from disappearing in the business world. Make sure your product is not a forced promotion but a player-uniting factor to the game; the brand message, ultimately, must relate and embed itself in the user’s mind.

 

 

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Suzette is a graduate of the Global Digital Marketing and Localization Certification program. For more information and to enroll in this program, please click here.

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If you are interested in learning more about Game Localization  please click here.

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About the Author

Suzette St. Pierre is an up-coming localization and translation professional, currently studying in the Language and Intercultural Relations program at Ryerson. With a passion for cultures and fantastical digital worlds, her future career in game translation and localization will allow her to create connections from international game to gamer on a personal level. Currently focused in Spanish, French, and English language, Suzette keeps an eye out for quality of translation as well as the intended meanings of words. To her, keeping the core meaning is everything to expand cultures and create contexts that worldwide players will enjoy.

Connect with Suzette:

Connect with Suzette on LinkedIn

Email: suzettestpierre[at]gmail.com

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Copyright © 2021 The Localization Institute. All rights reserved. This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published, and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this section are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, including by removing the copyright notice or references to The Localization Institute, without the permission of the copyright owners. This document and the information contained herein is provided on an “AS IS” basis and THE LOCALIZATION INSTITUTE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY OWNERSHIP RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

References:

  1. Copyblogger. 2015. “Why Interactive Content May Be the Most Exciting Marketing Tactic of 2015.” Last modified March 4. https://copyblogger.com/interactive-content/
  2. Rose, Robert. “The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing.” Content Marketing Institute April (2017). Accessed May 23, 2020. https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/IonInteractive_Symphony_Final.pdf
  3. Parpis, Eleftheria. “Product Pitch.” Adweek. May 21, 2007. http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/product-pitch-89056/
  4. Duffy, Jill. “MI6 Keynote: ‘King’ of Burgers Reigns In-Game Ads.”Gamasutra. May 9, 2007. https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/104810/MI6_Keynote_King_of_Burgers_Reigns_InGame_Ads.php
  5. Inkipedia. 2017. “Fries vs. McNuggets” Last modfied May 30, 2020. https://splatoonwiki.org/wiki/Fries_vs._McNuggets
  6. Bump, Pamela. “The Video Game Industry Is Growing: Here Are 4 Ways Brands Are Reaching Gamers.”Hubspot. October 21, 2019. Last modified November 19.https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-game-marketing
  7. adforum. 2019. “Wendy’s – ‘Keeping fortnite fresh’” Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34596161/keeping-fortnite-fresh/wendys
  8. Entis, Laura. “Why KFC decided to get into the dating game.” PR Week. December 18, 2019. https://www.prweek.com/article/1669262/why-kfc-decided-dating-game
  9. Steam. 2019. “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simultator.” Last modified September 25. https://store.steampowered.com/app/1121910/I_Love_You_Colonel_Sanders_A_Finger_Lickin_Good_Dating_Simulator/
  10. FortniteGame. Twitter post. April 27, 2020. 1:00 p.m. https://twitter.com/FortniteGame/status/1254817584676929537
  11. Gough, Christina. “Number of registered users of Fortnite worldwide from August 2017 to May 2020.” Statista. May 11, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/746230/fortnite-players/
  12. GameSpot. “FULL Travis Scott X Fortnite Astronomical Concert Event.” YouTube video, 10:03. April 27, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-gpVqMd7wE
  13. adforum. 2016. “Nissin Cup Noodles – ‘The Originator’” Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.adforum.com/creative-work/ad/player/34544927/the-originator/nissin-cup-noodles
G11N, I18N, T9N and L10N For Video Games

G11N, I18N, T9N and L10N For Video Games

G11N, I18N, T9N and L10N for Video Games

 

Numbers

 

Wait, what? You didn’t think video game localization would be about numbers? Well, aside from budgeting, (which is actually one of the most fun aspects of the video game localization process for me), you might have come across a few confusing acronyms such as T9N, L10N, I18N, C13N, and G11N. In this article, we will explain each one of them.

 

T9N = Translation

The process of converting text from a source language into a target language.

 

L10N = Localization

The process of adapting a game or software to a specific locale’s language, culture, and legal requirements. It involves modifications to the user-visible components of software such as the user interface, images, documentation, etc.

 

I18N = Internationalization

The process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes.

 

C13N = Culturalization

Content adaptation for different markets to be carried out according to culture-specific elements, such as history, religion, ethnicity, and geopolitics.

 

G11N = Globalization

The broader process to adapt and sell a software product to an international audience. It encompasses the rest of the disciplines, including marketing.

 

Did you get the pattern? The numbers between the two letters represent the number of letters between the first and last letter of each word.

 

Interested in more Insights? Checkout Localization Begins During Pre-Production! and Video Game Localization: More than Creative Translation!

 

If you want to know more about the video game localization process, sign up for our next Game Localization Master Class.

 

Learn More:

 

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If you are interested in learning more about the Game Localization Master Class please click here.
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About the Author

Francesca Sorrentino has been in the video game localization industry since 2010, covering various roles: from marketing intern and translator for online games at Wooga and Bigpoint, to Senior Multilingual Localization Specialist at Electronic Arts managing large, multilingual titles such as FIFA, to Program Manager for the Games department at Alpha CRC.

Having experienced both the client and the service provider side of the industry, Francesca recently decided to become a freelance translator and consultant and is currently working as Conference Manager for Game Global, a conference dedicated to video game localization and QA, which is continuing to give her the chance deepen her knowledge about processes, challenges and best practices in the gaming industry.

Francesca holds a B.A. in Translation and an M.A. in Conference Interpreting, which she obtained in Italy, and has spent the last 10 years living and working first in Germany and now in beautiful Barcelona, Spain.

Connect with Francesca:

Connect with Francesca on LinkedIn

Email: Francesca[at]gameglobal.events

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Copyright © 2021 The Localization Institute. All rights reserved. This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published, and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this section are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, including by removing the copyright notice or references to The Localization Institute, without the permission of the copyright owners. This document and the information contained herein is provided on an “AS IS” basis and THE LOCALIZATION INSTITUTE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY OWNERSHIP RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Localization During Video Game Pre-production

Localization During Video Game Pre-production

Localization During Video Game Pre-Production

 

Game creation begins long before the production stage. During a video game development project, pre-production is the initial planning phase that focuses on creating core concepts and writing initial design documents that describe the future game. This pre-production stage influences the overall success of the development cycle and the team spirit, as everyone gets aligned and ready to achieve the best results.

Having been in the video game localization industry for over 10 years, I can tell that localization stakeholders are not always included in the pre-production stage, although their contribution is also very important for the overall success of the game.

So why should localization teams be involved in the pre-production stage?

We won’t deep dive into all the pre-production phases in this article (if you are curious about the steps you can read more in this fascinating article by Room 8 Studio), but there are two critical steps in the video game localization process that should happen during pre-production and all  beginner localizers should be aware of:

Culturalization (C13N)

If you want to take your game to an international audience, it’s important to assess the market in each territory and make sure you make the right creative and content choices. Sometimes your content will need to be adapted to a certain market in order to get more engagement from your players. Several culture-specific elements must be to be taken into account, such as history, religion, ethnicity, and geopolitics.

Internationalization (I18N)

Internationalization is basically everything that engineers (i.e. software, test, and content engineers) can do to enable localization to be done faster, cheaper, and with higher quality. It’s important for video game developers to know which steps they have to take in order for the game code to be able to accommodate more languages, and in many cases it is the localization team who will walk them through the process.

Do you want to learn about why involving the game localization team in the pre-production stage is a good idea? Sign up for the game localization master class, starting on June 14.

 

Interested in more insights? Checkout G11N, I18N, T9N and L10N for Video Games and Video Game Localization: More than Creative Translation!

 

 

 

If you want to know more about the video game localization process, sign up for our next Game Localization Master Class.

 

Learn More:

 

Game-Loc-MC

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Game Localization Master Class please click here.
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About the Author

Francesca Sorrentino has been in the video game localization industry since 2010, covering various roles: from marketing intern and translator for online games at Wooga and Bigpoint, to Senior Multilingual Localization Specialist at Electronic Arts managing large, multilingual titles such as FIFA, to Program Manager for the Games department at Alpha CRC.

Having experienced both the client and the service provider side of the industry, Francesca recently decided to become a freelance translator and consultant and is currently working as Conference Manager for Game Global, a conference dedicated to video game localization and QA, which is continuing to give her the chance deepen her knowledge about processes, challenges and best practices in the gaming industry.

Francesca holds a B.A. in Translation and an M.A. in Conference Interpreting, which she obtained in Italy, and has spent the last 10 years living and working first in Germany and now in beautiful Barcelona, Spain.

Connect with Francesca:

Connect with Francesca on LinkedIn

Email: Francesca[at]gameglobal.events

Contact Us - Video Game Localization

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Copyright © 2021 The Localization Institute. All rights reserved. This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published, and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this section are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, including by removing the copyright notice or references to The Localization Institute, without the permission of the copyright owners. This document and the information contained herein is provided on an “AS IS” basis and THE LOCALIZATION INSTITUTE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY OWNERSHIP RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Video Game Localization: More than Creative Translation

Video Game Localization: More than Creative Translation

Video Game Localization: More than Creative Translation

 

Video Games

 

 

The video game industry saw its biggest year to date in 2020, with an estimated market value of 159.3Bn and an expected 7.7% annual growth rate by 2023 according to Newzoo’s figures. Suffice to say, localization is becoming increasingly relevant, not only for game developers and publishers but for gaming and language enthusiasts around the world.

In the last few years we have watched as new university courses, online webinars, and industry events, such as Game Global, have heightened their focus on video game localization. As a consequence, video game localization is getting more standardized and even those who are not familiar with game development and localization are starting to see that there is a lot more to localizing games than a bunch of geeks translating their favorite game into their native language.

While it’s true that video game localization entails a lot of translation of the creative text, a true expert knows that there are several other critical elements. Below our Game Localization Master Class teacher, Francesca Sorrentino has drawn up the top five things to keep in mind as a localization expert when approaching video game localization.

Video game localization is a process and each phase is important

Usually, those who approach video game localization come from a linguistic background and are primarily focused on translation, suffering together with the linguists who translate their favorite games and are at the forefront of a never-ending battle for quality. The truth is, translation is only part of the localization process. Depending on your position within your localization team or the broader game development team, it might not be your first priority.

Pre-production is key

In order for the localization process to be successful, it needs to be thoroughly planned and diligently budgeted. Have you ever heard of internationalization (I18n) and culturalization? They are the bread and butter of any localization manager who works closely with the game team. Preparing the game code for localization and analyzing the markets you want to localize for are only a few of the steps involved in the pre-production phase.

To QA or… to QA? There is no question!

Quality Assurance (QA) is one of the most important phases of the localization process and should never be skipped. During QA, testers get the chance not only to play the game (one of the biggest perks of being in this industry!) but to see the localized text and audio in context and help deliver the best quality of the product.

Know thy (desk) neighbor

As in any other process or business relationship, communication should never be neglected. No matter where you are in the video game localization chain, it is important to be aware of what is happening around you: knowing what your colleagues in the product team or marketing department do will give you more context to better understand the game and the purpose of your job, saving you from a lot of unnecessary (and frustrating) emails with needed last-minute changes.

Technology is here to help

No, machine translation (MT) won’t be the end of the translator species! It must be embraced as part of a suite of productivity tools to make our lives easier and improve quality across the board. Localization technology is constantly evolving, with more gaming companies adopting the latest content management systems (CMS), translation management systems (TMS), and project management tools.

 

Interested in more Insights? Checkout Localization Begins During Pre-Production! and G11N, I18N, T9N and L10N for Video Games!

 

If you want to know more about the video game localization process, sign up for our next Game Localization Master Class.

 

Learn More:

 

Game-Loc-MC

 

If you are interested in learning more about the Game Localization Master Class please click here.
0

About the Author

Francesca Sorrentino has been in the video game localization industry since 2010, covering various roles: from marketing intern and translator for online games at Wooga and Bigpoint, to Senior Multilingual Localization Specialist at Electronic Arts managing large, multilingual titles such as FIFA, to Program Manager for the Games department at Alpha CRC.

Having experienced both the client and the service provider side of the industry, Francesca recently decided to become a freelance translator and consultant and is currently working as Conference Manager for Game Global, a conference dedicated to video game localization and QA, which is continuing to give her the chance deepen her knowledge about processes, challenges and best practices in the gaming industry.

Francesca holds a B.A. in Translation and an M.A. in Conference Interpreting, which she obtained in Italy, and has spent the last 10 years living and working first in Germany and now in beautiful Barcelona, Spain.

Connect with Francesca:

Connect with Francesca on LinkedIn

Email: Francesca[at]gameglobal.events

Contact Us - Video Game Localization

    Please select if you would like to register for our mailing list to receive more articles like this.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Disclaimer
Copyright © 2021 The Localization Institute. All rights reserved. This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published, and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this section are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, including by removing the copyright notice or references to The Localization Institute, without the permission of the copyright owners. This document and the information contained herein is provided on an “AS IS” basis and THE LOCALIZATION INSTITUTE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY OWNERSHIP RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

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